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Tales from the Comic Box: Rookie Adventures in Buying/Selling & Setting Up at Shows

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Wall-Crawler

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Adventures and musings about Buying, Selling and setting up at Conventions and Shows

I participated in my first ever show last October. You can read about it here: http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=8903742#Post8903742

I was pleased with my sales, it was an excellent learning experience and most importantly, I had a great time. I must have did "ok" as I was invited back by the show organizers.

In my town, there use to be a larger two day Antique Show, but with the sale of the local Legion (where that event was held), the Antique Show organizers asked the organizers of the Collectibles Show to "take over"...I think this is a good thing, merging the two shows.

The first show under the new 'brand' is scheduled for Sunday, April 17th, 2016. Moving forward, the plan is to have a regular two day show in October.

For as long as there is some degree of interest I will share my experiences, good and bad. I also look forward to any new comments and tips from more seasoned sellers. Thanks for your interest!

Thanks for reading!

To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

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On 1/29/2019 at 5:29 PM, thehumantorch said:

Pull UFO signed a lot, will check books I have with his signature to see if they match

:baiting:

lol

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27 minutes ago, Wall-Crawler said:

I would be furious over him owing $700 - Says a lot about the guy.

Sadly, I guess it is true, when money gets involved for some people, you really never can tell.  I really appreciate the advice and even though I have been going there for a long time, best to make whatever arrangement as "iron clad" as it can be but I am thinking if I do go for it, I might just set up my cheapie bins.  We shall see and as always, I do appreciate the advice/insight.

If the rent on the table is reasonable to you do it.  Start with cheaper items and see how it goes.  You're very good at presentation and organization so I know you'll make it look good.  This could lead to a further collaborations or god knows part owner of the store if it works and these guys want a better representation of back issues and your expertise.  

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10 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

If the rent on the table is reasonable to you do it.  Start with cheaper items and see how it goes.  You're very good at presentation and organization so I know you'll make it look good.  This could lead to a further collaborations or god knows part owner of the store if it works and these guys want a better representation of back issues and your expertise.  

I think he said $100 a month...Which seems a bit on the steep side to me?

I will have to talk more to him about it, from everything discussed here to actually how much room I would have to work with.  I appreciate the comments about my presentation and organization :)

I have known the owner since I was a teen and we have a very good relationship but I'm not sure if it would ever lead to further collaborations, but I do think a spin off benefit could be if I left my card/contact info in the store at my "booth" it could potentially lead to finding some new collections.

Edited by Wall-Crawler

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50 minutes ago, thehumantorch said:

$100 a month is dirt cheap.  I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I know it may sound good but I am not sure the clientele would buy in but then again their back issue bins been pretty much same forever so there may be opportunity. Maybe I will try to negotiate lower rate and if it does we can increase fee or something. Like maybe first 3 months reduced rate and then reevaluate. 

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I’d do it at $100.  Put in some $2 to $5 books.  Even $1 books.  Should be easy to make money.  You’re talking $3 a day to display up to 9 longs of product

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13 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

I’d do it at $100.  Put in some $2 to $5 books.  Even $1 books.  Should be easy to make money.  You’re talking $3 a day to display up to 9 longs of product

Yeah, perhaps you are right. I'll chat with the owner and figure out how much space I have and the logistics, etc.

Plus some of my regulars would be able to buy from me year round, not just shows so that may also help if they know I have a little year-round mini booth...

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Hi guys, somehow I've missed this thread....

I think it sounds like a box of 'cheapies' is really the only way to approach this, the consignment deal is wrought with a number of reasons:

1) A store that appears profitable and well-run can change quickly and suddenly over time; the largest established LCS here in Ottawa is in financial distress (three locations, two of them being comic shops) has a large consignment collection for sale.  There isn't a lot of big books there, but there's a ton of books priced in the double digits, several hundred at least....I doubt the owner will be getting all of those books back!

2) Knowing a guy that seems decent is not really any type of added security.  As THT pointed out with his partner; I also got ripped off a year ago shipping comics to a dealer (low amount) that I had known for over 20 years - he ran the local LCS that I visited as a kid!  It was a small amount, but the principle of it really, really pissed me off. 

