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kommenttia Stories from an Anime Figure Hustler: Convention Setup Madness

  • Rikoei1 kuukautta sitten#80071238I love the ending statement fits work perfectly

    Thanks! It took awhile to figure out the perfect TL;DR for my story (〃⌒∇⌒)

    SebastianLover1 kuukautta sitten#80091824Thank you for sharing again! I never could have imagined life on the other side of the con booth. I'm sure it's exhausting, but I'm kind of envious at the same time. It's such a cool job. I'm hoping to get out to AX in 2021 so maybe I'll see you there.;) I'll warn you, I sometimes turn into an idiot in the dealer's room, so I might be very loudly squeeing and crying tears of joy at your booth lol.

    I'm glad you like it! It's an interesting job that you can say you've tried once but I don't recommend it because you'll be stuck at your booth till death the end and will miss out on panels (✖╭╮✖)

    And please, go nuts and weeb out at the booth (≧∇≦)/




    Elise_Grimwald1 kuukautta sitten#80091830Thanks for posting this. :) I didn't know anything about how booths at cons work, and it was a very interesting read. I had no idea how hard it is to set up a booth. It LOOKS like it takes a lot of work, but I wouldn't have thought it was THAT bad. Wow, just wow. That last pic of AX you posted gave me some anxiety (I have problems with being trapped in barely moving crowds with little chance of escape), and I'm not even there. D:. It's just too many people at once, and anyone who can deal with those crowds is much braver than me D:.
    TBH, I'm not fond of the mountain look personally (the display in the pics does look good, but it's still not my thing), but I get how it would sell figures better. I actually prefer the display cases myself, or actually just in the box. But that's just me.


    Thanks for reading my story!

    I really wish I took more pics to show everyone how massive the mountain is lol. We thought about display case once but it's very heavy and the glass will probably break along the way from cons to cons.

    And I don't blame you for not liking crowds at all — day 1 of AX takes about 8-9 hours standing in line just to get in by 2pm ◑.◑

    Though day 1 is the worse, the other days isn't too bad; it's usually the smell that gets to you >.>
    1 kuukautta sitten
    Elise_Grimwald Genius Puppeteer
    Thanks for posting this. :) I didn't know anything about how booths at cons work, and it was a very interesting read. I had no idea how hard it is to set up a booth. It LOOKS like it takes a lot of work, but I wouldn't have thought it was THAT bad. Wow, just wow. That last pic of AX you posted gave me some anxiety (I have problems with being trapped in barely moving crowds with little chance of escape), and I'm not even there. D:. It's just too many people at once, and anyone who can deal with those crowds is much braver than me D:.

    TBH, I'm not fond of the mountain look personally (the display in the pics does look good, but it's still not my thing), but I get how it would sell figures better. I actually prefer the display cases myself, or actually just in the box. But that's just me.
    1 kuukautta sitten
    Thank you for sharing again! I never could have imagined life on the other side of the con booth. I'm sure it's exhausting, but I'm kind of envious at the same time. It's such a cool job. I'm hoping to get out to AX in 2021 so maybe I'll see you there.;) I'll warn you, I sometimes turn into an idiot in the dealer's room, so I might be very loudly squeeing and crying tears of joy at your booth lol.
    1 kuukautta sitten
    I love the ending statement fits work perfectly
    1 kuukautta sitten
    Julia1251 kuukautta sitten#80030746Interesting to read, thanks for sharing! Also you have a great sense of humor which just made this more fun to read lol. As a customer I have to admit that although it's probably hell to put together like you mentioned, the mountain of figure boxes does look really good and definitely draws attention to the booth. Whenever I see that kind of thing, I always get drawn to it more than figures just sitting flat on tables, it's overwhelming to look at at first but that's also what makes it so fun to investigate.
    Man I miss going to cons, I usually only attend once a year because of work but now that's not even happening T-T It's hectic as hell but still fun


    Lol I'm glad you enjoyed my story; I wanted to make my setup story, something that sounds tedious, exciting to read and I wanted to hook onto the readers with my humor ( ̄▽+ ̄*)

    The "mountain of figures" layout actually helps figure sell better because they're at eye level (or higher) instead of the figures being at hip level and you're looking down on it.

