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Author Topic: Fair Recap from Fair Staff  (Read 7582 times)

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Offline SweetTune

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Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« on: July 14, 2016, 10:05:04 PM »
First, let me say that the attendees, panels, presentations, and artwork were, in my opinion the best yet. I'm so thankful for the amazing group of people that came together to make 2016 happen. It iis truly a community effort!

I've received feedback from vendors stating that they felt the vendor room was tight and their sales were down compared with last year. Fair store sales were also down compaired to last year. The smaller vendor space forced us into setting limitations in regards to attendance and in a way, I'm glad it did. It made us really consider what the Fair was, is, and will be in the future.

 With that in mind, we've decided to continue to keep the Fair more collector centric, which means 1000 attendance max. Anything more is unsustainable. More people cost more money and cause more issues for Fair Staff. We are all in this on a volunteer basis (although I heard rumors about how much $ the Fair makes  and pays the staff each year, which is pretty funny :D ) We went huge in 2015, but received no extra support from Hasbro or licensees as a result  (although we continue to be grateful for the support we are shown!) If vendors need volume and to attend solely for profit potential, there are larger Brony centric events that would fit that need. We are refocusing our event to allow those that collect to provide MLP toys, merch, and artwork to other collectors. We are also considering taking applications for vendors to make sure they fit this vision. In turn, we are considering both reducing the cost of tables and placing a limit on the number of tables individuals may purchase to encourage more collectors to participate rather than dealers. I imagine that this will create some waves, but without reevaluating the vision for our event, we would have likely gone the way of a glorified selling floor.

We definitely appreciate our vendors and what each one brings to the event, but we need to look at the whole picture to ensure the longevity of the event.

I thought it best to address this issue here so everyone can read and discuss if necessary.

To those who have attended, bought, sold, traded, presented, or participated in any aspect of this year's Fair or a past Fair event, Thank You!

Summer

[sticky - 15.07.16 ~ hathorcat]
« Last Edit: July 17, 2016, 03:19:18 PM by hathorcat »

Offline Brightglowpony

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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2016, 10:31:57 PM »
A big THANK YOU to you and all of the staff for making this awesome event happen each year!  Even with the smaller space, I loved that this year was more collector centric and am looking forward to what the future holds for the fair!  :D
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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2016, 10:41:45 PM »
This was my first fair and it was pretty great! You guys did an amazing job!!

My only comment is possibly offering more educational panels. I LOVED the panels on Lil Litters with you and Mlp Whitney, and the Merchandise panel. It would be awesome to see more of these in the future :)
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Offline lunar_scythe

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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2016, 01:23:46 AM »
Awesome to hear (read?) that, I've missed the days when i could have a table *and* see at least some of the events going on, and it sounds like you're moving back toward that type of thing. :)

I bet it'll be a LOT less of a headache for you guys, too, and maybe you'll get to see more of the fair you spend so much work creating. :)
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Offline Elfpony

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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2016, 02:14:41 AM »
Once again, a huge thank you to the Fair volunteers who make this event happen. Living with a professional event planner, I have some idea of just how insane getting an event like this off the ground is.

I'm optimistic for next year and hope the changes you're implementing will help keep the Fair the unique experience that it has been in the past. If there's anything I can do to help, please don't hesitate to ask!

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Offline Applejackgirl

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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2016, 02:35:13 AM »
Dear Summer and Fair staff,

Thank you!  This year marks seven years of MLP Fair goodness for me and to that I am sincerely grateful. To have a venue to connect and reconnect with folks of all kinds to share a positive passion and bathe in nostalgia is one of my favorite things.  My life would not be as fun without my annual fair to look forward to.

I am grateful too for this thread to discuss what seemed like an elephant in the vendor room.  We are such a close knit community its hard to discuss this without getting some feathers ruffled but I think its a good conversation to have. 

I lost my job I think it was the week that the tickets went on sale.  I thought, I have about 50 tubs of ponies and merchandise, it would probably be wise to try to sell some things to help myself stay solvent.  I don't think that makes me less of a collector or someone with questionable motivations.  People put in a lot of time, money, and travel into this convention and have certain expectations and I think that if it were known in advance that the attendance and space were going to be half or less of the previous year's, folks would have planned accordingly.  I remember the feeling last year was hurrah we are growing, let's keep it up and then suddenly its the opposite.  I know I was not the only one caught off guard.  Most vendors that stopped by my tables asked how my sales were because they were having issues and wanted to know if it was the norm.  My feeling is that if the vision for this year would have been communicated in advance it would have been helpful, at least to me personally.  I do remember a post somewhere that the rooms had been changed up, but seeing as I was never in the game room last year I had no idea what the changes meant for me or the event.  Lesson learned.

Lastly, I am glad that the fair will continue and the intentions with the event's future are now well known.  I hope circumstances will allow for my family and friends to visit next year and it will prove to be a happy and successful event for all involved. 

