[䷀026] first vendor experience: Hiroline's Holiday Fair 2023

I'm grateful to Hiroline.co for this opportunity - it had been our 2023 new year's resolution to experience our first vendor experience. Knowing how inhibiting anxiety and perfectionism can be for me, had it not been for my partner keeping an eye out for events and applying, the ball would not have started rolling until 2025.


✅ practice setting up, experience leaving display overnight, and tear down
✅ gather data based on reactions and interactions from passersby
✅ break even
✅ have people pose with my "photo booth" props customized for an anime event
⬜ figure out what to do when people are browsing, which would reduce anxiety attacks


For this holiday fair, the vendor fee for a 6' table space was $260, which was stated to go towards venue costs, permits, marketing, display and decoration costs, entertainment and accommodations, special guests, cleanup, and security. 

[journal_20231216-082353] I've become so stressed that I'm purposefully activating NPC mode so that "whatever happens happens" and I would just go with the flow. 

My stress came from seeing how packed the car looked, dreading the car ride, and not knowing what the loading would look like. However, my partner said that me stressing out wouldn't make things better, and that I might as well rest during the car ride. Thus, I rested. 

When we arrived, I met with the organizer and was told that the tables were first come first serve. I walked through the area to pick the most optimal spot. I felt that the stalls facing 121-128 were not the best because most people entered through the front door on the top left side. Not many people headed from the left entrance  to the booths on the right, as the escalator and stairs discouraged that. 

When I first saw the situation, I was a little alarmed because there were walkways on both sides of the table that would have to stay cleared. There was also practically no space to store items behind us. (Do other vendors hate the angled part of folding tables as much as I do?) 

The reason why the walkways worried me was because I thought all artist alley tables had ample space on the sides to add the easel and cutout I brought. How wrong I was - what I was eyeing had been exhibitor spaces. Still, I was able to make it work!

Shoutout to the lovely @atarayii and @atega_draws!

It was interesting to take note of the demographic when the mall opened and people started coming through. When chatting with the organizer on the second day, it seems like their reason for choosing that location is to pay homage to a place with significant meaning to the local community and their culture and attempt to bring traffic to that location. Unfortunately, some vendors felt like it was at their expense, made worse by the fact that not everyone was privy to the organizer's intentions. The organizer also mentioned that they tried with advertising and could agree that it wasn't enough, but that it can be expensive.

I could sympathize with both the organizer and the upset vendors. 47% of the revenue came from people I knew. Had my friends not showed up the first day to support me, I would not have been able to break even. In fact, I was only able to make a profit of $7. Still, I was so giddy to at least break even at an event. My partner noticed that a lot of people weren't primed to purchase and weren't even looking at prices because they were never going to buy.

On the other hand, with my part-time experience at a venue dealing with rental contracts and the day of events, my perspective of these events is that it takes clear-minded project management and making the logistics come together smoothly on the day of the event. There are so many contributors that any profit made from event tickets would be divvied up.

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