Tales from the Comic Box - Rookie Adventures in Buying/Selling/Cons
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I'd be a bit worried about the organizer of this show. Spelling mistakes and no floor plan indicate that they don't know what they're doing. He may do a poor job promoting this show. At least you're not risking a lot

 

I curious, for the last show did you try laying books and sets flat? What was selling? How did the table across the aisle do?

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I'd be a bit worried about the organizer of this show. Spelling mistakes and no floor plan indicate that they don't know what they're doing. He may do a poor job promoting this show. At least you're not risking a lot

 

Hey Torch,

 

The fact that I am not risking a lot is why I am doing it.

 

The LCS (of which I am a long time customer) promoted the show on their FB page at my request and I have promoted it on my own as well. People who have bought from me in the past know I will be there so I have done what I can to at least promote myself. The local newspaper also did a story about it yesterday, so they have received a bit of attention. I'm hoping the fact that it is at the local college and university might bring out some students.

 

I also flagged the spelling issues. All that stuff was done before I signed on. Identified for "next time". I also found it weird that there was no floor plan, I asked and was told that it "wouldn't be a problem"...Which is why I am going a bit early to make sure I get set up how I want.

 

While there are problems, I do hope the show is a success or very least, I make it worth my while.

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I'd be a bit worried about the organizer of this show. Spelling mistakes and no floor plan indicate that they don't know what they're doing. He may do a poor job promoting this show. At least you're not risking a lot

 

Hey Torch,

 

The fact that I am not risking a lot is why I am doing it.

 

The LCS (of which I am a long time customer) promoted the show on their FB page at my request and I have promoted it on my own as well. People who have bought from me in the past know I will be there so I have done what I can to at least promote myself. The local newspaper also did a story about it yesterday, so they have received a bit of attention. I'm hoping the fact that it is at the local college and university might bring out some students.

 

I also flagged the spelling issues. All that stuff was done before I signed on. Identified for "next time". I also found it weird that there was no floor plan, I asked and was told that it "wouldn't be a problem"...Which is why I am going a bit early to make sure I get set up how I want.

 

While there are problems, I do hope the show is a success or very least, I make it worth my while.

 

Understood, cost is low and you may do ok. We always try to support new shows, some work and some don't. Floor plan would concern me, I think you're wise to go early and possibly get first pick of booths.

 

Also keep in mind that while not ideal, poorly attended shows can be an opportunity to buy inventory from motivated dealers who haven't done well. Sometimes it's what I buy that makes a show a success.

 

I hope you do well.

Edited by thehumantorch

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I curious, for the last show did you try laying books and sets flat? What was selling? How did the table across the aisle do?

 

I did a "final report" of the last show on Page 5. The other seller ended up not showing up but he will be at this show. Here are pics of my set up from the last show:

 

set%201_zpsvyo7vcpq.jpg

 

I had magazines/treasuries/digest out and visible but I did not lay out sets. I will do that this time and will be trying to visualize how I will set up this time but kinda hard without the floor plan...

 

set%202_zpst8q5cdxw.jpg

Note: Once the show got started those boxes at the bottom were not visible. These pics were not "final final" either though as actual set up was a touch cleaner but forgot to take final pics but you get the idea.

 

I want to see if I can move some more Marvel Legends (I only have 10 left from a bit lot I purchased) so I would like to move some of those so thinking I will mingle some action figures with some sets. I am also improving the signage of my boxes.

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I'd be a bit worried about the organizer of this show. Spelling mistakes and no floor plan indicate that they don't know what they're doing. He may do a poor job promoting this show. At least you're not risking a lot

 

Hey Torch,

 

The fact that I am not risking a lot is why I am doing it.

 

The LCS (of which I am a long time customer) promoted the show on their FB page at my request and I have promoted it on my own as well. People who have bought from me in the past know I will be there so I have done what I can to at least promote myself. The local newspaper also did a story about it yesterday, so they have received a bit of attention. I'm hoping the fact that it is at the local college and university might bring out some students.

