Convention Carny

Have I told you I love Conventions?  My family and I have been attending “Cons” for a few years now.  We love them.  I love talking with people: both when I sell, as well when they are selling.  Artist Alley and start-ups are some of the greatest people you will ever talk to.  They are passionate about what they make and sell.  My wife often finds herself bordering between artist alley and vendors booth when working Conventions. (I wrote Running a Home Business a few weeks ago about my wife starting up.)  There are however, pros and cons (no pun intended) about working convections.

Pros of working a Convention:

  • You get to attend the convention.
  • You get to show off your stuff.
  • You get to make some money.
  • You have a place to network.
  • You meet neat people.
  • You have somewhere to put your stuff as you check out the convention.

Cons of working a Convention:

  • Not sure if you will make money.
  • Crowds.
  • Having to justify your products and pricing to complete strangers who don’t care how far you’ve travelled or how much you spent getting there or how many headaches you are dealing with trying to design, and create your product.
  • You have to be nice (to make money).

The days leading up to a convention are stressful.  Do we have enough products? Are we going to sell anything?  Why are we going in the first place?  Why does everyone who has never seen my stuff, hate it before I display it? (That’s a bit extreme, but the anxiety is there.)  Once we are there, the fears subside.  The stress is lifted and the games begin (literally). 

There is no feeling like selling in person.  I love it.  Talking up a sale for a product you can believe in, and seeing the joy in your customer’s eyes is the greatest.  On the flip side, having a complete stranger tear you down and try to undervalue what you (or someone you care about) has made- hurts.  It’s like a kick in the gut, and it takes every shred of dignity to remain calm and keep your smile.  But you do it, because when 35,000 people are passing by you-one person better not ruin your day.

After a day of selling out of town, you return to your hotel, motel, Holiday Inn (say what? Sorry, rap song flashback) and you meet other vendors.  You share stories of great sales and curious customers.  You make new friends, and life is good.  You realize that this is what it’s all about.  Making connections with others.  Becoming friends with strangers.  Promoting your business without effort.

I am a convention carny.  It’s a bizarre lifestyle.  But damn, is it fun.

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