In the first two posts about Hal-Con detailed my decision making process to attend as a vendor (Part 1) and the awesome guests (Part 2). Part 3 focuses on the hidden benefits. Hidden because I cannot assign a dollar value to each one, but they are profits to be considered: networking, brand building, brand improvements, inspiration, and building memories.
At Hal-Con, I was approached by small business owners for possible future consignment and wholesale opportunities. One was a B&B looking for tourist wares (mermaids, seagulls, and lobsters). Another opportunity came from a fellow creative vendor thinking of opening a new store in Spring 2013. While I do not normally do consignment sales any more, I’ve known her for many years and would happily make an exception.
There is also the networking between vendors and the sharing of successes and failures. It is great to spend time with fellow understanding artisans.
Any time I attend a craft show (or crocheting en route) I am representing my brand. During the con I was genuinely touched that many Hal-Con attendees remembered my works from the first convention 2 years ago! I made sure to have plenty of business cards and to promote my next selling opportunity in Halifax at Halifax Crafters Winter Market (December 1 & 2, Olympic Centre, Halifax, free admission).
An area of brand building often neglected: the impression the vendor gives. I am naturally an introvert, however the energy and atmosphere of a large congregation of geeks naturally brings out my extroverted self. Theoretically, even if I had not sold single item all weekend, I would have been so happy just to be part of such an event.
Due to some designs selling out early (e.g., Weeping Angels), I was kept busy frantically making extra items. Because of this I was not able to engage with visitors to my table as much as I would have liked. Thankfully my husband was with me to pick up the slack!
Since my move to Ottawa, I’ve been mostly selling online and wholesale. I have not had many opportunities sell directly to customers and to receive direct feedback. Hearing a gleeful squeal and seeing someone double back to checkout my toys is the best feedback! Also, I was sure to keep an eye on which items attracted the most attention as well as figure out the pros and cons of my display (I try to keep it as simple as possible). I loved answering questions and being able to figure out the best (clearest) wording to answer each one.
Many of the attendees at Hal-Con came in costume(cosplay) – some even had different costumes for each day. Their passion and pride in their outfits were a definite inspiration for me. That’s how I feel about my work and I can appreciate the hours spent choosing characters, agonizing over details, and willingness to share it in front of a crowd. I’ll be sharing photos of some of the costumes in my final post (Part 4).
For me happiness is in building a life full of experiences and memories. At Hal-Con I reconnected with my Halifax friends, made new friends, and had a wonderful vacation with my husband. I travelled by train, plane, and bus and stayed in 3 hotels. I attended concerts and was surrounded by beautiful costumes. The convention was a fantastic learning experience. Building memories may be the last perk I write about, but it is the best perk and encompasses all others.