 

I also flagged the spelling issues. All that stuff was done before I signed on. Identified for "next time". I also found it weird that there was no floor plan, I asked and was told that it "wouldn't be a problem"...Which is why I am going a bit early to make sure I get set up how I want.

 

While there are problems, I do hope the show is a success or very least, I make it worth my while.

 

Understood, cost is low and you may do ok. We always try to support new shows, some work and some don't. Floor plan would concern me, I think you're wise to go early and possibly get first pick of booths.

 

Also keep in mind that while not ideal, poorly attended shows can be an opportunity to buy inventory from motivated dealers who haven't done well. Sometimes it's what I buy that makes a show a success.

 

I hope you do well.

 

Thanks Torch! The booth is only costing me $100 so not a huge risk but if it turns out to be a turd, I will take your advice and see what I can maybe score from the other dealers. I know of only one other "pure" comic dealer attending.

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Wife and I ordered in last night.

 

Delivery guy said he liked my T-Shirt (I was wearing a Captain America shirt). I said "Cool. Thanks. Do you like comics?" He said very much. So, I told him about the show. He had NO IDEA that there was a show this weekend. I think this might be a problem, people flat out not knowing but I have been promoting myself on social media. Anyway, we had a chat about comics and I gave him all the details about the show and my business card. So, hopefully he shows up and brings some friends.

 

Never stop promoting!

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Show Summary:

 

As expected, without having a floor plan in place, the booth area assigned and how they had it laid out would not have worked. My wife and I had to scramble to get it into something that would work for us. It was hectic but we got it together and I was glad that I brought another table. It ended up being a "traditional" look, but it worked.

 

Gateway1_zpsnd1obtrs.jpg

 

On the left side, 5 long boxes of pre-made sets and completed story arcs and trades. Middle row, your traditional titles and the last 5 were all $2 boxes. I had them priced at $2 each or 6 for $5. The other table that you can't really see were some toys and other collectibles and a few other sets I would switch around. Behind the table, higher end books and a few slabs.

 

I have been discussing set ups with Torch and I think the next show I do, provided I can, I am going to try to do less of a "trade show" look and do something where buyers can "walk in" and have more books on the table themselves or an area like that. As the next show I do will be my fourth showing at that other one, I feel I need to switch it up a bit.

 

There were a few issues with the show...Lack of floor plan/layout. If I do this show again, I will request a specific area and set up. Signage. No signage for parking. No signage for out of town vendors where to go to unload. Poor signage how to get to the cafeteria in the university for visitors. A few people complained to me at my booth about these things. The food service was closed. As the university is away from town, there was no real place to get food, the cafeteria could have made money. Advertising. With proper spelling on posters.

 

There was a Pokemon and Magic Tournament. A Cosplay Contest. And a variety of vendors and few clubs. I think there were two other comic vendors. I actually always had someone at my booth either just chatting or browsing so I never really got a good look at what others had to offer. The other comic vendors actually came over to me. One bought. One did not. I had several people tell me the other comic vendor prices were "out to lunch".

 

I don't want to be all down on the show though. The organizers are nice and they seem dedicated to building a community, one that brings together the anime, pokemon/magic, cosplayers, comic and video game crowd. The organizers are soliciting feedback from vendors as I think they are aware of the problems and they seem intent on correcting some of the shortcomings.

 

I was approached by an organizer of another show from out of town who was set up there to get in touch with them as they would like to have me for their show. Flattery :cloud9: Not sure if I will as it might conflict with my "regular" show.

 

I *think* they said just over 300 came through the doors. Regardless, I think if another one does proceed, I will sign on as it is local and the space was cheap and despite the problems, the organizers seem to want to do better and expand.

 

Sales report up next.

 

Edited by Wall-Crawler

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SALES REPORT

 

Lowest Single Book Sale: $2

 

Highest Single Book Sale: $40 (a few in the $35 and $25 range)

 

Largest Multiple Book Purchase: $217 (by a regular customer)

 

Top Sellers: Sets, Assorted economical books ($2 - $5 range), Magazines

 

Top Non-Movers: Anything over $40, for my demographic really wondering if even bringing a wall display is worth it but will probably continue to use it.

