2450 Cobb Pkwy SE
Atlanta, GA 30339
September 24-27, 2015
Compared to other cons I have been to, I felt customer foot traffic was not too great. It seemed most people would pass by with subtle comments that they we're trying to save their money and debating on what they should spend their money on during that entire weekend. I'm not sure if having the Artist Alley and Dealer's Room being in the same room affected much of this (I preferred this, but I can see how some people would not). It would get dreadfully slow at times and I would find myself just sitting there for almost an hour with little or no sales. Surprisingly, Saturday (which is usually my busiest day compared to past cons) was very slow in sales for me and I made most of my profits on Sunday. I was a little disappointed in not selling as much merch as I had hoped to (I had prepared a lot of new items for my AWA debut), but I think I made a pretty good profit from the whole weekend.
However, most people I talked to at the con were very friendly. I didn't meet with any conflicts, besides a couple of people trying to haggle down my prices and the dreaded uninterested parent dragged to a anime convention by their child. The Artist Alley staff was so nice to me and I did not meet with any problems with them, despite the terrible stories I heard from last year's con.
I would most likely apply again next year. Overall, I had fun selling there and meeting new artists and friends. The only thing I am worrying about is lack of customer interests in the Artist Alley. I think this is just a con where sales can vary, as I've heard different things from friends and neighbors.
Since everyone said AWA was a great con to sell at, that it was just a bad year, I've done it again this year as I've managed to significantly lower my costs to get there and I did a bit better than last year... but still, quite poorly.
It seems like the attendance are kids that somehow have already spent all their money by Friday, which is the first day when the AA/Vendors is open. Everyone would stop by my table and complain: "oh, man, I'm broke" "I'm sorry, I've spent all my money" "I could buy everything here!" and then walk away having bought nothing.
By the end of the con, I've sold a bunch of really small, cheap items. I've covered expenses, but the whole weekend felt like a huge waste of time.
Might do it again next year if I keep the same low costs, and if I share my table and have nothing better to do.
By the way, don't stay on the con Hotel, they have a party riiight in the center area every night, where all the rooms are facing at, which goes on until late and it's impossible to get some peace and quiet to sleep, and it'd take you ~20 minutes to get to your room, since elevators are constantly full. It's reall y frustrating.
While this convention was affordable, I would never travel to get there again by plane and feel I honestly have faced a giant loss in my sales given. It was so small I was barely able to cover my table and my expenses and definitely made no profit. I never was spoken to by the staff and wasn't even sure they existed anywhere aside from badge pick up.
My biggest beef with what happened- was that Anime Weekend Atlanta had my booth and many others facing the dealers room. This is like a death wish for anyone who has done conventions. Tons of traffic, but no one genuinely interested in stopping by artist alley to look while other booths were forced to have people filter in to artist alley to go look at items. I couldn't be more angry that they felt this was appropriate placements for anyone. This convention has a lot of learning to do and until then I never want to return. I felt like people were mainly teenage to young adults and were just there to party and cosplay for the weekend, no one was interested in purchasing things or supporting either dealers or artists. The room was also not set up for artists first, and dealers last. It was set up so you had to go left for dealers, or right for artist alley. Which also contributed to terrible sales most likely.
The AA table layout was a little questionable, as it seemed that the placement was really unfair to artists in the back corner. Also, the Galleria Cobb Centre was not awesome. The vendor room/AA were WAY too crowded and very claustrophobic feeling. I had a difficult time making quick runs to get food or use the restroom because the hallways were so congested. Also, even though the con had a very high attendance, it seemed like a lot of people never even made it to the artist alley. I hope they upgrade to a bigger location for next year.
Two years ago the drop in sales could not be attributed to anything really, but this year they fired the old staff, combined dealers and artist alley with food trucks away from AA and were over all disorganized. Badge pick up is hell on earth day 0, staff had some kind of weird second check in table in the alley that no one knew about, set up hours were a mystery, etc. etc.
The staff's jury system is also let's just say, questionable. Not touching who they picked or didn't pick to be in the alley, but the fact that it's a total not-secret that they were desperately begging artists to join their alley even up to just a month before the con. Meaning they had people on their wait list, WANTING and willing to go to their con, but they were telling them to wait for people they were repeatedly pestering who already said they did NOT want to go. When they finally realized those artists were not going to AWA, they let in all their waitlisters and we found out *they had no waitlist at all after they did that.*
This means the entire time they had enough spots for their entire waitlist, but made those people wait and worry for no reason.
Let that sink in.
Add that up with the flagging sales and huge hassle of a check in process and do yourself a favor, wait this one out till people report they actually start making more than previous years.