Friday, October 12, 2012

con essentials

we try to attend cons pretty regularly.  it's imperative to get out there & sell sell sell, especially if you're an independant creator.  sometimes we get asked about how to set up our booth/table or what items are must haves to make the set up look nice.

keep in mind, we do this all ourselves.  that includes the transporting, selling, set up, & break down.  so everything we take has to be compact & easy to carry.

essential supply list:
cash! (in 1s, 5s, & 10s)**
cash bag (you know, to keep the cash in...)**
invisible tape**
clear packaging tape**
duct tape**
scissors/exacto knife/box cutter**
post it notes or index cards**
sharpies**
stapler w/ extra staples**
safety pins**
extra large binder clips**
extension cord**
table cloth
background backdrop
stand up banner(s)
stand up files (to display books)
t stand (to display a tshirt)

the supplies indicated by the ** are what i call life savers.  i can't tell you how many times something w/ the displays come apart or or we forget to print out signage or the laptop's battery is dying & we need an outlet STAT!  these life savers fit nicely in the handy dandy file box or a large toolbox & can hide away underneath your table.  w/ any of these supplies, you can decide on whether to take w/ you or leave at home. 

how are you getting all this stuff to & from this con/show?
if you're driving to a con, pack whatever you can in the car.  books, prints, displays, etc. etc.  & don't forget to bringing the file box/toolkit o' supplies along can help spruce up your booth/table. 

if you're flying to a con, fedex can be your best friend.  because airline additional carry-on fees are not.  & i don't think they like you bringing scissors & exacto knives on planes anyway.  or if shipping to & from somewhere isn't in your budget, get creative in packing for the plane.  packing as few & interchangeable clothing items as possible so you can cram as many books (below the weight limit, of course) into your 1 allowable carry-on.  & don't forget your drawing supplies to make extra $ w/ on con sketches.  so in this case, think efficiency & travel as light as possible.

what are you selling?
books?  prints?  tshirts?  cups w/ a mule on them?  whatever you're selling, it's important to have some kind of order & neatness.  stack & group like items together.  books don't have to lay down; stand them up w/ file folder holders, available at any office store.  having a large portoflio to flip thru can efficiently display large prints & original art pages.  fold tshirts & have 1 hanging up on a tstand.  it's good to pay attention to how other booths are handling their displays too.  & it would be a good idea to take notes when you go to a department store or local book store (they still have those, rt?) when they have displays up.

what kind of space are you occupying? 
if you're lucky enough to snag a corner booth, then having a large, eye catching backdrop is always good.  make use of your table space.  have your merchanidse stand up facing potential customers as well as spread out across the table.

if you're in artist alley, they give you a small table w/ enough room to set up a sign that says "i draw for moneyz" & your art supplies & pad.  this is ok, because you're usually not suppose to sell merchandise in artist alley, so no need to worry about where your books/prints will go.  it's just you, man.  go make magic happen...w/ your pencil...

anywho, these are some pix from various cons we've attended. 

see how professional this looks?  make you wanna buy 1--no, 2 of everything, doesn't it?
 
a nice display for books.  i think this came from an actual shop supply store.
 
another way to set up your books.  stand up file holders!  available at any office depot.
 
nevermind the 2 slackers (& Muley) in the front.  look at the backdrops:  a big splash banner & a portable standup banner
 
dispalying prints can be tricky, but if you have a LOT, they can attract customers to your table.  ooo, purrty colors!

tshirts folded, cups stacked (w/ a baby Muley.  dawww!)

big eye catching backdrop, books standing up & in stacks, prints laid out nicely, & geeks w/ their best smiles on.
 
 hope this helps.  now get out there & sell your stuff!!!
 
~~j saltygirl wade




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