Interested in holding a booth at DragonCon next year? Applications open Thursday, Oct. 1st!
Holding a booth for the first time? Congratulations! Let me know if my tips helped you any.
DragonCon continues to amaze me every year. This year, I decided to focus particularly on how booths were prepared despite where you may live. It's one thing to have a great setup and interact with your customers, but what is it like before the convention starts?
Pre-planning, testing, organizing, the list goes on and on. Those who were relatively local took cars. This provided larger set ups, and more freedom for personal touches. Those who came by plane had a much smaller set up with the general display of artwork, decorated banner with name proudly displayed, and their suitcase tucked under the booth table. I went ahead and asked many artists what their secret was to a successful booth, and these were the top 5 secrets!
- Test it at home.
If you know the size, make a mock-booth and test it as the seller and a customer (behind and in front of the booth). This will give you a much better idea how eye-catching your booth will be, as well as how comfortable you (and possible helping friends) will be.
- Start with a small, local convention and work your way up.
Just get the essentials and build from there. You'll learn a lot from your first time, and until you're 100% sure you want to continue doing booths, it's better to test the waters and save money. Plus if you screw up, no one will remember so it's a better learning experience. Also, do not expect to break even; this is a learning experience.
- Know what you're selling.
Just like social media, there's a lot of options, but if you try to do everything it'll be overwhelming and ultimately some expenses will not break even.
- Know the convention.
Not every convention is the same, and all have their unique culture and cluster of attendees. It's highly recommended you go research as a fan first before diving into the unknown. Even more important, see if YOU enjoy the convention. No matter what, if you don't like a convention, it won't matter whether you make great sales or not if you're miserable for possibly 9 hours (8AM-5PM), 3 days straight.
- Make the booth your own.
The booths that have always grabbed the best attention are those that the viewers know exactly what your style/theme is, can see what you're selling easily, and can feel comfortable approaching. Best examples I've seen of this include Cory Godbey, and Justin + Annie Stegg Gerard.
Best of luck, everyone! You've got this!!