My First Komiket Experience Part 1: Research, Marketing, Preparations, Pricing, and Displays

It all started when I messaged an online friend whom I met through Arriane Serafico’s Respark your Goal challenge. I knew her as Ate Joyce Melegrito a.k.a. Cloudybazookas. I think it was around December 2017 when I asked her if she was going to Komiket: The Filipino Art and Komiks Market in Febuary 2018 as an exhibitor.

She said yes. I told her that I was planning to join as well, and from there, she invited me to be a part of the group she’s in called SumiKami. It is a small group of people she’s friends with who joins art and cosplay fairs and conventions!

That was how I got to join Komiket and to be part of SumiKami! (Thank you, Ate Joyce!) It was my first time to attend and to be an exhibitor, and I am thankful that it was at this event!

Preparations

I started preparing three weeks before the two-day event (Feb. 24-25). Since this was my first time to join an art fair and sell my products, I allotted a few days to do research on what to do’s and what not to do’s, pricing, and setting up an eye-catching display. I also read about Komiket to determine if it will be a good venue for me, and if I have any target market who may be there. Additionally, I tried to see if my friends who were also artists signed up for Komiket before, and they did!

Here are a few articles I found helpful, by the way:

And here is a collection of articles you can check too:

When researching, see what applies to you, your brand, your location, products, your market, and chosen art fair. I applied what I learned from these articles, but there were some that I did not follow like having a credit card reader and setting up vertically (because I only had a few small items!).

I also watched vlogs, particularly Fran Meneses’ how to prepare for an illustration festival:

And I refreshed myself a bit in what I saw and experienced at CTN Animation Expo in Burbank, California, which I was lucky to attend with my cousins from Arizona (who generously drove us there for the weekend!). Being in an event like that did wonders to my courage levels. Haha!

Besides research, my preparations included coming up with my line up of artworks and products I will be selling, the digital art files I need to print, pricing, sending quotations for printing, shopping for packaging, readying the essentials like display boxes and business cards, inventory notebook, and change!

Marketing

I’m very thankful for the marketing knowledge and experience I gained when I was still working in the company I stayed at for three years after graduating. I applied the knowledge in marketing my own works and events I would be part of, including Komiket! I started giving hints and posting teaser photos in my social media pages (Facebook and Instagram @arlipagaduan), so that people who would be interested to visit our table would know beforehand.

Starting the marketing  three to four weeks is good to create anticipation, whereas starting it just a week before or even days does not make that much of a big impact anymore. There’s also the factor that people may have already set schedules on the days of the event.

To share more information too about my participation in Komiket, I made vlogs which you can view through these links:

Line up of Art Works, Pricing, and Quotations

I already had an idea what illustrations I will be printing in a list. I opened up the Photoshop PSD files and transferred them to standard sizes like that of a postcard, so it would be easier for me to get a quotation and for convenient printing as well.

I had to prepare them before I started requesting quotations from print shops. At least they would be ready when the printer and I agree on the terms immediately. I also would like to share where I got my illustrations printed: Illumina Digital Print & Design in Greenhills, San Juan. I recommend them! They have good service and high quality prints. (Thank you, Illumina!)

Besides art prints, I opted to have watercolor works, so there will be one-of-a-kind products I could carry. For Komiket, I made fan art of the Studio Ghibli heroines and the songs in the movie The Greatest Showman.

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I also made my Bookworm Buddies Bookmarks which is something that I would love to continue making. They’re meant to help people who love books interact with each other.

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For example, if I stuck this little bookworm…

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… in between the pages of my book and a seatmate of mine on a bus or a runner by the park sees it, it may work as an ice breaker and conversation starter.

And in partnership with Ms. Cindy Wong Dela Cruz of Filipino boutique bookstore 8letters, I secured a few copies of my self-published book Seedlings: A Short Story Collection!

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To make it more special, I included limited edition prints of the pencil illustrations and excerpts from their corresponding stories.

