A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

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A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby meauho » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:22 am

Figured I would start this before comments ended up in several different locations.
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby oanhderbread » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:03 am

It was cold... wicked.. wicked cold. T____T

I was in Island E between face painting and a super cute accessory booth. Both neighbors were super nice and even helped when I had an issue with one of my set up (whooo my crummy last min cardboard wanna be shelf!). The set up was nice. Room was big. Although having AA, dealers, and registration in one area got pretty chaotic. Hotel was pretty spread, maybe too spread for my liking, and our hotel room seemed to have been skimped a bit. I can't believe how busy it still was on Sunday. So so so many people. It's insane the growth of attendance. Pre reg peeps were not happy with the long long lines. My friend couldn't even get into the AA for an hour and a half (although it was around the time of the fire marshall thing I think).

All in all, I liked the set up and business was pretty good. Hopefully I can get in next year again :D

Inventory.. after 4 cons I still don't know how much to make. How the heck do you determine this?????
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby Aisha » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:24 am

It really was flipping cold!

I had some issues with one AA volunteer (if mods want specifics, please pm me), and at points I had to ask my neighbor to watch my table as I really had to use the restroom and I hadn't seen a volunteer in almost 2 hours. I was not prepared with enough stock of certain things. What I thought might be popular was less popular, and what was leftover random stuff I've made people kept asking about after it was gone. Didn't help that the beginning of the weekend I was so stressed that I made myself sick.

The whole line control thing was insane. They actually did numbers wrong and were only allowing in the max number of people for ONE room, not both rooms. Thankfully I didn't have to deal with it, but it did hurt sales a tiny bit. Good thing I brought my own snacks and drinks, as by the time I wanted real food, lines were either stupid for the food trucks or the trucks were gone, so I'd just wait a few hours and grab something on my way home.

I have only two issues (though I've heard many stories from others of other stupid stuff that happened). Registration SHOULD NOT be in the same room as AA. Or at least they should make the lines better. It was impossible to even walk/browse the end of the islands next to registration lines. My other issue: why does A-Kon still allow the Contact Lens dealer to come back and sell? (Joshua, you already know my beef with this.)

Honestly, I'll be surprised if the Anatole allows A-Kon back next year.
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby Kiriska » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:48 am

Sleep-deprived, exhausted, and leaving for my flight in a few hours, but quick thoughts:

- Cold room is way better than a hot room. Attendee side of AA tables were significantly warmer than Artist side of table because bodies; many artists became tablecloth burritos over the weekend, but again, this is way, way better than a gross sweaty sauna, so I am not complaining. Will bring my own blanket next year and a sweater.

- Snaking two reg lines and two way traffic through a narrow hallway is stupid. There has got to be a better place for registration and/or a better way to manage lines/move the lines along faster so 1000+ people don't accumulate in the hallway. I like the idea behind having reg and AA together and it didn't really bother me, but if the reg lines are gonna block access to island endcap tables, then maybe just don't have endcaps. Just rope that area off. Attendees finished with reg will still need to funnel through AA on their way out.

- Did not enjoy my half mile trek from my hotel room to the AA, but this is not A-kon's fault. I don't really think there's a better place to put AA in this venue, so feh. I think the walk would have been the same if I had stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, tbh.

- However, Art Show setup hours have GOT to start accommodating the fact that some artists hanging in the AS are also in the AA. (AS gives a discount to AA participants, so they can't be shocked that these hours are freakin' inconvenient as hell to AA'ers) Having to make that half mile trek from AA to AS WHILE AA WAS OPEN stressed me the hell out each time. I have no helpers and all my friends have their own tables to tend to. Volunteers come around randomly and are unreliable when I need to be at x place at y time. AA having absurdly long hours (due to having to share hours with reg) makes AS having setup times before/after AA hours difficult though, so I'm not really sure what the solution here could be, other than to give AA shorter hours and rope off that area from reg after hours with security.

