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Who's Already Plotting Their Wares For 2011? What are you selling?

#1 User is offline   Rinji_HalfElf 

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 01:08 AM

I'm going to artist alley for 2011, and it will be my first time.
I actually knew I wouldn't be able to make it for 2010, so I started my planning early.

Who's already plotting what they will be selling this coming year? (I hope I'm not alone.)
What are you planning to sell?
What is your experience?

I will do the usual prints. I'm also working on some comic sequence pages to print out with some short stories for some booklets. Of course, that's some of the normal stuff. I also plan to do various Japanese hair pins at affordable prices and Edo style hand bags which I have hear has had a new resurgence in Japan due to their flexibility and usability.

I have some of the flowers and handbags on my deviant art page.

I do have my concerns though. I'd like to do more elaborate hairpins but I don't want them to be unaffordable since the economy took a dive. Has anyone had any trouble selling their stuff because of this?

Also, has anyone had any need for making receipts, I stayed up the majority of the previous night making nice letterhead on long and short receipt templates.

This post has been edited by Rinji_HalfElf: 25 May 2010 - 01:32 AM


#2 User is offline   obakasan 

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:39 AM

View PostRinji_HalfElf, on May 25 2010, 02:08 AM, said:

I'm going to artist alley for 2011, and it will be my first time.
I actually knew I wouldn't be able to make it for 2010, so I started my planning early.

Who's already plotting what they will be selling this coming year? (I hope I'm not alone.)
What are you planning to sell?
What is your experience?

I will do the usual prints. I'm also working on some comic sequence pages to print out with some short stories for some booklets. Of course, that's some of the normal stuff. I also plan to do various Japanese hair pins at affordable prices and Edo style hand bags which I have hear has had a new resurgence in Japan due to their flexibility and usability.

I have some of the flowers and handbags on my deviant art page.

I do have my concerns though. I'd like to do more elaborate hairpins but I don't want them to be unaffordable since the economy took a dive. Has anyone had any trouble selling their stuff because of this?

Also, has anyone had any need for making receipts, I stayed up the majority of the previous night making nice letterhead on long and short receipt templates.


A sales receipt would be a darned good idea. Make sure it has your name/contact info on it so people can find you again. It also provides a record for the buyer, and if you have duplicating receipts, a record for you as well. It can also help staff catch shoplifters... If I recall vendors are required to issue receipts, but I;m not certain about AA. Need to refer that to someone more knowledgeable on the subject than I am.

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#3 User is offline   Meredy_Himura 

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:46 AM

Aww, those are so cute Rinji! Alas, I was planning on being in AA next year but I am thinking of joining staff instead. Need to work on my wares more. I will definitely come by and take a look at your barrettes. They are pretty. And I will hopefully have long hair by then!
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#4 User is offline   Noshi 

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 01:09 PM

On the subject of receipts, I didn't think anyone had to issue them. I have bought many many things in the exhibit hall and the alley and not gotten receipts. But it's a good idea to have something you can give to people who buy something, whether it's a receipt, a card, a freebie, just anything with your contact info on it. Even better if you can write your booth number or something on it so they (and their friends) can find you at the con again later!

As for the OP, best of luck with your prints and comics! As for the hairpins, handbags, etc, I think these items are always popular. Many of us are looking to feed our anime addictions, but people can also always use clothing and practical items like that. Just pick a price that's fair based on the work that goes into the item, and that you'd be willing to pay for it if you saw it while walking through the mall. =)
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#5 User is offline   Rinji_HalfElf 

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:20 PM

View PostNoshi, on May 25 2010, 02:09 PM, said:

On the subject of receipts, I didn't think anyone had to issue them. I have bought many many things in the exhibit hall and the alley and not gotten receipts. But it's a good idea to have something you can give to people who buy something, whether it's a receipt, a card, a freebie, just anything with your contact info on it. Even better if you can write your booth number or something on it so they (and their friends) can find you at the con again later!

As for the OP, best of luck with your prints and comics! As for the hairpins, handbags, etc, I think these items are always popular. Many of us are looking to feed our anime addictions, but people can also always use clothing and practical items like that. Just pick a price that's fair based on the work that goes into the item, and that you'd be willing to pay for it if you saw it while walking through the mall. =)


Finding a good price will be hard for me. I'm like the stingiest person on the planet! lol

Unfortunately the receipts I made are on the computer, so I probably won't have a carbon copy.
For accounting records and sales records for prints I thought about using a sticker on the front of the polybag with a number, and do the same for the chipboard just behind the drawing. That way I can double check before selling it (no sticker switching. I take the front sticker and put it in my ledger. And refer to the color of the sticker or a numbered chart for the price for myself.
Of course that will be a little tricky for the flowers, just like finding affordable boxes for the kanzashi. I thought about making little origami boxes out of stiff black paper and tissue paper though.