    And con life is so tiring but fun. I try to ask days off for conventions like 6-8 months in advance and won't bend to or let management guilt trip me about going to cons.


    WindsorSeven1 kuukautta sitten#80031128I agree! I never imagined it was that tedious (or took that long) to setup. Makes me respect everyone working a little more.

    Thanks for reading! Many of the vendors are always chugging on with just coffee and energy drinks (゜▽゜;)

    Rubysp1 kuukautta sitten#80031808Thanks for the write up! Your blog really brings up memories of my con days. I worked in several during my younger years for a con that doesn't exist anymore but back then because the boss was from the US, he would have me fly across the state (Australia) and setup/sell instead of flying down himself. Which, fair enough would save a lot of money on his side.
    Cue me finishing uni around 5. Rush to the airport, fly to another state, rush for the venue. A grueling 5-6 hours of setup for 4 long tables (a memorable occasion where one of the cosplay racks were broken and I had to run to the nearest shop and buy a cheap one) go to bed around 2-3am. Wake up around 7 to finish the setup. Man the store all day (with no toilet breaks because I was by myself). Pack everything within 2 hours and rush back to the airport to fly back. That was the first and worst experience and I learnt to hire a local helper the next time. Good old days :'>


    Thanks for reading my story! And holy heck that sounds crazy but kinda normal; coffee and energy drinks are worth their weight in gold at cons 」( ̄▽ ̄」)


    4catdoorman1 kuukautta sitten#80031810I can identify with everything you've posted here. For twenty years when I was heavy into collecting model railroad trains I helped a good friend who continuously maintained $250K-$400K USD inventory 90% continued in a custom 16' foot long trailer that could accommodate people like myself 6'3" and taller to load, unload. The unit accommodated 5th wheel operation for my friend's old GMC diesel powered pickup with extended crew cab. What didn't get crammed into that custom trailer got crammed into the pickup. There was barely enough room to breathe once he, myself, and another old lumper piled in there to go to these organized (in theory) trade shows.
    We would arrive at midnight in designated city whatever, stay in a Motel 6, arise at 6AM, eat a breakfast if possible at 6:30AM at Steak & Shake or Waffle House, roll out of there 7AM, be at the gate before or by 7:30AM just so we could be first in line to locate, unload, set up when the convention authorities opened their doors usually at 2PM that day for the vendors. Our set up always took the longest of anyone: 10 hrs to set up on 12 to 16 tables or less per setting, do everything you did but for train gauges N, HO, some S, some O but, thankfully, no G or Scale 1. They would kick us out at either 10PM, sometimes midnight. Next day train day the convention hall would open their doors for vendors set up or not totally set up at 7:30AM. I can count on 1 hand over 20 years assist that we were ever caught up the 1st night setting up. It always overflowed into next day so Don (owner) or 1 of us could inventory, price the freshly preordered items that either finally arrived or were new just before trip departure and had to be carried along. 90% of the time when the public was let in we were still pricing new stuff and setting it out or up.
    Unless we brought it ourselves we never ate lunch at these gatherings. There was no time. It was always balls to the wall service orientation assisting buyers, explaining DCC (which I barely understood) operation in locomotives, ringing up sales. His stand outperformed everyone at most of these shows. It wasn't unusual to gross $25K/show (includes taxes collected) when other vendors only did $8K or much less. And when the show ended on Sundays at 4PM we were always the last or 2nd to last to depart for home bc he had so much stuff to repack, stack, reload. It used to drive me nuts thinking about it when we had to walk long distances to get to our assigned space. The show that almost did me in was Denver's Merchandise Mart. It was built in the '50's, remodeled once in the '70's. There we had to walk the equivalent to 2 regulation football field lengths just to get to the room we were assigned to set up at. And to top it off Don had a multi-shelved metal case on 4 wheels that stood 6'6" tall, 4' wide, weighed 400 lbs when 100% full of train cars, took 2 people to move it bc of its bulk which had to be up-ended and placed in the room with a 6'4" jamb doorway bc the city Fire Marshal forbade its position in the hallway adjoining the room which could accommodate 7' tall items. So if you can imagine 3 old guys, median age 64, used to 1300' elevation (KS & Mizzou) having to unload the trailer, hike 2 regulation length football fields in location at roughly 6000' elevation the next day to set up...not a happy camper I am.
    Turned out to be the worst show income-wise that year. Don barely realized $4K. I told him count me out if you decide to do this 1 again. My lungs can't take another shock like this location. But it wasn't a total wash. The following week we had to set up in Colorado Springs so we stayed out there, rode the narrow gauge train at Georgetown, mined for gold near Manitou Springs, drove on 4-wheel drive trails in his 4 wd p/u.
    A good time was had by all.
    I sometimes reflect fondly over past trips to shows with Daring Don. Most of the time it was fun in spite of the work involved. But believe me I do NOT miss the setting up or taking down ALL THAT STUFF.