- Why was that entire first island basically empty? And half the second island? AA was way underbooked. And probably waitlisters that could have moved in to fill that space couldn't because they probably weren't notified more than a few days ahead of the show. The dead horse: AA reg needs to happen way way sooner so waitlist can actually move so people can actually make plans to attend. There could probably also be actual procedures for on-site, walk-in AA table claiming posted somewhere because I don't think that info is actually available?

- Why was the wifi in the room restricted to staffers? ._.

- Was not impressed with hotel room accommodations, but it felt like they skimped on things more than anything else (two pillows per bed by default (VS 4 in most hotels), coffee cups not replaced after use, small things like that). Hotel staff and management was polite and helpful when contacted, but for the cost of the room, $185/night for a double, at a hotel this damn nice, I did expect a little more.

- ....tired. Brain dead. Con report to follow, eventually. All in all, the time I spent behind my table was great. Attendees, customers, commissioners, table neighbours, and other artists in general, were great. Any time I needed to not be behind my table was one disaster after another and big, huge stressful ordeal. A lot of that wasn't specifically A-kon-related, but yeah. Am glad my conventions for the rest of the year are all pretty low key. Kind of sad I won't be seeing most of the people I saw at A-kon until next year though.
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby Zynchilada » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:21 pm

oanhderbread wrote:Inventory.. after 4 cons I still don't know how much to make. How the heck do you determine this?????


I have a big ol' spreadsheet with sales from past cons, which I average and then use to determine quotas for the future, making sure to round up/include overages in case something is more popular then expected. I also use data of old items for new item projections... this is a terribly inexact science though. I can pm you a screenshot of my spreadsheet though, if you're interested :3

I wasn't as bothered by the cold, I think, but this might have been partially because I was slightly feverish during the weekend (my voice left me and still has not returned u_u). Cold is definitely > hot though, imo.

Most of the negatives I noticed have been mentioned already (prereg/reg lines, crowd organization). Sales were super good for me (i made 35% more then my sales goal and 45% more moolahs then last year, woop woop :D) but I had a pretty decent location (C island near the south wall) and also I didn't have much competition (I only saw a couple other people selling clay/3d charms, and they didn't have as much variety as me). I'm looking forward to next year, when hopefully the kinks can be ironed out!
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby oanhderbread » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:57 pm

Zynchilada wrote:
I have a big ol' spreadsheet with sales from past cons, which I average and then use to determine quotas for the future, making sure to round up/include overages in case something is more popular then expected. I also use data of old items for new item projections... this is a terribly inexact science though. I can pm you a screenshot of my spreadsheet though, if you're interested :3
!


That would be so nice! Thank you! I try to gauge it based on what sells in past cons vs what doesn't. It was funny because the trends totally flipped this year and the stuff that I usually sell well went slow and the stuff that didnt sell well before went quick and people would ask if I had any more. So confused. .____.' haha

Kiriska wrote:- Was not impressed with hotel room accommodations, but it felt like they skimped on things more than anything else (two pillows per bed by default (VS 4 in most hotels), coffee cups not replaced after use, small things like that). Hotel staff and management was polite and helpful when contacted, but for the cost of the room, $185/night for a double, at a hotel this damn nice, I did expect a little more.


Our room had 2 bath towels. When we called to request more they said no. Said we had to trade them out as they got dirty. Sad. My friend went to Walmart and bought some towels while getting snacks. No extra blankets either. >.>;

I think this year was the most fun I've had behind the table actually. I was the least tempted to go run around the events and dealers room this year than I have any other year. Last year I was SO antsy wanting to go shopping and go to panels. This year I was glued to my table basically until I shut down Sunday. lol
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby Kiriska » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:06 pm

oanhderbread wrote:
That would be so nice! Thank you! I try to gauge it based on what sells in past cons vs what doesn't. It was funny because the trends totally flipped this year and the stuff that I usually sell well went slow and the stuff that didnt sell well before went quick and people would ask if I had any more. So confused. .____.' haha