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Since it would be my first time to sell art prints and my watercolor works, I researched about pricing too. I checked how much other artists who made products like I did priced theirs. From the data I gathered, I calculated for the average and used it as a reference in my pricing, with consideration of my costs in printing, materials, size of the artwork, time, and labor.

I figured that our pricing has to be competitive, because we would not want the art community to suffer, so we must be careful in the prices we give out and make sure that the buyer sees the value in what we create.

Business Essentials

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When I was still employed, my colleagues and I went to a convention in Pasay City, and I forgot to bring my business cards.

Big mistake!

I did not want to make the same mistake, so I already prepared my business cards as well for the event. I initially had 100 copies printed, and so far, it’s a good number to start with. It’s alright to have more printed, especially if you will be joining art fairs and events every month. In my case, I only have a few in mind for the whole year to join in.

I also prepared spare change; some buyers in the art fairs may have big bills, so one has to have extra to avoid the customer getting impatient, ending up not buying anymore.

Fun Stuff like Raffle Prizes

I didn’t get to buy candies and chocolates; instead, I took inspiration from one of the articles I read like having a raffle prize. I had a few products that people can win, including 1 Seedlings book with 10 limited edition prints. To get three chances to win, they only had to sign up for my monthly newsletter!

Packaging

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I did research on what I can use for packaging, like an alternative for plastic but to no avail. I decided to stick with kraft paper which is still good. For branding, I also asked for the services of a good friend whom I was classmates with in Arriane Serafico’s classes! (I am in awe with how amazing her community is!)

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Marz Today made these great stamps, and I’m very thankful for her hard work on them! I highly recommend her products and services; she’s very accommodating and responds fast to your inquiries.

Display

Because I do not want to get flustered in the ingress, trying to figure out how to set my slot on our table, I followed a tip in one of the articles that I’ve read, and that was to try and set up your table days before the event.

I did this set up the night before and followed it in Day 1 of Komiket.

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If you’re familiar with Honolulu Cookies (Arriane, if you can read this, it’s your fault we love them! My friend introduced me to these yummy cookies before. Haha!), I used their box (the one in the rightmost) to display my works. Recycle the boxes you have, guys! They can come in handy in art fairs.

Because I did not want to lose my Eeyore and Hamm (They call me…. Mister Pig!) Tsum Tsum, I opted for them to stay in the house. Haha! In the display above, my main product Seedlings is in the center. But I found that more people looked through the small box in the left, because they were all food illustrations. 🙂

I made the price tags on kraft paper too and used my Mom’s tiny wooden clips as holders. It’s best to keep all the prices visible, so the customer will only just confirm the price of the products instead of having no initial idea whatsoever, while they browse through your works.

When I was satisfied with my table display (I had to make sure too that it doesn’t take too much space, because I was tabling with my fellow artists in SumiKami), I took a photo of it for reference.

I tidied everything up, kept the art prints in folders so they stay flat, and put everything in a small box that I will be bringing to the event. Since I would only be commuting, from south to north in Centris Elements in Quezon City, I had to make sure that I wasn’t carrying anything bulky or I didn’t have to bring so many bags.

I forgot to mention too that I had to stamp the paper bags the night before, so I ended up staying up late until 11 in the evening, I think. I planned of sleeping early, but I only got to Manila the day before (Friday), so there was little time to prepare the other essentials. Haha! Do not follow that example: get as much sleep as you can, especially if you will be manning your slot at the booth for the whole weekend!

And off to dream world I went.


This concludes Part 1 of my first ever Komiket experience. I know it took a while for me to write. Haha!

But I want to share these to record my experience and to be a reference to others who may want to join art fairs soon. It was my first time, but I still want to put down the steps I did, so that I will remember. If you have other tips, please feel free to share, so others may read them as well! 

If you’ve gotten this far in the entry, thank you so much for reading and for your time! In my next blog post, I will share about the event, highlights, lessons, and the community. 🙂

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