Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Star Wars Fan Days Convention: Day 1 (Post 1/3)

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

Welcome to this three part post about the Star Wars Fan Days convention in Irving Texas this last weekend. I will try to tell you a little bit about the convention, the funny stuff that I want to bitch about, and my future with this method of selling stuff.

As you all know I have a business on the side where I sell Anime model kits. My company is called Renegade Anime. I sell the kits on the website and on Ebay from time to time. When a convention rolls around I will get a booth and sell my stock. I can cut the prices way back and sell most of it and still pay for the convention and make a little money too. This enables me to take those funds and buy more kits which keeps me in good with my distributor as well as shows me what kits are popular so I can funnel my money into buying more of those. This is a great idea when everything goes well. I enjoy buying all this stuff and 'owning' it for a bit then selling it off and making some cash. Things have changed a bit in the last month when it comes to that equation listed above.

The model kits I purchase are usually from older series (like Star Blazers, Robotech, Gundam). Now Bandai is the big model kit manufacturer in Japan and they will re-release model kits from time to time. For instance the model kits I have been selling from the series Starblazers ('Space Battleship Yamato' in Japan) were actually produced (the molds at least) back in the 70's. These kits get released every ten years or so when a major anniversary rolls around (like 25th, 30th, etc). When I started selling kits back at the beginning of the year both Macross and Starblazers were in the middle of their re-releases. Now the models have gone discontinued again and I can't order them anymore. This leads to a huge issue since I need to find kits that sell if I want to continue my business.

I still have a nice amount of kits but the idea of selling them half off at conventions to turn them over isn't such a great idea since I will miss out on some great profits and wind up with nothing to order. This last convention will be my last 'half off' convention until these kits get a re-release. I will slowly sell my remaining stock at higher prices. This will help me 'stay in business' while I look for new product to sell.

Now on to the convention...

I decided to set up on Friday (something I don't normally do). I wanted to get a head start instead of rushing around on Saturday morning trying to get things ready in only a couple of hours. I went by myself but I did well. I got my 2 tables set up and had plenty of time to do a lot of product setup for the opening the next day. Once I had finished I covered my tables and headed home. While I was doing my setup I saw Peter Mayhew (the actor who played Chewbacca) hanging around. I remembered that he lived somewhere locally and I guess he didn't have much to do on Friday so he decided to stop by. I passed him a couple of times and he was sitting at his booth all alone. I kinda felt sorry for him but then I remembered that he was getting thirty bucks a signature and would be busy all weekend signing so I stopped feeling sorry for him. One final note on Friday... I got hungry and made the mistake of buying a soda and pizza form the concession stand. The pizza was fine but when the guy filled up my cup with ice for the coke he filled it up TO THE ABSOLUTE RIM. I honestly was about to make a snide remark but I didn't. I paid $4.50 for about ten ounces of Coke. Really????

At this convention I got 4 exhibitor passes (since I got 2 tables) so I planned on bringing Chris M. and Chris N. and letting Chris N. have the other pass for his wife. On Saturday morning Chris N. (which I shall refer to by last name now) showed up and we drove the Bedford (or wherever he lives) and picked up Chris M. (which I shall henceforth refer to by his last name). With both Noble and McGinty in the tow we headed to the show in Las Colians (the Irving Convention Center). Since the last show the greedy convention center decided to charge people $5 to park. Exhibitors got to park free (wheeee!) in a dirt field across from the convention center.

The show started at 10:30 and McGinty and I waited for the flood like in May but it never came. True, it was busy but it never exploded like it did for the Comicon. I was beginning to get a sinking feeling at the cost of buying 2 tables this time. The stuff sold here and there in a small, steady trickle. Along with my business stuff for sale I had several things that were mine that I was trying to sell. I was able to sell some of that and it made me feel a little better.

As the day progressed sales slowed down. There were a lot of people but they weren't buying. I did have luck with the 'light swords' I was selling. These were cheap-o lightsaber like toys which I sold for $5 each. This probably saved me (in regards to profit). Noble's wife showed up with their kids about half way though the day and did some strolling around the exhibitor hall as well as some of the prop exhibits up stairs. McGinty went to the George Takei Q&A session as well as the Billy D. Williams Q&A. I think he enjoyed it. On and off I did some shopping throughout the day and found just a couple of interesting things I wanted to buy. I also found our buddy Hank browsing my table. I thought he hadn't made it this time but he did! McGinty got to talk to Paul Black, his favorite person to stalk (three times a year) so all in all I think we had a good time.

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