Four years of cons and I've decided that trends always make zero sense and will flop consistently between cons. Last weekend at Comicpalooza I sold way more than expected of two prints. This weekend at A-kon, I sold zero of either. Prints that did well last year at A-kon didn't necessarily do well this year, etc. I stock based on an average of previous sales and gut feeling, more or less. <_<

oanhderbread wrote:
Our room had 2 bath towels. When we called to request more they said no. Said we had to trade them out as they got dirty. Sad. My friend went to Walmart and bought some towels while getting snacks. No extra blankets either. >.>;


Whaaat. Were you at the Anatole? A lot of people were staying at the Garden Inn, so idk how they were over there. We had three towels in our room, but all of the towels were already dirty when we called for more. The people in our room were pretty split between showing in the night and in the morning, so there were always enough towels to swap out, I guess? The room was pretty warm most of the time so we had no reason to call for more blankets. I was too exhausted every night to bother with calling for extra pillows. Really didn't care that much.
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby Zynchilada » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:21 pm

oanhderbread wrote:
Kiriska wrote:- Was not impressed with hotel room accommodations, but it felt like they skimped on things more than anything else (two pillows per bed by default (VS 4 in most hotels), coffee cups not replaced after use, small things like that). Hotel staff and management was polite and helpful when contacted, but for the cost of the room, $185/night for a double, at a hotel this damn nice, I did expect a little more.


Our room had 2 bath towels. When we called to request more they said no. Said we had to trade them out as they got dirty. Sad. My friend went to Walmart and bought some towels while getting snacks. No extra blankets either. >.>;

I think this year was the most fun I've had behind the table actually. I was the least tempted to go run around the events and dealers room this year than I have any other year. Last year I was SO antsy wanting to go shopping and go to panels. This year I was glued to my table basically until I shut down Sunday. lol


We stayed at the Anatole and were also on a strict 2-towel limit--when I called to ask for some extras, I was promptly refused and told it was dirty-for-clean exchnage only :/ very disappointing considering the hotel per night cost. I brought extra pillows and blankets, so we didn't have trouble there, however. I thought I brought extra towels as well, but I guess I forgot them when I was packing because I couldn't find them when I got to the hotel u_u
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby chrislea » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:27 pm

Even though I was freezing my uh... cat ears off under a sweater and a double-layered blanket, I'm wondering if the freezing cold temperature kept my temperature down, too. (But all the shivering wasn't good for my stomach!) Srsly, it had to have been thirty degrees in there - and ONLY in there! I call shenanigans on"con funk deterrant". That doesn't work if only one room is freezing and all the others and hot and sticky.

My location kind of rocked this year, which was a welcome surprise to me! Despite that, it seems sales were way down from last year. I didn't get to observe much of the con outside, so I guess I'll just assume it had something to do with this being the first time in a new building. The food truck I was in line for closed up shop while I was halfway through the line, so I'm a bit bitter at them. I guess trail mix and canned tuna really are the only con food you can rely on. And it was kind of enjoyable to blow my food budget on books.

I did have to leave the con early this year. I had a kidney infection and spent Friday night in an ER or two. Mr. Starry is a hero for driving me back and forth no matter how late it got. ;_; <3 I'm taking it easy and feeling a bit better each day. It should be cleared completely by the weekend. (So next year, no, none of the artists died!) XD

It's kind of shocking to hear how the Anatole treated everyone staying there! My group was at the Days Inn and while it wasn't the most posh hotel in the world, we had an abundance of towels/appliances, and the staff were pretty cheerful.
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby Starrydance » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:23 pm

I skimmed so far but two things:

The AA was not underbooked. The first 1 1/2 islands are guests that come and go to panels as need be. Thats not really under AA control, and we dont necessarily like it either. They were placed in front, and we seek a different way for next year.

Two: If theres no prereg line snaking through AA, say goodbye to a healthy chunk of your sales. Reg being there FORCES everyone through the alley. Thats about 75% of your traffic.

Also, thats not really up to us so--- it is what it is! It really does help us, even if its a bit chaotic. Im sure Reg is under fire for how things went down, so I hope that smooths out for next year.
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby Starrydance » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:55 pm

And now for my own!