Good idea about the booth number! I'm gonna go change my templates now.

This post has been edited by Rinji_HalfElf: 25 May 2010 - 02:33 PM


#6 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:22 PM

As a veteran of many AA - YOU BETTER BE THINKING ABOUT NEXT YEAR! It will sneak up on you and glomp you from behind otherwise. ;)

Rinji - how about making a bottom portion that's tear off? It will have a duplicate id # for reference etc. That way you both have copies of the transaction.
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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:38 PM

I love your hairpins! I would buy like every version of them. I love flowers and I love putting them in my hair. <3
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Ladies ladies ladies, if you find a man whose only concern about a woman is her breast size, he just may be dumb enough to believe you if you say you have Ds when you have Bs. :thumbup:

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:58 PM

Your hairpins are so beautiful and I love the handbags! In AA there lacks textile accessories such as handbags so you definitely would have a unique booth! With receipts if you didnt have a register that could make copies I would at least have a business card with a blank back and you could hand write what they purchased so they have your name and number and they would know what they purchased from you (that wouldnt set you far back with register/paper expenses). I've bought quite a few things in AA and I dont remember any receipts so something like this would be positive for both you and the consumer =3 Good luck and I cant wait to see what you have in store for us in 2011! ^.^
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#9 User is offline   toasty 

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 12:11 PM

Oh wow, your hairpins are really beautiful!

I'm going to be (hopefully) selling next year too. I'm still trying to scramble for ideas of things I can sell (I could probably manage doing little statues if I had a place to burn them), but I know for sure I'll be doing the standard prints, bookmarks, and commissions. The last time I had a table was in 2006 though, and I'm sure prices have changed since then. Before it was an average of $10 per print and $5 per bookmark. What is it now, would you say?

This post has been edited by toasty: 26 May 2010 - 12:12 PM

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#10 User is offline   Rinji_HalfElf 

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 01:49 PM

View Posttoasty, on May 26 2010, 01:11 PM, said:

Oh wow, your hairpins are really beautiful!

I'm going to be (hopefully) selling next year too. I'm still trying to scramble for ideas of things I can sell (I could probably manage doing little statues if I had a place to burn them), but I know for sure I'll be doing the standard prints, bookmarks, and commissions. The last time I had a table was in 2006 though, and I'm sure prices have changed since then. Before it was an average of $10 per print and $5 per bookmark. What is it now, would you say?


Could you give an example of what would have been considered a $10 print or a $5 book mark?
I'm not much into color, but I do a lot of ink work, and example would be very helpful.

#11 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 04:38 PM

That's still a good general average for say an 8x10 print and a 1x4 bookmark (laminated) respectively.

Rinji, if you get the chance, wander an AA at any con between now and next ACen. Most are similar in setup and pricing, and should help you out.
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#12 User is offline   Noshi 

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 11:14 PM

View Postfrzndaqiri, on May 26 2010, 05:38 PM, said:

Rinji, if you get the chance, wander an AA at any con between now and next ACen. Most are similar in setup and pricing, and should help you out.


On this note, Kollision con will be in the area in November. It's a new con this year though, so there's no way to know who'll be in their artist alley or how it will go. Still, you could go there to check things out. I probably will!
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#13 User is offline   Rinji_HalfElf 

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 11:34 PM

View PostNoshi, on May 27 2010, 12:14 AM, said:

On this note, Kollision con will be in the area in November. It's a new con this year though, so there's no way to know who'll be in their artist alley or how it will go. Still, you could go there to check things out. I probably will!


This seems interesting. I dunno if I can bulk up enough money for two cons though.
It says east meets west. So are we talking more hybrid anime now?

Is there an advantage to Artist Alley at brand new conventions?

This post has been edited by Rinji_HalfElf: 26 May 2010 - 11:41 PM


#14 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 07:58 AM

Well, I had meant to just ATTEND. Going through an AA as an attendee with the eyes of someone who will be selling is a different experience. ;)

I think East (Japan) meets West (IL) is all they meant.

