(Mostly) Stress-Free Artist Alley

Con season is upon us once again with my first convention in just a week’s time, so I’m doing what I usually do; procrastinating. But fear not other convention artists because you can benefit from my lack of preparedness. Here’s a list of things it’s helpful or necessary to have with you and make sure you’ve done. If you can tick everything off it sets you in pretty good stead for a (mostly) stress-free con!


-read through all your emails again! Look for things such as booking numbers, online tickets and rules and regulations, some conventions need you to have public liability insurance in place for the event.

- transport make sure you have your tickets and know what times you have to be there, if you’re driving remember to make sure you know your route. Nothing is worse than getting lost on your way there! Have a look at the building you’re going to as well, sometimes you’ll be using a different door than the front.

-snacks unless you’re a robot you’ll probably want at least a few bottles of water and some snacks. I prefer bottles to cans or cups because they can’t be spilled as easily. Remember you might not get a chance to leave your table so make sure you can put food down easily if you need to serve customers

-luggage how are you going to get your products there? I normally bring a wheely case but I quite often struggle to lift it so pack as light as you can if there’s stairs or a long way to walk

Money stuff!

-float you can almost guarantee the first person at your table will want to buy a £1 sticker with a £20. A couple of £10s, a few £5s and quite a few £1s works for me since all my prices are rounded to the £1. If you’re selling things at 80p though bring 20ps, if you’re selling for £9.99 bring 1ps!

-money storage I use a money box but a lot of dealers swear by kidney belts because they’re a lot harder to steal.

-elastic bands to wrap up those sweet, sweet notes

-inventory list a list of all your stock so you can record sales. It makes things easier when you’re doing your tax return too!

-(optional) card reader. I don’t have one of these yet. Most people will carry cash at smaller conventions but you might want to get one for larger cons

Display stuff!

This varies a lot but try a test run of your display well before the convention in case you need to make changes

-table cover some conventions require you to cover the table, I always bring one so I can make things more colourful

- display racks, shelves and frames and a way to hang everything up like clips, sellotape or magnets

-sellotape and scissors (just in case)

-if you’re selling jewellery some people like to bring their own lighting, if you’re doing this make sure it’s PAT tested and maybe bring an extension lead

Art Stuff!

-packaging cello bags, paper bags, boxes, make sure your customers can get their purchase home in one piece!

-business cards let people know who you are!

-signage let people know your prices, a lot of the time they’ll ask anyway

-supplies if you're doing on-the-spot commissions remember everything you might need for those, and bring backups! I have lost my only pencil halfway through the day before.

-things to sell you did remember to bring that right?

Phew! Is that about it? And don’t worry, the dreams where you turn up to sell things and have forgotten everything are totally normal.

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