Can I Sell Stuff Besides Art and Prints?

Absolutely you can! Most artist alleys allow you to sell anything you made yourself, although some restrict it to original art pieces or prints, so check the rules before you buy a table.

In fact, at some shows it seems that art and prints are in the minority! People sell all sorts of crafts:  Knitted items: hats, scarves, mittens, Pocky cozies, whatever you can think of. Sewn items: costume pieces, hats with ears on them, stuffed animals, and things like that. Do you enjoy designing and building things? Manga and anime are full of characters with oversized swords and other weapons. I’ve seen some nifty stuff built of foam and rattan and duct tape sold at cons. Keychains made out of Shrinky Dinks, by laminating small prints, or by putting small prints into acrylic keychain blanks, are easy and popular, especially because they’re inexpensive. Stickers are also a possibility, as are jewelry, bookmarks, stationery, phone charms, note cards, and anything you can think up.

Take a walk down the scrapbooking and jewelry aisles at a craft store and see if that sparks any ideas for you.

Self-published doujinshi, comics, and manga are also sold in artist alleys. And how to make and print those is a completely different tutorial, so I won’t go into that here. It’s more difficult to sell original material than fanstuff, but if you work hard at it, you can sell a decent amount.


Can I Sell Stuff Besides Art and Prints? — 3 Comments

    • I’ve seen people sell snacks like that before at cons, and sell pretty well.

      You do need to ask the convention ahead of time if you can do that, however, as the con may have a contract with the hotel for the hotel to be the exclusive supplier of food and drink.

      Which means that if you sell cupcakes and cookies and the hotel objects, you could cause a breach of contract between the convention and the hotel, and cause the convention to have to pay a great deal of money to the hotel, or not be able to come back to them. You will probably be able to get away with selling snacks at much smaller conventions than larger ones, who are more likely to have concession contracts with the hotel.

      Don’t assume that because people in the dealers’ room are selling Pocky or because there’s a maid cafe on premises that you can sell snacks. The major convention near me has all those things plus a snack bar that sells Ramune and Japanese snack food, but the convention has those exceptions written into the contract with the hotel. Anyone just setting up food sales without checking first will be shut down.

      I’m also unsure about the legalities of your area: your city, county, or state may have regulations about food handling that you might be required to work within if you’re selling it. Best to ask the convention first, at any rate, so you don’t get to the alley with all your baked goods and end up having to go home without selling anything because you didn’t realize you needed a permit or the hotel wouldn’t let you!

      • Hey Stephanie! Thanks for mentioning this.

        Many conventions sell their own food or have specific vendors selling. My local Anime con doesn’t allow food to be sold at the Artist Alley because of safety precautions, local sales laws, and that it would drive profit from their sales away. They mention this rule on the website, but you should always check if it doesn’t!

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