...why I think a longbox of cheapies is the only way to go.  I don't know if it's the stigma of LCS being expensive for back issues, but I don't know many people that shop or look to shop there for those type of comics.  Also, I find that being in a retail setting, LCS do better moving books at prices ($2/$3/$5,etc.) than I would have at shows at those same prices.  So if you can get 2-3 $1 longs, 2-3 $2 books, 2-3 $3 books and one $5 box you should be able to move $3-400 in inventory with just the minor additional operating costs of stocking the boxes maybe twice a month?  Not really additional work needed and you probably already have buyers lined-up like you suggested.....factor in maybe 5-10% of this cannabalizing some of your existing sales and theft/damage and you're still doing well!  

Edited by spreads

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11 hours ago, spreads said:

Hi guys, somehow I've missed this thread....

I think it sounds like a box of 'cheapies' is really the only way to approach this, the consignment deal is wrought with a number of reasons:

1) A store that appears profitable and well-run can change quickly and suddenly over time; the largest established LCS here in Ottawa is in financial distress (three locations, two of them being comic shops) has a large consignment collection for sale.  There isn't a lot of big books there, but there's a ton of books priced in the double digits, several hundred at least....I doubt the owner will be getting all of those books back!

2) Knowing a guy that seems decent is not really any type of added security.  As THT pointed out with his partner; I also got ripped off a year ago shipping comics to a dealer (low amount) that I had known for over 20 years - he ran the local LCS that I visited as a kid!  It was a small amount, but the principle of it really, really pissed me off. 

...why I think a longbox of cheapies is the only way to go.  I don't know if it's the stigma of LCS being expensive for back issues, but I don't know many people that shop or look to shop there for those type of comics.  Also, I find that being in a retail setting, LCS do better moving books at prices ($2/$3/$5,etc.) than I would have at shows at those same prices.  So if you can get 2-3 $1 longs, 2-3 $2 books, 2-3 $3 books and one $5 box you should be able to move $3-400 in inventory with just the minor additional operating costs of stocking the boxes maybe twice a month?  Not really additional work needed and you probably already have buyers lined-up like you suggested.....factor in maybe 5-10% of this cannabalizing some of your existing sales and theft/damage and you're still doing well!  

Agreed, safest to start with cheaper books and see how it goes.  I'd toss in a few minor keys, especially if I had multiple copies, just explore the idea and to get a little price variety.

I'll be in Ottawa for training with the Federal Government this summer.  Any stores I should visit for back issues?

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23 hours ago, spreads said:

Hi guys, somehow I've missed this thread....

I think it sounds like a box of 'cheapies' is really the only way to approach this, the consignment deal is wrought with a number of reasons:

1) A store that appears profitable and well-run can change quickly and suddenly over time; the largest established LCS here in Ottawa is in financial distress (three locations, two of them being comic shops) has a large consignment collection for sale.  There isn't a lot of big books there, but there's a ton of books priced in the double digits, several hundred at least....I doubt the owner will be getting all of those books back!

2) Knowing a guy that seems decent is not really any type of added security.  As THT pointed out with his partner; I also got ripped off a year ago shipping comics to a dealer (low amount) that I had known for over 20 years - he ran the local LCS that I visited as a kid!  It was a small amount, but the principle of it really, really pissed me off. 

...why I think a longbox of cheapies is the only way to go.  I don't know if it's the stigma of LCS being expensive for back issues, but I don't know many people that shop or look to shop there for those type of comics.  Also, I find that being in a retail setting, LCS do better moving books at prices ($2/$3/$5,etc.) than I would have at shows at those same prices.  So if you can get 2-3 $1 longs, 2-3 $2 books, 2-3 $3 books and one $5 box you should be able to move $3-400 in inventory with just the minor additional operating costs of stocking the boxes maybe twice a month?  Not really additional work needed and you probably already have buyers lined-up like you suggested.....factor in maybe 5-10% of this cannabalizing some of your existing sales and theft/damage and you're still doing well!  

I am still on the fence about doing it. I do know though, if I do put anything there, I would not put high value books out there.  A mix of cheapies and a few nice books but that is it. Reasons for being on the fence:

A) Time. I have been so busy with work and other things, I have not yet had the time to put any boxes together and what little time I do have, I have been working on adding more books to my eBay store and running some auctions.  I also have two shows coming up in late April and early June.