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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2016, 03:06:28 AM »
As someone who plans on going to a Fair sometime in the future...I would appreciate it being more collectors and lovers of ponies more than vendors who are *just* there to sell without the same affection and appreciation. Just my two cents. :) :heart:
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Offline Roogna

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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2016, 03:54:25 AM »
As someone who plans on going to a Fair sometime in the future...I would appreciate it being more collectors and lovers of ponies more than vendors who are *just* there to sell without the same affection and appreciation. Just my two cents. :) :heart:

I don't think *any* of the vendors are there *just* to sell without the affection for ponies, especially the older gens!
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Offline aintnobuffalo

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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2016, 05:17:51 AM »
As someone who plans on going to a Fair sometime in the future...I would appreciate it being more collectors and lovers of ponies more than vendors who are *just* there to sell without the same affection and appreciation. Just my two cents. :) :heart:

I don't think *any* of the vendors are there *just* to sell without the affection for ponies, especially the older gens!

I agree that all the vendors had a love for ponies, and I don't think anyone seemed like they weren't collectors. I don't think any of the booths would have thrived at Brony only events other than perhaps some art booths due to the variety of generations, so I don't know that is it fair to say anyone who had trouble with change in the fair goals could just go to those events. Collectors who sell need to make some kind of profit. It's so amazing that the fair is built off volunteers! But I worry asking vendors to step into that territory will make vendors not attend; not that they would be volunteers completely, but they would be giving their time, efforts, and collection with potentially just enough to cover their expensives. I really hope the art booths and the comic artist did OK, because I would hate not see those at future events, and I worry the new goal could at least drive those away if it doesn't make the other vendors reconsider.

I also feel the panels and art were really stepped up this year! I enjoyed them so much!
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Offline ashlyne

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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2016, 01:17:08 PM »
I met vendors who actually did very well this year, so not everyone's sales were down. I think that's important to mention ;)

I didn't have tables this year, but I was a vendor from 2007-2015. I've seen the Fair at many stages and sizes. I actually did very well when the Fair was "small".    If last year was the largest the Fair has been, then it was also year my sales did the poorest.  The year before that was also down from previous years.  My best year was the one in Vegas, and it was very poorly attended and unorganized (before Summer). So in my experience, attendance numbers do not always equal good sales.   

I realized early this year that the quantity and quality of what I have in my sales bin wasn't going to do well so I decided to just be an attendee and enjoy the sales floor as a buyer for the first time (which I REALLY enjoyed!)   There's definitely a balance -- yes, you do need a decent attendance and interested buyers, but sellers may not have what people are looking for at prices they're willing to pay.  The collector's market is fickle and hard to keep up with.  I'm not saying there weren't some FANTASTIC deals and great ponies to be had this year (I think my bank account broke *lol*)  I'm just saying there *could* be more factors contributing to some sales being down.   

I'm happy about the change of direction in the Fair going back to being more collector-focused. I know the Fair Staff wasn't expecting the vendor room situation and I don't think that's going be the norm.   I definitely support less expensive tables (also a deciding factor in why I didn't vend this year), and hope that the table limit they're considering still meets my needs  ;)  The vendor application idea doesn't bother me and I think it could be a good thing.

A VERY BIG THANKS to Summer and the hardworking staff. It's incredible you pulled it off this year considering all the obstacles you had to get through!   This has been my favorite year, primarily because of the people I met for the first time and those I got to see again. If the Fair continues to focus on that aspect, I think it'll continue to be great!
« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 03:28:49 PM by ashlyne »

Offline LadySatine

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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2016, 02:58:26 PM »
Thank you fair staff for holding a great fair!

While my custom sales were down, my spirits were up. I really enjoyed the time I spent with old and new friends. I was bummed that I pretty much broke even, but again, the friendships made up for that. :heart:

Offline Gypsydancer

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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2016, 03:06:56 PM »
I have been to 3 fairs so far and I have to say each is a different experience. I went to the 2011 in RI, 2015 and 2016.

Last year's fair was at the same place but with a much larger vendor area. This was good and was also bad as it meant it was harder to re-locate something you may have wanted to buy after your first go-round. It would have been nice to have that room again but I know it was not available this year.

That being said the vendor room this year was cramped! The aisles were very narrow and I do not think accommodated those with mobility issues or those who include their young children and use strollers. I think part of the issue is the use of space.  When tubs of ponies and other things are on the floor or halfway in the aisle it makes an even smaller area feel more narrow. Let alone when you *just know* someone will have to stoop or plop themselves down to dig through (I am guilty- there could be good stuff hiding in there!).

Perhaps something to consider for the next time would be rules on blocking or narrowing the aisles to help the flow of traffic. That or perhaps looking into a way that vendors could rent hanging walls with peg hooks or something similar so they can use the vertical space better instead of the floor space. I say rentals because many travel by plane and having to haul all of that additional material may be costly and cumbersome. I know vendors can only carry so much and can only work with what they've got.

