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Five Tips for Con Vendors from an Attendee

I’ve been going to conventions since 2011, which isn’t long; but being in a major metropolitan area means I still get a pretty awesome rotation of local cons to attend each year. I’ve been to enough to start noticing things I do and don’t like about con vendors. I love my nerd interests, but I hate to see a vendor cut corners thinking they’ll get my money or attention just based on how much I love Mortal Kombat (and that’s a LOT). So let’s talk about what it takes to separate me from my money/time/attention, shall we?

  1. Have an online presence!- I can’t believe I have to say this in the age of toddlers owning iPads, but seriously, get a website! A Facebook page! An Etsy shop! An Instagram! Get something!! I go to cons knowing I can’t afford EVERYTHING that I want that weekend, but if you have a means to connect online, I can order something later. If I like your product, I can order again. Why would you not have some sort of online presence in this era?
  2. Look up when I approach your booth- I can’t tell you how many times somebody’s work has attracted my attention, and then their lack of interaction sent me right on my way. All I want is a hello. Acknowledge my presence! I don’t need your entire sales pitch right when I walk up but let me know that you’re aware I’m there. I see this problem most in the Artists Alley.
  3. sword replicas final fantasy kingdom heartsBe unique- The fastest way to get me to buy something is to make me believe you’re the only place I can find it. I’m a big fan of finding a good deal, and if you’re selling nerdy t-shirts, I’m going to look around at the 6 other vendors also selling t-shirts and probably not buy from any of you. However, my Mortal Kombat nightlight was definitely a unique item which I had to have right then and there.
  4. Be pro level- We are not all crafty people. That is why some of us are willing to pay others for their custom made work. In this age of Pinterest and Youtube tutorials, it is very easy for me to convince myself that I can do most things on my own. Your wares need to look like I can’t do that at home for cheaper. I once saw a vendor selling custom onesies. They were adorable, except the part where they looked like simple cut felt hand-sewn onto the blank onesies. I sew all my own cosplays. I think I could manage a felt applique on a onesie. Impress me, please.
  5. do you even gameBe geeky- This doesn’t happen often, but there have been occasions when I encounter a vendor who actually knows zero about geek culture and the products they’re selling. That bugs me. Maybe that’s exclusionary, but if you aren’t at least a little bit into geek life, I feel like you’re just here to profit off of my nostalgia.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, be accessible. I mean, how far did you come and drag all your wares to just stare at your phone while thousands of people walk by? I know the world tries to act like geeks aren’t a social people; but if that were true, why are conventions a thing? Yes, as a con-goer I am thrilled to see a vendor selling wall clocks made out of classic consoles. You still have to give me a reason to buy it, though. I’m curious to hear what some vendors and other con attendees have to say on this subject. Tell Blerdy Momma what you think!

What about you?