AI takes place with the Asian American Expo, 2018 was the third year for this convention, so I have hopes that it'll improve more so in the future. Staff is attentive, but strict on the rules, so try to get your paperwork sorted beforehand as with any convention.
HOWEVER, if you'd like a successful convention with AI during its 2 day span, have small knickknacks, charms, etc, because the initial crowd for AI is a lot of younger kids and teenagers, rarely do big prints sell compared to stickers, buttons, small prints. Try to cater to the mentality of the place being a family setting more so than a anime setting because you're not going to focus on the anime crowd, but you're going to focus on the Asian public as well. From my experience, cute things that look like they belong in the hello kitty store is a sure fire way to get sales than a picture of sailor moon.
The layout had artist alley set up right in the exhibition hall, where there is a lot of traffic going about the convention and has helped sales by a lot However, I remain wary for next year seeing as the artist alley is going to be separated from the hall itself, which, like every other convention will harm sales.
When I bought my table they charged about 200$ because I bought my table later in the year, next year's tables for vets are going to be 200$ if you plan to come again.
I had a really good time. I met and be-friended several artists I'd never heard of before, exchanging ideas and contacts. I talked with lots of con-goers and enjoyed the costumes as people walked by. The layout of the small artist alley was spacious and easy to navigate.
I spent about 350$~ ish to attend (including table, hotel, merch, travel, and food) and walked away with a comfortable amount of profit. I broke even on Day 1 with no issues and that left Day 2 to be entirely profit.
I will say the attendance WAS an odd crowd, with a lot of families and their very young children which were obviously only there to browse or comment on the stuff I had to offer. But the other part of the crowd was a friendly, pleasant group who participated in the artist alley plenty.
My only complaint would be how loud the announcers/panels/music was at times. I was centered RIGHT in front of the stage, which was entertaining in it's own right, made it really hard for me to hear my customers and vice versa.
I'd say this con is a good, comfortable con for locals who can keep costs to a minimum and have a solid booth to attract customers.
The convention takes place during the same time as Asian American Expo and the Silk Show, so you have anime fans mixed in with families that have no idea what anime is, which greatly skews the attendance information that gets put out there. When I was doing research on this con, I read that it got about 10,000 in attendance, when maybe in actuality only about 1,000 are there for Anime Impulse. And even then, only a small amount of them actually buy anything from the artist alley. During the first day, I overheard some artists complaining about how some of them made $0-$10 within the first six hours. The crowd was nice, and I had nice conversations with some, but that's really all they're there for.
Artist alley this year was also separated into two different buildings. One was for the people who actually signed up early while those who signed up late (me), were put into another building where they held the anime convention's events. I feel like my building got more traffic, which I think is a little unfair for those who signed up earlier. On the other hand, those who were in my building also had to get their ears blasted by the announcer who kept screaming into the microphone during each event. We asked staff if they could quiet the microphone. That lasted for like two hours on day one, and then the announcer guy went back to his obnoxious, loud yelling.
I really had high hopes for this con, considering how professional the AA staff was (despite loud announcer guy) and how cheap the table prices were, but it was just terrible for sales overall. I managed to make a little bit of profit, but I know lots of people around me did not. Stay away from this con!