But if you did sell: There is typically lower attendees which means less pressure and more time to chat up people in the alley. Talk to both the congoers and other artist's and get feedback. SOMETIMES the table fee is less too, as they're working in a smaller space, and not paying premium costs to secure it. A smaller con will probably (generalized comment) not make you your money back (though there's no guarantee that any size con WILL).

It's always cool to get in early as you often get to know the staff running it, and that helps if you turn it into a repeat thing every year. I get personal notifications from some DH's that they're going to open sign ups because I've never let them down - always registered and paid early and have been going since they started. It's no good to have an AA without the artists, and some of them appreciate that and go the extra mile for their good people.
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#15 User is offline   Tokoz 

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 01:24 PM

View PostRinji_HalfElf, on May 25 2010, 02:08 AM, said:

I do have my concerns though. I'd like to do more elaborate hairpins but I don't want them to be unaffordable since the economy took a dive. Has anyone had any trouble selling their stuff because of this?


If you price your things reasonably, people will buy them. My friend sold not one, but two, $135 sculptures this year (which we thought would never happen), while at the same time she barely sold half of her priced-to-go $10 mini sculptures. :/

Also, you will need some way to record your sales so you can reconcile your cash at the end of the day and track your profit for tax purposes.

#16 User is offline   Rinji_HalfElf 

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 02:13 PM

View Postfrzndaqiri, on May 27 2010, 08:58 AM, said:

Well, I had meant to just ATTEND. Going through an AA as an attendee with the eyes of someone who will be selling is a different experience. ;)

I think East (Japan) meets West (IL) is all they meant.

But if you did sell: There is typically lower attendees which means less pressure and more time to chat up people in the alley. Talk to both the congoers and other artist's and get feedback. SOMETIMES the table fee is less too, as they're working in a smaller space, and not paying premium costs to secure it. A smaller con will probably (generalized comment) not make you your money back (though there's no guarantee that any size con WILL).

It's always cool to get in early as you often get to know the staff running it, and that helps if you turn it into a repeat thing every year. I get personal notifications from some DH's that they're going to open sign ups because I've never let them down - always registered and paid early and have been going since they started. It's no good to have an AA without the artists, and some of them appreciate that and go the extra mile for their good people.


Well my car isn't very good, so I'll have to do a rental to even attend. But I was still curious about the pros and cons though anyway, ya know?

#17 User is offline   Noshi 

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 02:54 PM

Yeah, I wouldn't necessarily go to a new con to try to make money. But it could be worth it to go and meet people, check things out, and see the sights. But you never know, new cons in the Chicago area have a mixed track record. ;)

We'll probably go, maybe getting a table, or just checking it out. It might be nice to just attend a con for once instead of working a table! =)
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#18 User is offline   Muic 

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 06:32 PM

*raises hand*
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#19 User is offline   Rinji_HalfElf 

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 12:27 PM

Oh. I had another question.

Has anyone ever ran out of change?
I ask this, because none of my banks are up there. If I needed to get a bunch of 20's switched over to 5's and 1's I'm not sure what I would do.

#20 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 02:32 PM

Not since the first year I ran out. Never made the mistake again. However, most of the Alley are really nice about making change for each other. I sell $1 buttons, so you can bet I've got singles out the booty just when I show up. ;)

Most any bank should be decent about selling you a pack of singles too, don't have to belong. Otherwise a 7-11 or grocery you might be able to get change from if making a purchase.
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#21 User is offline   Rinji_HalfElf 

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 03:24 PM

View Postfrzndaqiri, on 01 June 2010 - 02:32 PM, said:

Not since the first year I ran out. Never made the mistake again. However, most of the Alley are really nice about making change for each other. I sell $1 buttons, so you can bet I've got singles out the booty just when I show up. ;)

Most any bank should be decent about selling you a pack of singles too, don't have to belong. Otherwise a 7-11 or grocery you might be able to get change from if making a purchase.


That clears some things up!
Most banks down here won't let you make change unless you belong. I'm assuming that's only the case if you're doing small change?
Has anyone had any problems with counterfeit bills? I know at work, we've had some come through directly from the bank. Of course this is probably more of a dealers problem, but I'd thought I'd ask.

