Be a Vendor at Anime Conventions!
What to do, what to expect, and what to sell.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve heard about the phenomenon of Japanese animation, or Anime. It is wildly popular in the United States, and its culture consists of movies, books, role-playing and video games, and assorted companion merchandise. There is even a subset of pornographic Anime called Hentai. Those who love Anime gravitate to each other, and out of this commonality the ubiquitous Anime convention, or “con,” has been spawned.
The first cons were started in the 1980s, and featured sci-fi devotees, comic fans, and movie fans as well as Anime fans. They have grown steadily in popularity ever since. There are cons all over the country strictly devoted to Anime and others that combine many genres of interest. People who attend these cons love to dress up as their favorite characters and some even participate in “cosplay,” a sort of skit featuring Anime characters and stories. The effort put into costumes and accuracy is astounding.
As you might expect, Anime fans are always on the lookout for anything having to do with their favorite movies, games, stories, and characters. This is where the vendor room comes into play. Every con has a vendor or dealer room, and therein you can find everything from tables full of manga (comics), graphic novels, DVDs, soft toys, games, novelties, jewelry, clothing, accessories, and oftentimes knives, swords, and airsoft guns. If you plan to sell at an Anime con, it pays to do your research. You should be able to access con websites and look at the list of vendors and what they are selling. See if you can come up with something different, or a unique spin on what is already available. If you’d like to sell weapons, each con will have its own policy on whether or not sales are allowed at all, and if so, how they are to be displayed, and what is to be done with them after they are sold. Almost no cons allow anyone to walk around with edged weapons, for liability and safety reasons.
Anime cons are usually attended by young people, some even under eighteen. However, you will see a smattering of older fans as well. If you’re selling at a con, be friendly and comment on their costumes. Many of them are handmade and show real ingenuity. If you take the time to talk to people, give them a business card, and make them a fair deal, you will be remembered at the next con. This creation of good will is not only excellent word-of-mouth advertising, it also makes your con experience that much more fun. You’ll look forward to seeing people, and your sales will be much better than if you are cold and businesslike, and are rigid in your prices. I’m not telling you to sell under your cost, but many of these people don’t have a lot of money. If you make them a good deal, they will never forget it, and will come to you when they do get some money.