I do also agree with someone who mentioned that the smaller space does not have a direct correlation with sales. In my opinion, some items were overpriced (I am a patient collector and I have a strict cap on my pony purchases and how much I am willing to spend). With less vendors there is less of a possibility of finding the same item at another booth for a price you may be willing to pay. There were several items I would have loved to take home with me but not for the prices offered.

I enjoyed the guest speaker panels and the panel about the Lil Litters (sadly I could not attend the merch one) and would love to see panels on Dream Beauties, Petites, Mummy Charms or just plain Mail Orders (like differences between Mail order CP and regular etc). Also, the Painting Session with Affair with Art was great. It would be nice to see a session that offers how to draw, paint, etc in the future again!

Putting on a fair is a huge undertaking and I appreciate the effort, time and mental stress put on everyone who organized, participated and was a vendor there. I look forward to seeing the same faces next year and trust that Summer and the fair staff will always do their best to make the fair a pleasant and fun experience.
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Offline Roogna

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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2016, 04:01:08 PM »
GypsyDancer - I did a presentation on Petites a couple years ago. I have new information to add to it since then, so if there's enough interest I could dust it off for a future Fair ;)

Applejackgirl - I agree. There were definitely expectations on space and attendance that factored into vendor planning.

Aintnobuffalo - I agree! Many of the vendors had mostly vintage ponies for sale, so I'm not sure why telling them to go to a Brony con is the answer. There is also a difference between a collector /hobbyist being a vendor and *hoping* to cover one's expenses and being a "dealer" (which is usually used more for a for-profit business). I thought we were already collector-focused to "allow those that collect to provide MLP toys, merch, and artwork to other collectors"...? I was enjoying the growth, which really supported adding things like panels, presentations, special guests, etc. and I hope those won't be impacted!

I'm glad to hear not everyone had poor sales!! Everyone I talked to was suffering and the vibe on Sunday was downright depressed and disheartened in the vendor room (from vendors AND non-vendors). I tried to keep in mind that there were a LOT of big ticket (ie expensive) rare items / ponies and nirvana this year - on which I spent plenty myself lol :P And there's different stuff every year. There's always a mix of great deals and overpriced as well - that's pretty normal for the Fair and cons in general. ;) For some things it's definitely worth 1) seeing it in person and being picky and 2) not paying shipping. Most Fair vendors are also willing to haggle, especially on Sunday ;)

I have vended in 2007 and 2010-2016, and not counting 2007 (under different management) this was my poorest sales to date.  :huh:

Summer and her team are AMAZING!  :biggrin: They manage to keep everything going smoothly, and do so much behind-the scenes during the Fair as well as all the prep work! Maybe (just a suggestion!) move the Fair closer to "home" and draft more volunteer staff that might live closer to that location for things that need doing throughout the year?
The panels, presentations, guests, dinner, PJ party were all FANTASTIC!  And the costumes - oh my! the costumes!! And contest entries! talk about stiff competition!! wow!

I look forward to learning more about what to expect from next year's Fair as the year progresses.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 04:06:54 PM by Roogna »
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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2016, 04:12:42 PM »
The vendor room was rather cramped, and I noticed a lot of booths still had a lot of things left on Sunday.  It would be nice if we had the Mahogany Room, but obviously that was impossible this year.

However, I probably liked this Fair more than the other two Fairs I attended.  I particularly liked Katie Leigh being in attendance and the pajama party playing the My Little Pony movie.  Concentrating on the collectors made me feel more at home as a fan of G1.

I made a thread about it, but Katie Leigh said other people involved in the original show would be interested in attending if they were invited.  If the Fair will concentrate more on collectors, inviting people involved with the previous generation's toys and media would be a good move.

If the Fair is going to go small, I think it is a good move.  It is a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere than the zany brony convention which seem to only care about attendance.
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Re: Fair Recap from Fair Staff
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2016, 04:57:55 PM »
I didn't attend this year, but I did go last year that was also in Chicago. I also went the year it was in TN and FL. Of the three years I've been, TN was the best. Great, and very chill, hotel. Nice location, prices were better etc.
I have to say I really like the idea of vendor applications- and limiting the number of tables each person can have. Lowering the cost will also coax more people into vending- and really, vending is fun because you get to meet so many people in the community.
No more groupon is also a fantastic idea; last year I was vending and there were a lot of rude grouponers and kids that man-handled everything!
I also really hope the fair is no longer in Chicago- I get that it wasn't really planned to be there again, but it sucked for those of us who couldn't make a long trek there.
I am extremely thankful for the fair- it's great fun and the best of part of the year (usually, I got married this year so that's the best this year :P) Thank you Summer!
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