I'm gonna pull back to talk about conprep too and not just the convention itself.

- I focusedly didnt attempt to do crazy amounts of things or work solidly for weeks and weeks going in as its greatly adverse for my health.

- I tried to do more fun things and not just focus on the dollar bottom line. It is, afterall, supposed to be a fan for fun thing, not so much a I made a billion dollars thing.

- As far as staff concerns, man, this year. Late information, mangled information, and in the end it just felt like we just through it all against the wall and just waited to see what stuck. Now that HOPEFULLY we should get to streamline what occurred this year into next year we can get rolling way earlier with more surety.

And now for Akon!

- We had a great gang of folks in my house which certainly adds to the madcap chaos. But, much to my surprise I was calmly done with about everything but my display on Thursday so thats what we worked on!

- Hubby being a rockstar, he dropped us off easily and got us set up neatly. The line was already rocking (literally, thanks to the DJ) and our Friday sales were NUTS. I was like, okay, thats most of the weekend sales. Friday fluke. Oh dear!

- Friday night went, um, long with the unexpected illness of a friend but we soldiered through.

- Saturday was even more crazy. I hit early afternoon more than I made last year, which was my best year, which was kind of amazing.

- The Canterlot Castle display was a major hit which makes me incredibly happy.

- In the end I did shockingly well, by far the best convention sales wise about ever.

- Someone proposed to his girlfriend on Friday "to be his Princess". Kinda cant beat that, ever. <3
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby jensequitur » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:18 pm

Whee!

Personally, I didn't care that it was cold, except that I wasn't prepared. If I had been wearing a furry suit, or in full costume, it'd have been different.

Really, I have no complaints - everything was fine, and we dealt with the emergency illness without issues, even though I came in very late Friday to set up. Wesley was able to help me out by finding my badges. I had a blowout on Friday on the way to A-Kon, and had to change out a tire. Then Sunday we took a look at the other three tires and noticed that left one was missing chunks of rubber, so we took time we didn't have to get two tires for the van.)

Financially I didn't have great expectations, as I've had some really dismal art shows this year. I made enough money to pay some of the bills, at least. If work had let me out earlier, I could have made more money on Friday, but I'm not bitter, no, not at all... :-\

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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby ShinobiOnToast » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:08 pm

[Complaints about the Anatole]


We stayed at the Embassy Suites up the road, and it was fantastic. Seriously, if any of you guys are considering staying out of the con hotel next year, give them a look--their customer service is great, their pool / hot tub changes color (they renovated a few years ago and put in LEDs), and they have really comfy beds. But I digress (right after I mention the omelets they have for breakfast).

Sales for us were great, much more traffic than last year--even on Sunday, I had a few lines of people, and got to help some folks with their cosplays--that was really cool--and we stayed consistently busy all weekend.

Only a couple minor issues. I'm hot-natured, so the cold didn't bother me, but my assistant froze (she spent Saturday and Sunday wearing a leopard print beach towel to keep warm, because they had run out of table cloths). The other one was lights; we'd planned to bring lights to use on the booth, on the grounds that electricity was free, just show up and tape down your cord, like last year. Since there wound up being a fee for electrical, they stayed under the table (I know AA staff had no control over that and couldn't mess with utilities, but I figured it was worth a mention). The hotel was beautiful and everything, but there were just too many people for this venue. Anyway, thanks to all the staff and admins for setting this up; we had a great time this year!
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby Ladre » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:24 pm

I was also cold but not complaining at all! Because nothing ruins a con (or sales) for me like excessive sweaty heat. Plus, the cold helped keep my apparent narcolepsy at bay. I swear when people ask where my table is going to be from now on I should just tell them it'll be the table with the sleeping artist. My sales were good, attendees seemed pretty happy and nice they pretty much completely wiped out my prints again. I ended up having a couple of different unplanned helpers throughout the convention which was very nice, and the volunteers with water and such were a godsend! I do hope things can get rolling a bit sooner next year and hopefully with more time to work on the map, more of us will be next to friends we requested. The walk to the hotel room was long but there isn't any way to fix that, and thank god for Zynchilada bringing extra pillows and towels for our room!