    Oh man the "finishing setup until security kicked us out" and "putting on prices while the vendor hall is open" is something we've done many manyyyyy times lol. And oh man that is quite a mission just to get to your booth.

    And yes, the journey with other workers and having friendly banter and going on side trips makes working makes working at cons fun and I do miss it.

    Thanks for reading and sharing me with your story. It might be a long awhile back but the madness still happens, even today.
    1 kuukautta sitten
    lesser-robot-cat1 kuukautta sitten#79995594Mmmmh, those photos make me ache for setup. It's hard, but so much fun reconnecting with artist/vendor friends you only get to see once or twice a year, helping each other out with borrowed scissors or tape, and agonizing over what to put where on the display.
    Man... I feel you on 2020. I had SO much new art and merch I was going to do this year, and all of it went down the drain. I wouldn't go to a con right now even if they un-canceled, but I still miss them deeply.


    This 10000%, it's cool to catch up with other vendors/artist but at the same time, we also get angry glares from other vendors who really hate us; it's a very cutthroat world. And crap, I feel for ya. A lot of the artist I follow on Instagram are feeling the pressure o.o

    LiLMoon1 kuukautta sitten#79995610I'm curious about how you protected yourself from theft? I always worry that someone would try to steal one of the display figures. I have seen some vendors chain the down or some have them behind a wall of plastic.

    Thanks for reading and ooof, theft is such a problem and even though it's a problem, the mountain of figures is still better for the con attendees than chaining them down/behind plastic.

    Sometimes, you just gotta stay vigilant. For my methodology, I ,try to remember everyone's faces at the booth and also remember the position of each figure they are looking at and mentally keep tabs on them while helping other customers. And sometimes, I play the "hey, I'm friendly and willing to weeb out but if you steal, I'm pretty sure I can outrun you and I'm wearing boots" persona. It's a mental juggle (・_・ヾ


    Kendappa1 kuukautta sitten#79996279Thanks for this blog, it was nice to read and remember times at conventions - though as customer. How I miss conventions. ._.

    Thank you for reading! I miss conventions too (⌣_⌣”) I totally miss energy of weeb-y atmosphere of excitement.


    GingerCat-P1 kuukautta sitten#79996355I've only ever been to one big convention but I loved seeing the figure tables and huge displays. I am in awe of all of your hard work setting it up to look amazing. I can't wait to go back again :'O

    I hope so too, cons are fun and full of eye candy for figures, even though it's really exhausting. Thank you for reading my story!



    galablue1 kuukautta sitten#80029879I love when you share these stories. Thanks again CB for putting a smile on my face this early in the morning!

    (‐^▽^‐) thanks for reading, I'm glad my story made your day brighter!
    1 kuukautta sitten
    Jayde1 kuukautta sitten#79995507Thank you for the post! It's always interesting to see how the other side of table operates at cons. I've seen these booths at the many cons I have attended. Do you attend in the NYC area?
    All said and done, at the end of the con, do you guys come out over or under? With how competitive online prices can be and the normal 'con tax', I find it hard for some of these big booths to make a profit after how much booths costs, man hours, stock, etc. Guess that's why you'll be bringing the popular figures like you mentioned that will move due to people's favorite characters. I'm assuming you cater to a specific price point? A random person who only knows what anime figures are by glancing pass by them won't know the difference between a prize figure and a top tier one, and generally won't pay over $100 for one, in my opinion.


