I want to be able to report that we headed into Wizard World Fan Fest like gangbusters and came out swaddled in a warm Snuggie made out of cash. Alas, that is not the case. The weekend started off great. Stephan and I headed into the city Friday morning to set up. We were hyped up on caffeine and sugar (and no sleep on my part). Set up was super easy. We got there before most of the other artists and got to drive right into the show floor. Between the two of us we got everything ready in a couple of hours and we headed back home in good spirits. It was pretty much all down hill from there.
When deciding on shows to vend at, you look at a lot of factors: attendance, timing, who is running the show, cost. With Fan Fest, I knew I was going into a brand new show—it was originally supposed to be the Bruce Campbell Horror Fest, but Bruce Campbell had to pull out—but I figured that Wizard World wouldn’t have gone ahead with the show if they didn’t think people were going to come. And with it being in Rosemont, it meant we wouldn’t have to travel, pay for a hotel, etc. With all that in mind (and after looking up the average attendance for other Wizard World shows) I went into the weekend with what I figured was a respectable expected sales figure in mind.
We didn’t even make a tenth of that. In fact we lost money on this show. It’s been years since I’ve lost money on an event. I’ve broken even, or made less than I was expecting in gross sales. But to lose money? On a local show? The attendance just wasn’t there. I was assured by both our booth neighbors that the Wizard World Comic Con in August sees ten times as many attendees, and has four times as many vendors.
But I also heard that Wizard world has expanded their events so much over the last couple of years that vendors are feeling the effects and sales are down.
None of that is really helpful knowledge now. It’s hard not to feel discouraged. I spent so much of my energy trying to remain positive leading up to Fan Fest that I don’t have much energy to combat the disappointment. I am back to questioning the feasibility of my plan. Jerk Brain keeps telling me that if I were smarter I would have anticipated this; if I weren’t lazy I would have researched more.
In struggling to find some sort of silver lining, I look to the time Stephan and I spent in the booth. We had a good time with each other. And when things started to get really bleak on Sunday, he made me a necklace in hopes of cheering me up. Our booth neighbors were awesome and had lots of encouragement for us. I saw some very cool and clever cosplay. And I did have really cute convention hair on Saturday.
Also on the plus side, we won’t have to make up as much inventory for the next show in a couple of months. Well, I won’t. So far nearly every piece of chainmail jewelry Stephan has made has been bought. So he might have to slave over some cold aluminum links for the next few weeks.