Starrydance wrote: If theres no prereg line snaking through AA, say goodbye to a healthy chunk of your sales. Reg being there FORCES everyone through the alley. Thats about 75% of your traffic.


It was a bit annoying that the hours ended up being different from what was previously indicated, but that's how it's always been before and I do understand that they have to get people in and registered pretty fast, so its okay. I'm always glad when there's something additional to attract people to the artist alley!

I'm really sorry Chrislea got sick but I hope you are feeling better now! <3
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Re: A-Kon; the Aftermath. Feedback and more

Postby Foolish Mortal » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:33 pm

Chrislea - I didn't hear you ended up in the ER but I wondered where you were on Sunday. I hope you're doing better!

Sweet Jesus the cold.

The Apprentice and I spent most of Friday huddled together wrapped up in a table cloth cocoon. Saturday I cannibalized my casual steam punk gear for extra layers and scared up my gloves from some forgotten corner of my luggage. I was seriously envious of those folks in those full body pajama animal suits. And the Pyro cosplayers, and the guy dressed as Jon Snow. I usually do not envy these people but I envied them this weekend.

Traffic flow was definitely an issue. I understand why the reg line was in Artist Alley and why it was helping us. But still traffic flow was an issue. There were some folks' tables I wanted to visit but the reg line was sort of blocking the way. Also that figure booth at the front of the main hallway made getting back and forth from the bathroom very vexing. Just for the record.

I am not sure what was going on, but people were being not allowed in or out of the Alley at one point? I had one commissioner explain to me he had to go to a panel but he might not be able to come back in to pick up his piece since folks were being stopped. I had another artist say that she had gone to like the bathroom or something and even with her AA badge folks wouldn't let her back in for a while. So that was odd.

Sales - a bit slower than last year. Growing pains and traffic issues are my guess - I was expecting some hitches with the new venue. We did alright this weekend but not the usual steady business we are used to getting at A-Kon. Stock wise we were ill prepared for the demand for some prints, for some reason all my TF2 Pyro related prints sold out - down to the display copies. I'm not used to this - I've never been down to "uh...sure...let me get that out of the book" for a print. I even had one guy come by and want to buy a print just as I had sold my final copy. Last two cons no one really wanted them but this con...Pyro's milkshake brought all the boys to the yard.

The DJ - I actually wasn't a fan of the DJ. Best I could tell you were either on the end of the room close to the DJ and couldn't hear anything besides the DJ and had to yell to talk - or you were on my end of things where you couldn't make out the music or the commentary so it was just noise. I guess he was there to keep the reg line entertained but yea - not really a fan.

The Anatole seemed nice - from what I saw - lots of space. Lots of art. But yea nice big pretty hotel though from a con layout not sure how it could be utilized. Quite a hike to get to the AA from, but I needed the exercise I suppose. I have no opinions on the rooms since we stayed elsewhere and walked back and forth. (Best Western was good - nice staff - no shortage of towels or blankets and we were right across from The Denny's so <3. Also the Denny's was awesome despite trying to keep up with the con crowd while being understaffed.)

AA Reg was nice, quick and painless. Also I appreciate all the AA Volunteers checking on us even if we didn't need it - it was appreciated.

Unloading on Friday was odd - we followed instructions and ended up at the Dealers Room loading dock and got in the Dealers Room and folks kept giving us weird looks demanding to know how we got in and when I went to get the badges and return to help with the table gear con security wouldn't let me back in since the Dealers Room wasn't open yet. Not sure if this was a faux pas on my sleep deprived self or what. But it was an interesting part of my morning.

Oh yea - what was with the power issue on Sunday? We were just cranking along and then BAM emergency lights.

All in all - I may complain but it was a good weekend and I'll probably try to come back next year.
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