Venue: The venue itself is located near TONS of food places and even has a food court downstairs right in front of the exhibit hall. Pretty safe area!
Staff: Super lovely and I have to give kudos to whoever juried the artist alley. There was SO MUCH variety and I never got bored walking down each isle. There was a fair balance in what kind of art was present (not saturated by the same fandoms).
Layout: Love it! Really easy to navigate as they were all in long straight rows!
Attendance: Although I was situated in the back, there was still quite a bit of traffic on Friday. Saturday and Sunday started to die down, probably due to the concerts going on + League of Legends' Worlds happening at the same time. A lot of people spent all their money on friday, knowing that artist's stocks will be gone by the time Saturday night hit.
Affordability: If you are local to Atlanta, it is quite affordable! If you are international, the fees aren't too bad. Commuting by uber / lyft can rack up the fees, but if you take transit, it is only $3 - $5 for long distances.
The con goers were usually pretty enthusiastic and happy to be there, the energy was very good, but no one was dropping too much money. I was selling a lot of 5-10 usd items.
Fans seemed for the most part, very casual and skewed young. A lot of the cosplays were store bought and of popular anime’s that everyone knows (demon slayer, genshin, naruto) , which is fine, but I’ve been to many other cons that had a more niche vibe and get the feeling they were more willing to spend on artist goods than here.
Speaking of which, the artist alley feels like it’s split with vendors 70-30%. There are alot of vendors here and they take up most of the hall. This could also be a contributor to why alot of the artists I spoke to said that sales were always rather eh after years of going here. The crowd feels kind of casual so they might be likely to spend on vendors rather than fan made goods. Just a thought.
One thing that I want to point out that was a huge negative was that room and board is terrible in Atlanta. AWA doesn’t notify artists of their acceptance until far too late to secure a con hotel , and many of the ones in walkable distance will also be full. Parking at the center was advertised as 5 dollars each day. It was 10. If you are traveling out of state for this con I would honestly reccomend air bnb ing at a place with a driveway or something because parking in the city is incredibly expensive. If you aren’t traveling by car I’d try to only do this one if you are splitting with friends and can work something out, it’s a serious hassle. constantly getting slapped by logistic inconveniences and parking bills was a real negative about this weekend.
The venue itself is pretty nice. The entrance especially with the “pit” area is a nice place to hang out and talk to people in the evening. However, it’s kind of confusing to find point a to point b with no signage out up clearly where things are. Maps are available online, but the hotel seems to block signal in many areas so it was really messy. This could be dangerous for younger con goers if they were to get seperated tbh. Many times I had no service and artists were forced to pay for WiFi to do card sales.
I had some instances with quite rude staff and volunteers, unfortunately. I hope these are just anecdotal and not a trend.
For a vendor, this is a c+ con. I would reccomend doing this only if you’re local or able to share room and board with others. I wouldn’t put too much investment into this con or overstock given what I’ve heard from other artists and what I’ve seen myself.
I hope this helps anyone accepted or thinking of applying next year. I tried my best to be honest and unbiased. I enjoyed my time here but it was stressful so I’d have to think it over before accepting 2022
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.