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Post Morty Post, Part 1

As I mentioned on Friday, my own personal sales were sorta slowish at AnthroCon. A lot of other artists were having this problem I gather, particularly in regards to sketchbooks.

Some of that is probably a factor of the room size. AC has gotten so hugemongous that the dealer room now makes up the better part of an airplane hangar, and there's just so much STUFF that sales are really diffused. If Joe Furry goes to every con with $100 to spend in the dealer room, it's pretty straightforward math to figure out that 200 dealers are going to make less as individuals than 75 will.

In theory, if 200 Joe Furries go to the con instead of 75, that should compensate -- but it doesn't really. Instead what you get is a Hollywoodization effect: the really hot items make a ton of money, and the second-or-lower tier items barely sell at all. It's not any kind of sinister forces at work, it's just human (or furry) nature. Popular items become more popular as they get talked about and showed off. Take Lion Of the Sun for example. He makes really intricate, high-end realistic fursuit heads which are very striking -- and correspondingly expensive. But his work generates so much buzz that he sold out on Saturday.

Or take another example, cooner, whose Lollerwear shirts flew off our table like they had wings. I don't have hard numbers yet, but I would guess he sold five shirts for every one of mine, because they were a hot item with a lot of generic appeal (and got a lot of buzz), whereas the Kitten Kaboodle shirt, as cool as it is (and I think it's pretty cool myself) is really an item specifically for Suburban Jungle fans. If the Lollerwear shirts had been, say, Buffalo Wings shirts, they probably wouldn't have moved anywhere near as fast -- not to denigrate BW, it's a great comic. But that's how fandom works, purchases are tightly tied into "self image". If somebody doesn't think of themselves as "a Buffalo Wings fan" they're not going to buy a Buffalo Wings shirt no matter how cool or funny it is, whereas the same core gag, genericized, can be adopted by anybody. My biggest single seller in terms of merchandise is the "Proud to Be a Furry" button -- same deal.

So why do I keep making SJ merchandise specifically, when generic stuff is where the action is? Well, a couple of reasons. First off, I have a hard time "thinking generically". My writing and art is character-oriented, and my merchandising ideas are the same way. I have a neat idea for a Brody Coyote coffee mug for instance -- which could be made into a generic gag with some effort, but is not how I came up with it.

Second is ego, really. When people buy SJ stuff, I can pretty much be sure it's because they like Suburban Jungle, and that's a great little ego boost. :)

I'm running out of room in this post for the rest of the topic, which is the "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" aspect -- so I'll do another post about that later.

-The Gneech

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
ziabandito555
Jul. 10th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
simple enough economic theory there. the best way then to gather buissness is to either be popular, have a good location, or have good advertising.
the_gneech
Jul. 10th, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
Or preferably all three!

-TG
ziabandito555
Jul. 10th, 2007 08:19 pm (UTC)
well ideally but who on earth would get that?
rhanlav
Jul. 10th, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
The "Hollywood Effect" is pretty spot on, as far as I can tell the times I've been to AC before. Not suprised its only gotten bigger though. Does make me wonder what the next "Lord Of The Rings" will be then, that'll cross all the different groups. Uh, don't mind me, I'm just randomly thinking.

--Salen
the_gneech
Jul. 10th, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
Good question! I wish I knew the answer so I could exploit it. ;)

-TG
rhanlav
Jul. 11th, 2007 12:27 am (UTC)
LoLLions! XD

As for Lion of the Sun, he does some awesome fursuit stuff. Saw the kitsune from AC '05 and it was really freakin' awesome. Yeah, I can see why his stuff would sell out like ice lemonade in a very hot place.

--Salen
silussa
Jul. 10th, 2007 07:43 pm (UTC)
Raises an interesting question, then, with regards to Further Confusion....would they be better off NOT enlarging dealer space, if the opportunity arises?
the_gneech
Jul. 10th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC)
Tough call. If they don't enlarge their dealer space, they're going to have major signup hassles as dealers try to grab limited space. Presumably they're getting those already, but, y'know, moreso. AnthroCon moved from a "sign up at the con for next year" model to "get your application in starting on Date X, first come first served by postmark" precisely due to this. They were getting to the point where the only way to get a table was to already have a table, keeping new talent out of the market and leading to stagnation.

On the other hand, as the dealer space grows, it becomes much harder on individual dealers to stand out and make enough money to recoup their cost. Thus, more Hollywoodization -- only the top-tier dealers have the operating capital to be able to get into the room!

I guess my recommendation would be to expand the space, but do everything possible to keep the table cost down. But I'd love to hear what other people had to say on the topic.

-The Gneech
doodlesthegreat
Jul. 10th, 2007 10:01 pm (UTC)
Lollerwear has an advantage: You can wear it ANYWHERE. And people will still get the joke. I wore the "Lollerskates" shirt to Anime Expo and got complimented on it frequently.
the_gneech
Jul. 10th, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
Yup, that's part of what I meant by generic appeal. :)

-TG
rubbertexcooper
Jul. 10th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
The lollerwear stuff is pretty cool. Though to be honest, my problem is cause Im a big guy I need shirts that usually go above the 2XL size range. I usually wear 3XL TALL size. So far Ive only seen the FC shirts in that size... and they consider it fursuit size, which is still pretty small for a suiter, especially since once the shirts were washed they shrink up to Micro-fur size. X.x

I may have to harass you at FC about some larger "Proud to be a Furry" shirts in more colors. Like black or blue. ;3 *pokes you with a stick* hee
the_gneech
Jul. 10th, 2007 11:52 pm (UTC)
Alas, black shirts require silkscreening, which rapidly explodes in cost if you have more than one color (which is why you tend to see white or white-and-red designs on a black shirt instead of full-color images).

-The Gneech
rubbertexcooper
Jul. 11th, 2007 04:46 am (UTC)
Yeah silkscreen is a pain. Though Ive seen the Furloween shirts and those glow in the dark, which has an awesome effect. What about a nice light blue color? That would be kinda cool and give a nice mellow feel to the logo. =3
confusedoo
Jul. 11th, 2007 04:08 am (UTC)
The star effect was in full effect in the art show, too. Probably even moreso. That explains why next year I will be entering the art show as "Dark ConfusedOO" :-P

I think there's another aspect to sketchbook sales at a con the size of AC, and that is simply time. Most furries I know have a sketch book or two or three. Even if they came to the con with $50,000 they have to be very selective about who gets their book, as there are only three days, and even moderately big names will fill completely up. If the first artist takes 4 hours with your book, and after that you try to shop it around, you may find the artists you want to be full. There's a distinct limit to how many sketches you can get per book at a con, and that number goes down if the fame as the artist goes up. Badges are how some people get around this because they don't require you to leave your book, and they are usually cheaper, but they tend to be less intriguing than full pieces.

Still, I totally get the segmentation vs. generalization art issues. There are definite up and down sides to each.
the_gneech
Jul. 11th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
I still want to see more sculptures from you! They really are unique and very cool. :)

-TG
c_eagle
Jul. 11th, 2007 10:22 am (UTC)
That's certainly an interesting possibility... I wonder if conventions have a numbers threshhold, with a more 'perfect' sales level reached at a slightly lower attendance/dealer ratio...
Good to hear it wasn't a bust though!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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