This post has been edited by Rinji_HalfElf: 01 June 2010 - 03:25 PM


#22 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 04:02 PM

Ah, well that's rude of them! Try maybe a credit union instead of a bigger bank? Otherwise, I've never been asked for proof I belong anywhere I've gone. Just go in and say you want to buy a pack of singles. Now, just breaking a $5 they might be wary....

Never gotten one BUT I do have a bill checker pen. They're cheap and available at any office store.
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#23 User is offline   wolfedragon 

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 04:59 PM

View Postfrzndaqiri, on 01 June 2010 - 04:02 PM, said:

Ah, well that's rude of them! Try maybe a credit union instead of a bigger bank? Otherwise, I've never been asked for proof I belong anywhere I've gone. Just go in and say you want to buy a pack of singles. Now, just breaking a $5 they might be wary....

Never gotten one BUT I do have a bill checker pen. They're cheap and available at any office store.


A bill checker pen is not always reliable. Counterfeiters have gotten very good at mimicking the paper so a bill checker pen is not always accurate. A good practice is to also check the watermark and security strip of the bill by holding the bill up to a light (making sure that the face on the bill matches the watermark and that the security strip says the correct name of the bill).
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#24 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 06:19 PM

Too true. I only swipe the larger bills, and tend to scrutinize them all. It's second nature enough I don't think about it but yes: watermark, the "thread" with the denomination on it, and the blue and red fibers are the current quick to spot security measures.
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#25 User is offline   Noshi 

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 10:14 PM

Also, I would recommend not accepting $100 bills (and $50's too probably). Your odds of getting counterfeits are much less when dealing with fives and tens. If you are uncomfortable telling people you won't accept big bills due to the risk of counterfeits, you can tell them you don't keep enough smaller bills to make change for 50's or 100's.
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#26 User is offline   Tokoz 

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:36 AM

View Postwolfedragon, on 01 June 2010 - 04:59 PM, said:

A bill checker pen is not always reliable. Counterfeiters have gotten very good at mimicking the paper so a bill checker pen is not always accurate. A good practice is to also check the watermark and security strip of the bill by holding the bill up to a light (making sure that the face on the bill matches the watermark and that the security strip says the correct name of the bill).



By "bill checker pen" do you mean those ink-based pens that change colors on genuine bills? My friend got a "bill checker pen" that was a pen-sized blacklight. It illuminated the security strip without having to hold the bill up to the overhead lights, and so was very discreet.

#27 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:56 AM

Actually, there's been a noted increase in smaller bills being counterfeited - so don't let the smaller bills relax you.

Here's the Secret Service site on detection: http://www.secretser...ey_detect.shtml

And yes, Tokoz, I mean just the ink one that has a chemical reaction. It's still used in most businesses - the ones with the light are cool, but for my money, if the customer has an issue with me scrutinizing their bill, then maybe that's cause for more suspicion....
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#28 User is offline   Rinji_HalfElf 

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 12:57 PM

Has anyone found the need for a change apron?

Maybe in case two people are working a table or during busy times?
I'm trying to travel light as well.

I know the tables are 8ft by 2ft. What about height? I'd like to get my table cloth long enough, but not too long....

This post has been edited by Rinji_HalfElf: 02 June 2010 - 07:52 PM


#29 User is offline   Noshi 

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:11 PM

I believe the tables are standard height, the same as say a card table. I can't recall if that is 30 inches or 36 inches, but in that ballpark.

As for a change apron, they can be handy, and they roll up and are very light. I guess the downside might be that you may not want to wear all your money in an apron in case it might spill out or someone might see it and get ideas. We use a metal latching cash box, which is nice in that the cash is out of sight and we always know where the box is, but the downside is the box is a little heavy and clunky.

I'd say find any cash management solution that works for you, as long as it keeps the money out of sight and away from grabby hands! :pirate2:
Noshi, chief webmonkey of Katsuyama Studios
We had a great time in ACen Artist's Alley 2010!

#30 User is offline   Miyuka 

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 06:12 AM

To check money, what I do is use my thumbnail as I take the bill from the buyer and scratch the clothing of the president's portrait in the center of the bill. So far it hasn't failed me. If it's counterfeit, made from a preexisting $5 or $1 that will pass the pen test, the texture will be so faded you will feel a flat surface and instantly know its fake. Caught quite a bit of bills that way at my work. Not to mention it's an undercover way of catching so you wont alarm the person who's trying to pass it off.

But of course I don't go by that alone, it's just a quick test that so far has worked for me 100%. Haven't been wrong about one yet that I've caught that way.

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