B)  Space. The store is open at its new location, while a definite improvement, my area would be all the way at the back of the store, at the end where there is virtually no incentive to go all the way back. It is a simple 5" table. I figure I could get about 6 long boxes on there. I'm not keen on putting boxes underneath on the floor even though I would be allowed. 

C)  Stock location.  98% of my stock, I keep offsite from my home, about 35 minutes away.  Depending on how sales go, it would be difficult to ensure new product is always there and priced.  My time considerations are also a factor in this.

D) Another employee of the store will be setting up a small table there as well. Little concerned that our tables might "cannibalize" each other should I set up too.  The one other thing is that they say for my "rent" I can also use a back room to help facilitate deals with people who want to sell a collection, etc.  The other minor quibble is, they know I buy and sell but whenever there is a walk in they have only ever call the other/former employee, never me.  Which is fine, but do I ask, if I am paying xx in rent, should I also not at least get a "fair shake" at walk ins?  Because really, the ability to use a back room for deals doesn't really help me as I have never had a problem (except for crazy army guy from awhile ago).

Anyway, I am not rushing into it, when and if I have time, I might try it for a 3 month trial to see how it goes and if I do, I will likely just set up cheap bins, like$1,  $2 for $5 or something along those lines, nothing super "valuable" as other suggested but a few neat books though, etc.

Edited by Wall-Crawler

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You bring up some good points, the most obvious being not being able to quickly restock.  It does also seem odd you don't have an autonomous relationship with this owner, the other employee setting-up and then the existing relationship with a different buyer?  I think you're well within your rights to request a shot at collections that stroll in; do you know if the owner asked this competing collection buyer a table like what you've been offered? 

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2 hours ago, spreads said:

It does also seem odd you don't have an autonomous relationship with this owner, the other employee setting-up and then the existing relationship with a different buyer?

Not quite sure I follow this...

Maybe I didn't explain it well enough...The owner has two 5" tables available for rent.

One spot was offered to me, the other to a former employee who has a long standing relationship with the owner (far longer than me). 

2 hours ago, spreads said:

do you know if the owner asked this competing collection buyer a table like what you've been offered? 

As stated above, yes. He will have a table set up.  

As for why the other guy gets the call when collections come in, he has known the owner longer, basically, closer relationship. I'm not annoyed with that (at least not anymore lol), just if I am now paying for a table and allowed to do deals there as part of it, kind of muddies things? Regardless, I stopped really caring long ago being passed over with walk ins. The owner doesn't buy collections and owner/other clerks are well within his rights to send leads to whomever they want.

I'll just keep working my contacts, setting up at local shows, etc. and hope better things come my way this year but even still, I have still have stuff to sell, not like I have zero inventory :) 

On a selling note, I have bumped up my eBay store (up to 70+ items so far) and seeing good results already. My last Zenescope themed auction did great and I have already sold one slab, offers on a few others and a set or two, sold a few variants, so I may just work more on building my eBay store. Even if I only add a few books here and there, gets them out there so to speak.

 

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7 hours ago, Wall-Crawler said:


 

Not quite sure I follow this...

Maybe I didn't explain it well enough...The owner has two 5" tables available for rent.

One spot was offered to me, the other to a former employee who has a long standing relationship with the owner (far longer than me). 

As stated above, yes. He will have a table set up.  

As for why the other guy gets the call when collections come in, he has known the owner longer, basically, closer relationship. I'm not annoyed with that (at least not anymore lol), just if I am now paying for a table and allowed to do deals there as part of it, kind of muddies things? Regardless, I stopped really caring long ago being passed over with walk ins. The owner doesn't buy collections and owner/other clerks are well within his rights to send leads to whomever they want.

I'll just keep working my contacts, setting up at local shows, etc. and hope better things come my way this year but even still, I have still have stuff to sell, not like I have zero inventory :) 

On a selling note, I have bumped up my eBay store (up to 70+ items so far) and seeing good results already. My last Zenescope themed auction did great and I have already sold one slab, offers on a few others and a set or two, sold a few variants, so I may just work more on building my eBay store. Even if I only add a few books here and there, gets them out there so to speak.

 

Link to your ebay store ?

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18 hours ago, Wall-Crawler said:


 

Not quite sure I follow this...

Maybe I didn't explain it well enough...The owner has two 5" tables available for rent.

