These are the first 10 tips for people new to artist alleying. Artist alleys are locations in conventions specifically for artists.
1. You almost always have to buy your table a few months in advance. Don't start researching conventions when the convention season starts! Be ready in advance to pay for the table. Read all the information given- size of table, setup times, check-in times, what you're allowed to sell, and any other relevant information.
2. Prepare a good amount of merchandise. You'll want a lot of cheaper items, some medium priced items, and very few high priced items. It does depend on the convention, but most of the time people are more interested in multiple cheaper items than one high priced item. Have a good variety of items as well. Don't only bring one type of item, maximize to what you're comfortable with!
3. Branding. Business cards. Signs. And more. Either handmake or order your business cards and signs. Try to keep one name or "username", don't confuse people by having your name and two other usernames. Keep signs simple. Too much information and no one will bother to read or understand it. If you can, get a website. You don't need your own domain, many artists have free weebly, webs, or wix websites.
4. TABLE BUDDY! One of the biggest lifesavers at conventions. If you need to use the bathroom, want to walk around, or if theirs a lot of traffic, your table buddy should be ready to help. Pick someone you trust and don't mind spending hours with.
5. Socialize and have fun. At my first convention, I was tabled next to Andre R. Frattino. For the first two days of the four day convention, we did not speak. After breaking the ice, he actually turned out to be really cool! As for the front neighbor, we didn't talk much, but they were a super nice couple and we actually swapped stickers and miniprints at the end of the convention. Close by was an elf ears booth, and they were extremely nice and awesome! I traded a shirt because my table buddy/sister wanted one of their elf ears.
6. Check out other peoples prices. Don't be the lowest priced table that drags sales down for everyone! Don't overprice your work either. Ask people with objective standpoints what they think it should be priced and work from there. And don't be afraid to adjust your prices at the convention.
7. Display matters, and it matters A LOT. Think about how you will fill your table. You don't want it to look empty or overcrowded. Think about vertical aspects as well! They attract attention from far away. Customize your table to your arts - I don't like saying this but it's true - "aesthetic". If you have cute art, have a cute display, if you have fine art, have a professional display.
8. Don't bring too much (first time) stuff. It's ok to sell out of items. If you're trying a product our for the first time, you don't know how people will respond to it. I had two large buttons, one bird that I thought would sell really well and a moon I thought- meh a few will sell. The complete opposite happened. The moon sold like crazy! It was actually one of the best sellers. The birds sold well, but not nearly as much as the moon. Unless you know from previous conventions that that one item is a best seller, don't over-do it.
9. Have your social media ready and active. I would say out of every 10 people who grabbed a card, 4 of them followed me or visited my website right after the convention. My website views spiked like crazy after my first con. My biggest regret was not having my online shop up to date and that my instagram was inactive at the time. Try your best to keep all your social media active- it's a big aspect in modern day marketing. Don't have too many social media account unless you can manage keeping ALL of them active. My rule of thumb is have at least four of the following: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook page, tumblr, youtube, or deviantArt.
10. Be confident, but don't have unrealistic expectations. Don't go in to your first convention thinking "what if nothing sells?" "what if no one likes my art?" or "everyone will love me" "I'll sell out in minutes". Don't be surprised when kids ask for free art. They don't really understand the work and money put into your artist alley experience. Just kindly decline and explain that you put a lot of work into this, or that this is how you make a living.
Best of luck! If you have any questions, feel free to comment down below. Also feel free to share your (art related) social media account in the comments as well! Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or deviantart: @ABritoArt