Saturday, June 1, 2013

ConDUIT Recap! (Finally!)

As you probably know already, we opened our Etsy shop in April. In an effort to spread the word about all the cool stuff we make, we decided to go to ConDUIT and have a table in their dealer's room to sell our perler sprites and also give away tons and tons of business cards. ConDUIT is an annual convention for science fiction and fantasy held in SLC every year in May. It's primarily geared towards aspiring writers and fans of sci-fi/fantasy authors, but there's a decent mix of other fans that attend as well (think Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Dr. Who, etc.). It's a fairly small con (300-500 attendees typically) but we really just wanted to get our feet wet in the world of selling stuff at cons. And did it accomplish that? Most definitely!

First of all, I was glad we allowed ourselves a month and a half to prepare for the con. It takes time to beef up your inventory and gather all the supplies you need. For us, it took several trips to Lowes, Target, Joann's, and Staples, not to mention lots of use of Amazon. I tend to over-prepare, but having extra stuff is better than not having something you desperately need and having it cost you the sale. Even with a month and a half to get ready though, I was still a little stressed out last week as we reached the final few days before the con began.

Once we arrived at ConDUIT Friday morning, we made about 4 trips to bring all of our stuff in to set up our table. After a few minor mishaps involving two damaged sprites, we got everything in and our table set up, at which point I set about repairing the damaged sprites (and I thought I was over-preparing to bring the iron! Ha!). The dealer's room was open from 12-6 on Friday, and we were all set up and ready to go by about 11.

Front view of our booth at ConDUIT. 

Left side of the table

And right side o the table.

Everyone around us said the first day is always the slowest for sales, but we actually did pretty well despite that. We got a lot of traffic at our table from kids and adults alike. You could definitely tell who played video games - those who didn't gave us a brief glance and maybe a comment of "those are clever/cute/etc." and moved on, while those who did play games at some point stopped and had to look at everything before moving on. We ended up selling about 15 items or so the first day, including one commissioned piece that we promised to complete that evening.

By the time the dealer's room closed at 6, Nathan had been awake for 22 hours (isn't working graveyard shift fabulous when you want to have a life?). We made it home in one piece and got the commissioned sprite finished before Nathan crashed.

You saw Niccoli ironed in my last post, but this was the commissioned piece. I was really pleased with how it turned out.
Day two started bright and early with the dealer's room opening at 9. Except some people didn't get the memo, and thought it opened at 10, so we had a couple unmanned booths and few customers the first hour. But no worries, because between 10-6 we got plenty of business, more than enough to pay for the cost of the booth and all our supplies we purchased in preparation for the con. There were definitely some slow patches, but overall I felt that it went quite well. It was fun to see people come back two or three times before they settled on which sprite they wanted to purchase, and I enjoyed watching people geek out over seeing a part of their childhood represented.

By 6pm though, we were glad to be done. With the help of a few writing group friends, we packed everything up and headed out. We opted not to sell any on Sunday, even though we still had a table reserved for that day, and I was glad of it Saturday night. Two days was plenty for me; a third would have been exhausting. (Funny how just sitting behind a table can be so tiring.) We hit up a few used game stores on the way home and called it a night. Overall, we ended up selling about 40-50 sprites to about 30 customers. Of course, we have tons of inventory left over, because it is impossible to predict what people will actually want, so now I get to do the fun task of listing tons more stuff in our Etsy shop!

By the time everything was all over, our house was a complete disaster from being neglected all week. Luckily Monday was Memorial Day so I could spend some time putting away 4 loads of clean laundry, putting away all the leftover convention stuff, etc. And now I finally feel like I've caught back up with my life. Dishes done, trash taken out, fridge cleaned out of moldy leftovers, and of course the best part of all: staying caught up on orders in our Etsy shop! We got three this week, one very large one, one small one, and one medium sized one. I don't know if it's coincidence or fallout from handing out business cards, but I'll take it! It's so fun to get custom order requests for massive projects I never would have come up with on my own. I will leave you with a picture of the very large order we just completed Thursday night.

All 10 robot masters from Mega Man 10, As well as Dr. Wily, Mega Man, Proto Man, Bass, and three other dudes with names I don't recall at the moment. 

Pretty cool, huh? I have a feeling the final wall art will be epic!

I'll try to post a separate blog entry about what supplies we needed for the con and the best way to prepare, because I feel there is a serious lack of tutorials on the interwebs that are applicable to selling perlers at a con. I chose not to include all that here so as to avoid boring my family to tears when all they really wanted was to know how the con went. :)

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