 

Surprise Sales: Given there was going to be an "Anime" crowd, I decided to bring some Zenescope books I had acquired in a bulk purchase. I managed to move enough for me to take notice of that.

 

Surprise Non-Sales: I thought being a "Con" that I would have sold at least one Marvel Legend action figure. Nope. I had interest, but no takers. That was disappointing. I used a lot of space to display those nicely. I am going to push to just move the final few figures on eBay.

 

Trades: I traded a few books that I really did not care about for a very nice "What If Venom Possessed Deadpool". Now just thinking of press and sub vs just selling raw for faster flip.

 

Total Sales: $801.00

Booth Costs: $100.00

 

Profit: $701.00 (well a little less if you count our Tim Hortons coffee and tea and our lunch against our profit). I have virtually no transportation costs as it is my home town. The university is about a 10 - 15 minute drive from my house.

 

Observation: I don't think I had a single sale to a Cosplayer. Not sure if that is common, but you would think people dressed up as super heroes would, you know, maybe read comics? I know this is not always the case but it was in mine.

 

Overall: Very pleased with sales results. It turned out much better than I thought. I have a local established customer base that seems to support me when I do these local shows, which helps a lot (but I do my own promotion). For new buyers, the majority were young women.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Wall-Crawler

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:hi:

 

Was this a 1 day or 2 day con (I think it was 2 but forget)

Don't get discouraged by the lack of wall books not moving (did guys ask to see them at least? maybe didn't bring coin for those types of purchases.)

Do you take cc? If not maybe look into getting square or similar (I don't do a ton via CC but have had guys drop 4 figures at our booth when we do and others don't).

What would your replacement cost be of your books you sold ($700 for 2 days isn't too bad but if your into those books for $500 all of a sudden making only $100 each day for you and the wife might not be as great as you expected), very few consider this (small margin books might look good on paper but all of a sudden a $1500 hulk 181 sale where you've only made $150 on isn't that cool if you do $2000 for the weekend including that sale.

 

Set up looks great!

Very common saying and it often holds water (of course exceptions apply) but cosplayers don't have pockets (they don't spend money).

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Sounds like a pretty successful show. $800 in sales without selling any big books at a new show is quite good.

 

Judging by your picture you have 3 tables in a U shape and not that much space inside the U so looks like a very good use of space.

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:hi:

 

Was this a 1 day or 2 day con (I think it was 2 but forget)

Don't get discouraged by the lack of wall books not moving (did guys ask to see them at least? maybe didn't bring coin for those types of purchases.)

Do you take cc? If not maybe look into getting square or similar (I don't do a ton via CC but have had guys drop 4 figures at our booth when we do and others don't).

What would your replacement cost be of your books you sold ($700 for 2 days isn't too bad but if your into those books for $500 all of a sudden making only $100 each day for you and the wife might not be as great as you expected), very few consider this (small margin books might look good on paper but all of a sudden a $1500 hulk 181 sale where you've only made $150 on isn't that cool if you do $2000 for the weekend including that sale.

 

Set up looks great!

Very common saying and it often holds water (of course exceptions apply) but cosplayers don't have pockets (they don't spend money).

 

Hey Ice,

 

It was a one day show. Sunday only.

 

Yes, the wall books do garner interest and had people ask about them and I explained the whole CGC thing. I had a few close possible sales but nadda. I even put $25 books up but I think there was a perception they were all "pricey".

 

I take cash only. I held off on a square reader due to the interest rate but I saw one retailer with one so perhaps I should reconsider. I will look into it for the next show.

 

With regards to replacement costs...Not sure if this answers the question but I purchased a very large OO collection a few years ago (don't worry, we are not talking Mile High 3 here) that has long since been paid for. I have only picked up smaller collections here and there (I live in a small town and books are very hard to come by) and those purchases are paid from my established "comic fund". If I buy a lot, money from those sales go back into my fund until it back at the established level before I count my "profit".

 

I will readily admit that I don't do as exact accounting and may not know exact replacement costs as perhaps I should, but barring some big find, when the bulk of my stock is done, there may come a day when I no longer actively sell at shows or have a decreased presence.

