Updated: Apr 10
As I sit alone in my Hotel room I cannot help but reflect on the journey to Puerto Rico. The amount of planning, research, anxiety of whether or not it was the right move considering the expense involved. I will say, of all the events I have attended, this was the most expensive and challenging logistically. From all of the rules from the event center to comply with, permits, access limitations, no WiFi, not being listed on the site as an exhibitor, so you have to do all the work to promote your attendance, etc.
What I realized is the game has changed and Artist Alley is just not as significant as it was 10 years ago. Pop culture definitely took over the big shows. Anime is king in Puerto Rico. Celebrities are the draw. Cosplay is a way of life. And large companies consume all advertising.
So where does that leave us? Well, it forced me to reevaluate whether it’s worth doing the big shows any longer. Financially it is taxing on the wallet. From travel costs, airline, hotel, food, transportation, shipping and printing products, unless your motive is to expand reach and build awareness around you and your product, it may not just worth it. This is for the start ups, and or those who have not cultivated and can base with an existing demand for their work.
Now, while I did not recover my cost for this event, I did manage to build awareness, gain tons of new subscribers to my art channel, and hopefully will have return customers for Doodie. He certainly was a hit at the event. Tons of compliments and inquiries but conversion was around 15%.
I gave out 500 free trading cards with my social media handles on the back. This drove tons of traffic to my site, added followers on IG and subs on YouTube. That in itself is priceless. The people were amazing! Great stories and conversations. Met a few subscribers of my art channel who have been following my Vlogs.
I did have to give away my grid cubes and a pack of bag and boards as they exceeded to weight limit in my luggage and I did not want to spend an extra $150 for the added weight.
All in all, even with ComixWellspring making me pay an extra $100 for their error of shipping my products prematurely (even when they confirmed on the phone) that they would get in on the 5th and not before. Even with the hotel service desk employee being annoyed for not finding my packages and walking away without a resolution. Even with having to walk around the entire convention center with 4 luggage bags on my own just to get to the loading dock (because they won’t allow luggage through the front door. Even after I setup my booth, and rain started falling on my booth. Even when they moved me to a less visible location with no support or anything. Even after all that, I still enjoyed meeting new people, connecting and getting Doodies stories into new hands.
Will I return next year? That remains to be seen. Circumstances need to change. In the meantime, THANK YOU Puerto Rico and thank you to all the new Doodie fans… or should I say Doodsters!