One spot was offered to me, the other to a former employee who has a long standing relationship with the owner (far longer than me). 

As stated above, yes. He will have a table set up.  

As for why the other guy gets the call when collections come in, he has known the owner longer, basically, closer relationship. I'm not annoyed with that (at least not anymore lol), just if I am now paying for a table and allowed to do deals there as part of it, kind of muddies things? Regardless, I stopped really caring long ago being passed over with walk ins. The owner doesn't buy collections and owner/other clerks are well within his rights to send leads to whomever they want.

I'll just keep working my contacts, setting up at local shows, etc. and hope better things come my way this year but even still, I have still have stuff to sell, not like I have zero inventory :) 

On a selling note, I have bumped up my eBay store (up to 70+ items so far) and seeing good results already. My last Zenescope themed auction did great and I have already sold one slab, offers on a few others and a set or two, sold a few variants, so I may just work more on building my eBay store. Even if I only add a few books here and there, gets them out there so to speak.

 

Thanks for clarifying, sorry if I wasn't clear in my previous responses I had a combined 7 hours sleep over the last three days (new born girl!).  I wanted to mention that Zenescope does have a strong cult following and things like those prints would best be served moving online.  Ebay is definitely worthwhile, I'm in the same boat - sitting with an average 45-50 listings for sale - not maximizing my store enough....increasing those auctions are one of those 'to do' list items but I am getting close to being caught-up in my personal comics and dealer obligations so maybe I'll work on that.  

I have stolen your idea of using store connections and worked-out a deal with one of the local shops in town, I make it a point of telling everyone when I give them a business card that I offer referrals....you gotta hit the pavement! ;) 

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On 2/25/2019 at 5:02 AM, thehumantorch said:

Link to your ebay store ?

https://www.ebay.com/str/morefuncomicsemporium

I have sold more items this week :banana:, so only 80 there now...I am definitely going to keep adding items. Ideally, I think I would like to have 150 items up at all times but minimally 100 books and items.

Recent sales:  Zenescope exclusive variant 20 book set, complete set of Nova #1 - #25 and just sold a Ms. Marvel #16 and #17 set.

I have some books from CGC due back on Thursday, hope to have most of those up on Monday.

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On 2/25/2019 at 4:47 PM, spreads said:

I have stolen your idea of using store connections and worked-out a deal with one of the local shops in town

What's my cut going to be?

lol

Edited by Wall-Crawler

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2 minutes ago, Wall-Crawler said:

What's my cut going to be?

lol

You get first crack on every collection I pass up!

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On another note, applications are due for Sudbury Graphic-Con, the largest con I do.

There was some concern that the show may not happen this year due to some realignment.  The show began as a small event put together by the local library but to allow the event to continue to grow, the library is stepping back as the facilitator and a new, not-for-profit organization made up of previous staff and contributors will now oversee the event.  Laying the foundation for this transition took some time, so news and applications were a little late to come out, but it is happening.

New website: https://graphiccon.ca/

I subbed my application last week and again, hoping for a "premium booth" which is basically two 8 foot tables, so 16 x 10.  They are limited, so :wishluck:

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On ‎3‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 7:27 AM, FineCollector said:

Nope!

Hey, how did you get in here?!  The parkdale market isn't that bad....we're both very familiar with the guy running it.  ;) 

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6 hours ago, spreads said:
On 3/5/2019 at 5:27 AM, FineCollector said:

Nope!

Hey, how did you get in here?!  The parkdale market isn't that bad....we're both very familiar with the guy running it.  ;) 

hm

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There isnt any place in Ottawa for back issues that I'd recommend.  Plenty to rifle through near Parkdale, but not much to buy.  Most of what's there is clearance of boxes by a guy who bought indiscriminately, but seemed to have a knack for buying frustratingly low grade.  I'd rather send you down to Brockville an hour away, but the place is only open Saturdays.

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11 minutes ago, FineCollector said:

There isnt any place in Ottawa for back issues that I'd recommend.  Plenty to rifle through near Parkdale, but not much to buy.  Most of what's there is clearance of boxes by a guy who bought indiscriminately, but seemed to have a knack for buying frustratingly low grade.  I'd rather send you down to Brockville an hour away, but the place is only open Saturdays.

Perhaps I'll have to settle for dinner or a beer with some Ottawa boardies... :shy:

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