Tales from the Comic Box - Rookie Adventures in Buying/Selling/Cons
5 5

809 posts in this topic

Well "Day 1" is over and I am dead tired.


Woke up at 6:15 AM to help set up for 7 AM and there was miscommunication as the venue had it set up all wrong and hardly had enough tables so myself and one other guy (the other folks were older) were slinging heavy 7 foot wood tables while one of the organizers told us where they needed to go at 7:30 AM . Just barely got it all set up in time, including my own booth, but made it thanks to the help of my wife and parents who helped unload the truck.


Due to the disorganization, I did not get a fourth table, I ended up with only three so I had to juggle some stuff around and flat out did not have enough space for everything I brought. Mildly annoying but instead of keeping stuff under the tables, I just told customers I had extra boxes and would haul them out from behind the booth if they wanted to look.


It was a nice Fall day here so numbers were about half than the previous one day show back in April, so we shall see if Sunday helps to really raise the numbers to the last one day show. Apparently need about 200 people to come through tomorrow.


Anyway, I will give a detailed sales report for anyone who cares but I made enough to cover off my costs and then some today alone, so it was definitely worthwhile to set up despite the early morning cluster____.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 2 of the show today and it is a yucky, rainy day so hopefully more people decide to show up!


Also yesterday on eBay I sold my Marvel Legends Galactus BAF set so while not a "show" sale, it was still a nice sale to happen that day!!!



Edited by Wall-Crawler
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Final Report


Due to circumstances beyond my control, I only ended up getting three tables even though I was told I could have 4 and that was a bit of pain to deal with as I had to on-the-spot re-jig my entire layout and selection.


Saturday had decent traffic and overall I was pleased with the sales. However, there were less people through the doors than the previous show last April. Fewer by at least 150 I would guess.


Sunday was gloomy and rainy in the morning so I thought that would be a good thing but then it cleared up and there was hardly any traffic at all at the venue. I did not have anywhere near as many sales on the final day and that seemed to be the same for everyone. At one point it was just mostly dealers walking around talking to each other.




Booth 2 day rental fee: $225

Extra table cloth: $25

Total expenditure: $250


*Note the venue is close to my home and I ate breakfast at home, packed a lunch and was home around dinner time each night, so no "real" meal or other expenses.




Books & Other Comic Related Items Sold: $901.00


Total Profit: $901 (books sold) - $250 (expenses) = $651.00




I think there are a variety of factors that contributed to lower turnout.


Firstly, I think the timing and weather. The weather was pretty good all weekend and lots of other stuff for people to do this time of year and people are busy with outdoor activities and yard work. In April, not so much.


Secondly, Advertising and Signage. I think the organizers need to have a more effective advertising campaign and have better signage. They had a few things in some of the free community papers, but not much else. I had people walking in say the signage was poor and there were nothing other than at the entrance to the venue and what was there was hard to see.


Thirdly, I had at least 4 good customers not attend the show. The vast majority of attendees are not looking for comics but antiques and other collectibles. I'm the "niche" dealer at the show.




Overall, I am pleased. However, due to increased cost, my profit was not as good as the single day show last April, despite there being an extra day.


The sales definitely "mattered" in terms of the grand total, but it was a SLOW Sunday. Like I said, at one point dealers were freely wandering during the show, checking out other dealers stuff and just chatting.


I will continue to attend the show so long as it is profitable and I signed on for the single day show in April, but if they decide to do a 2 day show again, I will likely pass.


Also on the plus side, I think I am at the point now where I feel comfortable taking the next step and going to an actual "comic con" as there are a few that are gaining steam within 1.5 to 3 hours from where I live.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Almost forgot to share, at the last few shows I have been approached by people with their comics asking for a valuation or to see if I want to buy anything. One guy scoffed at me on Saturday when I did not want to buy a bunch of pure drek that were likely stored in a garage as they bags were "filmy" and dirty. Didn't help they smelled like smoke either.


However, I was approached by a gentleman who had an box of books, a lot of drek, some decent stuff that was really low grade but I did manage to lighten his load a little.




Frazetta :cloud9:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, locked in for an extra FREE table. Next couple of weeks will be getting the cheapies organized. :)


Also found out another guy might be setting up and also selling comics...As it is a small show, not sure how I feel about that (not that I have a say in the matter) as the pool for potential buyers is rather limited. Obviously, if this was a regular con or a bigger show, I would not care at all about competition but seeing as how small a show it is, well I will be curious to see where I end up.


One idea I had was doing a "raffle" for a book...Anyone ever done anything like that?


I may have missed this in the updates, but did this other comic guy set up at the show?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No but in retrospect I should not really care regardless the size of the show. I guess no matter the size I have to have some faith in my product and who knows they may have brought additional customers who might in turn check out my booth. There were a few other vendors that had comics but were not dedicated to only comics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Small update...I was asked to participate in a fledgling "FanExpo" style local show that is taking place at the local university here in less than a month.


