Clovercon is a small anime convention great for both new and veteran attendees. Like last year and the years previous, the 2018 convention took place in the 4-H Center in Somerset New Jersey. I attended as a vendor in artist alley. I started vending in January and although I’m newer to the vending scene, each event teaches me more tips on how to improve my small business. For those in the area who are thinking about vending at Clovercon, I put together a review of my experience!
Pre-Arrival: I left a bit later than expected, in part because I wore cosplay. I picked up some snacks and was good to go! The ride there was so-so due to some technical difficulties with technology. Usually my GPS takes us on a certain route, but this time around, it made us take a turnpike. Although the ride was a bit stressful on my way there as a result of my finicky GPS, things improved a bit when we checked in. Clovercon included directions to the location via Google Maps on their website and that made the ride a bit easier.
Check in: Check in was a breeze. I entered in through the back of the 4-H building and came in, my table located conveniently close by. I checked in with a staff member, who wrote down that I had arrived and set up. Before the event started, one staff member who was possibly the 4-H head, thanked me for vending and was very lively and sweet!
Attendance: People slowly began to filter in. At first, the day went a little slow, but business got a little bit steadier! Most of my sales took place during the start of the day and overtime, things slowed down.
I noticed attendance was visibly lower this year, possibly in part due to Castlepoint being on the same weekend, as well as the rainy weather being a factor. Either way, attendees had a lot of energy as well as kindness to spread around–many people at the con were younger, most likely high school and middle school students. I also saw a few kids in cosplay along with their parents, as well!
Pros: Clovercon staff made the check in process as smooth as possible. The tables included two chairs and were very spacious and had plenty of wiggle room! People came around every so often to tables, especially towards the end of the event, and asked if we wanted anything to eat. When I signed up for the table back in the winter, the artist alley staff were able to accommodate my requests for an end space with an outlet and gave me a map with my location a week prior to the event as promised. The cost for the table was also very affordable, making it easy to break even. I left breaking more than even and was happy to have additional funds to support my next upcoming con, AnimeNext!
The Cons: I find that temperature is a bit hurdle at many conventions. The room had a fan towards the back, but it was still super hot! Wi-fi and cell service also was a little poor, which made it a little challenging for vendors to take card transactions through phone apps such as Square. Business really slowed down as the day progressed because there were not as many panels going on. The main stage was also close to a few people’s booths at sometimes con attendees blocked booths without meaning to.
Overall: If you are in the area and interested in trying out vending, this con would be a good fit! It’s a one day con and with the affordable table price, it’s a nice starting point. Though it may be good to double check to see if other events are taking place the same weekend because that may affect attendance for Clovercon.