Welcome to another week, and another good lesson on Saturday that I’m sharing with whoever might be reading. Pretty much the most important thing about running a business is knowing your audience/”ideal customer.” Different age people, different sex/gender people, and people with different hobbies and interests are going to buy different things. As a lovely woman apologetically explained to me when her daughter rolled her eyes at my display on Saturday and asked to “go over there instead,” my offerings “aren’t her thing.”
As I love to attend conventions and have mulled dreams about vending at them, I have struggled with the view I have in my head- me, happily chatting with other geeky/nerdy people in a convention environment- and the reality, which is my things having little place in a convention environment.
Saturday, I attended ToshoCon. It was a lovely, local, free one-day convention-styled event put on at the Arlington Hills Community Center and Library. This was their second year, it was pretty well-attended, and it was a perfect opportunity for me in my head and me in reality to intersect.
I did very well, but not because of the general crowd. The general crowd enjoyed looking at my items, but did not have the money to purchase my items, or had no use for my items (or was neither, and passed by quickly). However, there were some of my usual, ideal customers in the crowd, and they purchased and were excited to possess my handiwork.
I feel like this is finally going to allow me to let go of that dream. The things I make are not things that people generally go to a convention to buy. I don’t do fan and/or derivative works (in general, though there have been commissioned exceptions), I don’t WANT to do that (Trademarks and copyright make me nervous), and I feel the objects that would work in that environment have already been done by other people (there are lovely leatherworkers in this area with TWO Tandy stores and the Renaissance Festival).
It is time to finally embrace myself and my art and stop looking for ways into places I’m not going to do as well for the reasons I’ve explored above. It is time to add creations that broaden my market in places I will already do well enough in (art and church-based sales) and stop trying to tweak what I am doing to fit into the places I want to go.
Trying to make everyone happy usually results in no one being satisfied. ToshoCon was a great experience, and I may continue to do it in the future… but I will finally embrace that Anime conventions are off my list of possible places to vend. Sci-fi would likely be the same. Fantasy would depend on what aspect.
I desperately want to get back to doing 13GEARS again, and this month I have been discussing with many people the feasibility of doing so. Stay tuned! And join me again on Thursday to hear a bit about polymer clay.