I have some concerns about the show, mostly regarding the "speed" in which this seems to have been put together (and spelling mistakes on promotional materials) and advertising (or lack thereof) but as it is a focused show on "comics, cosplay, horror, sci-fi and video games", I figured why not? I am all set from the previous show so it is just a matter of loading and unloading really. I will also be letting my local customers know too via my Facebook Page.


For a one day show with a 10 x 10 space, two four foot unskirted tables, one round table, it is $100. Due to limited tables, I plan on placing some boxes under the table though for this one.


My "worse case scenario" is that I break even and waste a Sunday.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, so I have some thoughts here...Welcome suggestions as always.


As I have a limited space for this show this is what I was thinking of bringing. I really have to "pare down" what I am able to bring from the other show that give me LOTS of space.


Two Four Foot Tables - About 9 to 10 long boxes will fit, lets say 9. I was thinking of the following set up (again, my stock is more Marvel heavy):


Top of Tables


Batman (I have a total of two long boxes, Batman, Brave and the Bold, Detective and Misc. Bats)


DC Mix (Flash, Green Lantern & Justice League)

Spider-Man (total of two long boxes, Amazing and Spectacular)

Superman (not a big seller I know but I have lots of Supes and even Lois Lane and Superboy I have to organize at some point)


* I am struggling with what other two boxes to bring or if I should just bring two boxes of Bats and Spidey...I have FF, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Powerman and Iron Fist, Assorted Marvel (Fanfare, Team Up, Two In One, etc), Surfer and Thor, Horror and War.


Under Table

4 long boxes of $2 priced comics

5 long boxes of completed sets, story arcs and tpb's


Round Table - Action figures (I have about 10 left from a pretty big Marvel Legends lot I purchased) and magazine comics. If the action figures go fast I have other stuff I can put on that table.


Wall Board - "Higher end" books, might bring CGC for display purposes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Minor update - Apparently I can bring my own table at no extra cost...So, I am going to bring one of my own six foot tables so I don't have to put any boxes on the floor. Handy to have a pick up truck I can borrow whenever I want. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This coming weekend is the first Gateway FanEx - Basically the organizers are trying to create a anime/comic/cosplay/video game type like show. Looks like there will also be a Magic and Pokemon tournament (I know NOTHING about that) in my home town (population about 53,000).


This past weekend, the show organizers asked vendors if they could contribute anything to the 30 VIP packages they sold, apparently they are getting some sort of "VIP bag".


I don't mind so much but I wish there was a bit of time as the show is this coming weekend. Apparently we are to bring any items we can contribute and they will stuff the bags the morning of. I'm thinking of including a free comic (bag and boarded) with my business card and some raffle tickets as I am going to try to raffle off a book for something different and see how it works out.


Sound reasonable? Other ideas? Keep in mind I work all week so my time frame to think and provide something else to contribute is short...




Edited by Wall-Crawler
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good luck with your con this weekend. I'm hoping to go to a con this weekend too as a buyer with my want list.


As for the freebie bag, I think put a coupon in the bag for a piece of candy. That will get people to your table.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your observations in this journal, it's a great read with good advice and tips. I'm off to Wichita this afternoon for the two day Air Capital Con, my fourth solo setup (after apprenticing for 2+ years in booths with my brother). It's a 10 x 10 corner booth for $175, and I've got my PVC wall and about 18 long boxes of $1-5 books for the tables. I'm hoping I can Tetris everything into my SUV! We "weekend warrior" dealers need a support group!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys!


Well, for my contribution for the 30 "VIP Bags' I am going to provide each with a raw, bag and boarded comic,a copy of the Marvel Previews that my LCS donated to me, some raffle tickets for a draw I will be having and I am going to look into the candy thing ;)


On Saturday, my folks and my wife and I are closing up our cabin (joint family property) for winter, taking the floaty docks out and the boat for winter. Here's the cabin for you out of door enthusiasts.




AFTER than I will be cramming to get some final things taken care of and the truck loaded up for the show on Sunday. Busy!


I still really, really need to find/invest some time into get my cheap-o stock organized...


I asked the organizers if they have a mock up of the floor plan. Nope. So I have no idea where I will be set up but I am hoping it is kind of fluid and I can do what I need to do to make it work. I have a 10 x 10 space, one round table, two four foot tables and I am bringing my own table and wall book display. My wife will be helping me out again. Doors open at 10:00 for VIP's so I will be there for 8 AM.


In terms of a name for us "weekend warriors" support group, I'm all for it! I don't have a suggestion for name at this time...But count me in!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 5