    Nope, we're mostly on the west side, generally California, Nevada, Arizona, and sometimes Washington and Oregon.

    I'd imagine the mountainn of figures would be a popular layout since it's eye-catching. And it depends, for us, we try to be pretty close to online vendors and my employer's strategy is to sell as much as he can — low mark-up but sell as much as you can, even give them a deal to slightly push the buyers to say "yes, here's my wallet".

    As for sales, large cons is for sure a profit but small to medium cons is a gamble; we generally break even but there's time we'll take a loss

    For popular characters, we try to cater to seasonal anime like SAO, Reincarnated as a Slime, Saekano, and Demon Slayer. Rem, Hatsune Miku, Astolfo, any BnHA/MHA characters, Broley (from DBZ), Bulma (also from DBZ) are always popular and are solid sellers.

    And actually, people went CRAZY for Demon Slayer. At cons, other vendors were selling a prize figure of Tajiro and Nezuko for $300 for both. We tried to undercut competition for selling them for $50 for both... And you can see their faces when they come to our both but already spent $300 for both. It's very heartbreaking ._.

    And thanks for reading!


    dtindcarea1 kuukautta sitten#79995526Nice story and I do think your mountain of figures set up is pretty nifty. Your story reminds me of the times I would go to conferences/conventions and help set up our booth. Luckily, I was usually only the assistant/secondary person with regard to the booth set up so I escaped having to do the planning most of the time.
    I do have one story were I was the lead booth person. I was traveling from the East Coast to CA and my plane got delayed due to weather and then ultimately cancelled. I was able to arrange for alternative air travel and had to travel to a different city (San Jose) and then drive the rest of way. Anyway, I had about a 3 1/2 hour drive to get to my destination and it's about 3 am (my old time zone/what my body feels). About 1/2 hour from my destination, I hit very bad fog and visibility is practically zero on the highway and it's night. Luckily, there was practically no one on the roads at that hour and I'm a very good driver so I end up making it to the hotel about 10 hours later than originally planned and checking in at about 3:30 am (PT).
    I manage to get a few hours sleep but then I have to get up to set up and man the booth because the conference is starting around noon. Thankfully, I didn't have any problems setting up so things went flawlessly from there onward. The show must go on!


    Thanks for reading! And oof, that's quite an ordeal you went though. I feel like that being sleep deprived is part of the convention life/work >.<

    Ranger_Chris611 kuukautta sitten#79995555Interesting to hear how things are from the other side of the booth.

    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed seeing from the seller's POV! ∩(︶▽︶)∩
    1 kuukautta sitten
    general-radix1 kuukautta sitten#79995359I knew that some work went into dealer room setup, but not quite this much. D:

    Thanks for reading! I figured an insider look on behind the scenes at a convention would be a neat story to talk about. And there's so much drama that goes on, you can totally make a reality show out of it >.>


    victorviper1 kuukautta sitten#79995399An interesting insider look at the dealer's room. Eight 10x10 booths filled with merchandise-that's about the size of the first floor of my house!

    I was thinking if someone read my story and compared their house or room to the eight 10x10 for size comparison!

    Now I can say to them "I'm sure this big booth is as big as someone's living room" during setup.

    And thanks for reading!!!

    Demigod_Dan1 kuukautta sitten#79995404That was a nice read, thanks for taking the time to write it :P

    Thanks for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed reading my story (^▽^)
    1 kuukautta sitten
    I can identify with everything you've posted here. For twenty years when I was heavy into collecting model railroad trains I helped a good friend who continuously maintained $250K-$400K USD inventory 90% continued in a custom 16' foot long trailer that could accommodate people like myself 6'3" and taller to load, unload. The unit accommodated 5th wheel operation for my friend's old GMC diesel powered pickup with extended crew cab. What didn't get crammed into that custom trailer got crammed into the pickup. There was barely enough room to breathe once he, myself, and another old lumper piled in there to go to these organized (in theory) trade shows.

