Event Reviews

Dragon*Con 2011 Part 1: Being a Dealer

My, how time flies! A month ago, I was just getting back from my favorite event of the year, Dragon*Con. Well, it’s taken me a month to go through most of my photos.

I started going to Dragon*Con ten years ago. I found out about it by being an artist online. I was invited to participate in the art show, and it was the first art show I ever did. I only sold a couple of items, but I was hooked on being a convention vendor. Though I do craft shows as well, being a dealer at conventions is what I love. For one, when the room closes for the day, I still get to go and have fun!

For a couple of years, I hung my work in the art show. Then, I started having a table in the artist bazaar. A couple of years of that, and I went for a table in the dealer’s room. Sure, the cost is considerably higher, but so are the sales. I learned something interesting about conventions: people go to the art shows to look at art, they go to the dealer’s room to buy.

My booth at Dragon Con

Running a booth in the dealer’s room has its own set of challenges. At most conventions, you have only a six foot table to work with. Dragon*Con gives you a lot of space behind the table, so this year I was able to change my configuration into a mini booth. It worked out very well, allowing people to get out of the flow of traffic and look at things in peace. But it always helps to have something near the edge, too, as people like to touch things. For this display, I put my spinning earring rack on the end of the table.

The grid wall is made of closet shelving. It’s actually eight pieces, zip tied together. My white displays on the table are made from plastic shutters. Almost everything comes apart or folds up, meaning I fit this whole display, all of my inventory, and large costumes and props, into Mark’s Honda Fit. And yes, we can still see.

Another important thing for conventions is taking credit cards. In the art show, they handle the sales, but in the dealer’s room it’s all on you. ATMs run out of money fast when you’re dealing with 50,000 fans or whatever the number of attendees is these days. Unfortunatly, the dealer’s room at DragonCon is a wireless and cell signal black hole. In this age of technology, a lot of the vendors were not prepared for that this year. So while at other events I love my Square, at DragonCon I need to rely on the old fashioned knuckle buster.

This year I had several helpers – Mark (my husband and awesome set-up, take down helper), Jen (my sales guru), and Keith (fun moral support). This was Jen and Keith’s first year at DragonCon, and Jen once again proved herself to be an amazing helper. When I left her to her own devices on Sunday so I could join in a photo shoot, she turned a weekend I was starting to be a little worried about completely around with my best sales day ever.

The products all went over well, including ones I had added in response to requests from last year. I sold most of my lanyards, and a lot of dice earrings – both large and small. I did not come away with my usual “if only I had had…” thoughts, but next year I think I’ll expand on the game piece theme into more game related upcycled items.

All in all, while not my best DragonCon ever, it was definitely a good one. Can’t wait until next year!

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2 thoughts on “Dragon*Con 2011 Part 1: Being a Dealer

  1. Hey. I’m a convention goer and vendor myself. DragonCon is my favorite convention and this year I’m thinking about taking the step from congoer to vendor at D*Con. I can’t seem to find the exhibitor information on their website for some reason. Maybe it’s because it’s too soon, but I wanted to start thinking about what I needed money wise. Do you remember what the booth pricing was like (ballpark)?

    I’m glad I stumbled on your post. It was very helpful. 🙂

  2. The price was around $550 a booth in the dealers room, and a lot more than that for the exibitors halls (full booth sized spaces as opposed to table sized spaces).

    A word of advice for making that jump to dealer at Dragon*Con – dealers room spaces fill up fast! Most of the current vendors buy their spaces for the year at the end of the previous year’s convention. I don’t remember exactly when they open up the remaining spaces, so I would suggest emailing the Dragon*Con office and asking to be put on the announcement mailing list if they have one.

    Good luck, and stop by and say hi at next year’s Dragon*Con!

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