 

Interesting to note about Cosplayers. I don't feel as bad now. Also, as it was at a university, most sales were to young people and a surprising amount of young women. And my regulars. Without them, I would not be as successful at this.

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1 day show that is right beside you sounds like it was great then overall and if I had the same type show I would continue to do it as well!

 

I've bought a few books just to have them at the booth and with very small margins so wasn't sure if you had some stock like that or not. Of course it doesn't always have to be about pure profit (downsizing etc). Keep with the bigger books, when one of the one day show started I was one of the few that had more than 5 slabs...guys didn't know much about them or the premium of a 9.8 vs a 9.6 vs a raw nm (which I think hurt at first because they would see my price of a 9.8 slab for $100 and walk away knowing full well they could get a raw copy across the room for $10...now I have regulars looking to see what new slabs I bring. Of course some will never get it, just like they will never get why they can't buy an unrestored AF15 for guide prices...but guide this...guide that.

 

 

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Sounds like a pretty successful show. $800 in sales without selling any big books at a new show is quite good.

 

Judging by your picture you have 3 tables in a U shape and not that much space inside the U so looks like a very good use of space.

 

Thanks Torch - Yes, there was very little space...As expected, the set up was a bit of a mess at first.

 

I was pleasantly surprised with the results to be perfectly honest. I was not expecting to do that well. Again my one big sale was from a regular (the $217 sale, without him, it would have been around high $500 to low $600 for the day). I received many compliments on how the books were all in nice bags and boards (not dusty or yellowed), that my display looked good and was neatly organized and labelled and that my prices were 'very fair'. A few of my regulars reported some of the asking prices from other vendors, one in particular were very high. Example I was given via text: "Avengers Annual #1 in total mess shape for $100." I have no idea how the other comic vendors did.

 

While my wife is not a comic collector she is a huge help to me (manages cash, receipts for inventory) and I think the fact that we are laid back, will chat with whomever and are friendly helps a lot too.

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1 day show that is right beside you sounds like it was great then overall and if I had the same type show I would continue to do it as well!

 

I've bought a few books just to have them at the booth and with very small margins so wasn't sure if you had some stock like that or not. Of course it doesn't always have to be about pure profit (downsizing etc). Keep with the bigger books, when one of the one day show started I was one of the few that had more than 5 slabs...guys didn't know much about them or the premium of a 9.8 vs a 9.6 vs a raw nm (which I think hurt at first because they would see my price of a 9.8 slab for $100 and walk away knowing full well they could get a raw copy across the room for $10...now I have regulars looking to see what new slabs I bring. Of course some will never get it, just like they will never get why they can't buy an unrestored AF15 for guide prices...but guide this...guide that.

 

 

I don't know if the "big books" will ever really catch on where I am...But maybe if I keep talking about them and promoting them...Maybe? I'm fine if they don't as there is always eBay and the boards for those and I would much rather keep moving the kind of inventory I currently seem to be moving.

 

ALSO, I forgot to mention that in every persons purchase (we supply nice bags) I included my business card and a flyer for the next local antique and collectible show I am participating in April 2017.

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Sounds like a pretty successful show. $800 in sales without selling any big books at a new show is quite good.

 

Judging by your picture you have 3 tables in a U shape and not that much space inside the U so looks like a very good use of space.

 

Thanks Torch - Yes, there was very little space...As expected, the set up was a bit of a mess at first.

 

I was pleasantly surprised with the results to be perfectly honest. I was not expecting to do that well. Again my one big sale was from a regular (the $217 sale, without him, it would have been around high $500 to low $600 for the day). I received many compliments on how the books were all in nice bags and boards (not dusty or yellowed), that my display looked good and was neatly organized and labelled and that my prices were 'very fair'. A few of my regulars reported some of the asking prices from other vendors, one in particular were very high. Example I was given via text: "Avengers Annual #1 in total mess shape for $100." I have no idea how the other comic vendors did.

 

While my wife is not a comic collector she is a huge help to me (manages cash, receipts for inventory) and I think the fact that we are laid back, will chat with whomever and are friendly helps a lot too.