    We would arrive at midnight in designated city whatever, stay in a Motel 6, arise at 6AM, eat a breakfast if possible at 6:30AM at Steak & Shake or Waffle House, roll out of there 7AM, be at the gate before or by 7:30AM just so we could be first in line to locate, unload, set up when the convention authorities opened their doors usually at 2PM that day for the vendors. Our set up always took the longest of anyone: 10 hrs to set up on 12 to 16 tables or less per setting, do everything you did but for train gauges N, HO, some S, some O but, thankfully, no G or Scale 1. They would kick us out at either 10PM, sometimes midnight. Next day train day the convention hall would open their doors for vendors set up or not totally set up at 7:30AM. I can count on 1 hand over 20 years assist that we were ever caught up the 1st night setting up. It always overflowed into next day so Don (owner) or 1 of us could inventory, price the freshly preordered items that either finally arrived or were new just before trip departure and had to be carried along. 90% of the time when the public was let in we were still pricing new stuff and setting it out or up.

    Unless we brought it ourselves we never ate lunch at these gatherings. There was no time. It was always balls to the wall service orientation assisting buyers, explaining DCC (which I barely understood) operation in locomotives, ringing up sales. His stand outperformed everyone at most of these shows. It wasn't unusual to gross $25K/show (includes taxes collected) when other vendors only did $8K or much less. And when the show ended on Sundays at 4PM we were always the last or 2nd to last to depart for home bc he had so much stuff to repack, stack, reload. It used to drive me nuts thinking about it when we had to walk long distances to get to our assigned space. The show that almost did me in was Denver's Merchandise Mart. It was built in the '50's, remodeled once in the '70's. There we had to walk the equivalent to 2 regulation football field lengths just to get to the room we were assigned to set up at. And to top it off Don had a multi-shelved metal case on 4 wheels that stood 6'6" tall, 4' wide, weighed 400 lbs when 100% full of train cars, took 2 people to move it bc of its bulk which had to be up-ended and placed in the room with a 6'4" jamb doorway bc the city Fire Marshal forbade its position in the hallway adjoining the room which could accommodate 7' tall items. So if you can imagine 3 old guys, median age 64, used to 1300' elevation (KS & Mizzou) having to unload the trailer, hike 2 regulation length football fields in location at roughly 6000' elevation the next day to set up...not a happy camper I am.

    Turned out to be the worst show income-wise that year. Don barely realized $4K. I told him count me out if you decide to do this 1 again. My lungs can't take another shock like this location. But it wasn't a total wash. The following week we had to set up in Colorado Springs so we stayed out there, rode the narrow gauge train at Georgetown, mined for gold near Manitou Springs, drove on 4-wheel drive trails in his 4 wd p/u.

    A good time was had by all.

    I sometimes reflect fondly over past trips to shows with Daring Don. Most of the time it was fun in spite of the work involved. But believe me I do NOT miss the setting up or taking down ALL THAT STUFF.
    1 kuukautta sitten
    Thanks for the write up! Your blog really brings up memories of my con days. I worked in several during my younger years for a con that doesn't exist anymore but back then because the boss was from the US, he would have me fly across the state (Australia) and setup/sell instead of flying down himself. Which, fair enough would save a lot of money on his side.

    Cue me finishing uni around 5. Rush to the airport, fly to another state, rush for the venue. A grueling 5-6 hours of setup for 4 long tables (a memorable occasion where one of the cosplay racks were broken and I had to run to the nearest shop and buy a cheap one) go to bed around 2-3am. Wake up around 7 to finish the setup. Man the store all day (with no toilet breaks because I was by myself). Pack everything within 2 hours and rush back to the airport to fly back. That was the first and worst experience and I learnt to hire a local helper the next time. Good old days :'>
    1 kuukautta sitten
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