 

Some guys try to double their money on keys. The reality is that it's difficult to find margin on keys. Quality collections rarely come along for cheap, it's too easy to look up prices for keys and it isn't difficult to sell them.

 

When retailers are selling large TVs or automobiles they make very little on those items but look to make their profit on video cables or servicing or special warranted plans. I use that model for comic sales, aim for 10% above replacement cost for keys and look for margin on cheaper items.

 

I'd recommend Square. It will cost you about 3% but you will get sales that you wouldn't get if you didn't take credit cards. They send you the money quickly and it's easy to track transactions.

 

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Sounds like a pretty successful show. $800 in sales without selling any big books at a new show is quite good.

 

Judging by your picture you have 3 tables in a U shape and not that much space inside the U so looks like a very good use of space.

 

Thanks Torch - Yes, there was very little space...As expected, the set up was a bit of a mess at first.

 

I was pleasantly surprised with the results to be perfectly honest. I was not expecting to do that well. Again my one big sale was from a regular (the $217 sale, without him, it would have been around high $500 to low $600 for the day). I received many compliments on how the books were all in nice bags and boards (not dusty or yellowed), that my display looked good and was neatly organized and labelled and that my prices were 'very fair'. A few of my regulars reported some of the asking prices from other vendors, one in particular were very high. Example I was given via text: "Avengers Annual #1 in total mess shape for $100." I have no idea how the other comic vendors did.

 

While my wife is not a comic collector she is a huge help to me (manages cash, receipts for inventory) and I think the fact that we are laid back, will chat with whomever and are friendly helps a lot too.

 

Some guys try to double their money on keys. The reality is that it's difficult to find margin on keys. Quality collections rarely come along for cheap, it's too easy to look up prices for keys and it isn't difficult to sell them.

 

When retailers are selling large TVs or automobiles they make very little on those items but look to make their profit on video cables or servicing or special warranted plans. I use that model for comic sales, aim for 10% above replacement cost for keys and look for margin on cheaper items.

 

I'd recommend Square. It will cost you about 3% but you will get sales that you wouldn't get if you didn't take credit cards. They send you the money quickly and it's easy to track transactions.

 

I will definitely look into Square. I thought it was more than 3% for some reason...

 

As for keys, I get it as believe me, for me to find them they are very, very difficult to obtain (and when I do I usually like to hold onto them for personal collection but that is another problem for another day lol ) but some though are priced out in the stratosphere. I totally understand needing margins but for some those have to be some damn big margins. I think we all know about making a buck by why hold onto the same stuff, show after show after show?

 

I should say though that for graded books, if I sell in CDN, I am using conversion rates. Say if 90 day GPA is $100, well then I am selling for $140-$150 CDN.

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Square is great. Its like 2.9% for a swipe and if you (like I have on several occasions, forgot the free card reader) its like 3.3%. As Dave said money gets into your account stupid fast. I've done a con on the weekend and had it in my account 10am on Monday.

 

I see no issue with pricing that way or for raws either. If a book is trending right around the $50 USD price, I wouldn't be shocked to see it for sale here for $65. No need to worry about shipping, duties, taxes and you can hold the thing in your hand first before buying :banana:

Edited by iceman399

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Square is great. Its like 2.9% for a swipe and if you (like I have on several occasions, forgot the free card reader) its like 3.3%. As Dave said money gets into your account stupid fast. I've done a con on the weekend and had it in my account 10am on Monday.

 

I see no issue with pricing that way or for raws either. If a book is trending right around the $50 USD price, I wouldn't be shocked to see it for sale here for $65. No need to worry about shipping, duties, taxes and you can hold the thing in your hand first before buying :banana:

 

Brian/500club brought a square reader to a Calgary Expo a ways back to try it out. Think we had over 200 transactions on it that show alone, we were sold. And yes, buyers can sometimes go to the ATM, but once they get out of your booth their wife or husband or buddy may talk them out of it, or the ATM may be out of cash, or there's a big lineup or ..... and the sale isn't.

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