BIG CHANGE to Artists' Alley for 2013: Commission to be charged

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Unclekage's picture
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Silent Ravyn

For years, Anthrocon has covered the bills for processing customer payments on behalf of the artists in the Alley.  We pay for registers, power for the registers, supplies, credit card processing fees, chairs, tables, labor and a host of other direct and indirect costs.

Those costs have been steadily rising, and as much as we have been trying to forestall it, the time has come for Artists' Alley to start covering its own costs, just as the Dealer Room and Art Show departments have been.  Beginning this year (2013), Artists' Alley will collect a modest 5% commission on sales from the Artists.  The amount to be paid will be deducted from money owed to the Artist at payout each day, rounded up to the nearest dollar amount.  There is no minimum or maximum for this fee.  Artists who expect to make over $800 in a weekend will be paying a fee over $40, and so should consider getting a Dealer Table instead, as it may be cheaper for you -- signups are open as of 10/15/2012, so if you want one, you may wish to go to our dealer information page now.

Further information is available at our Artists' Alley Info Page.

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Stode's picture
Location: Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
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I agree with this. As Anthrocon is a not-for-profit organization the best bet is to always have all costs covering themselves, and I think the board has done a great job in its decisions how. This is also a good decision and is needed to keep our favorite furry organization to continue rising in size and space.

Just to ask, would it be cost effective at all to combine the anthrocon store with the dealers den cash-out point?

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Anthrocon 2013, you will be sorely missed and fondly remembered. Anthrocon 2014, you are anxiously anticipated and wished a speedy arrival!

SDWolf's picture
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There are several issues that would happen if we tried to do that, among them tax issues. Certain items sold at the con store are not subject to PA Sales tax, whereas other items are. The con store register is programmed to handle them, but if we combined the two, that might cause problems.

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Stode's picture
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Ah, I did not know about the tax issues. That is a good point. Well, I can't think of a way around that without getting tedious, so I will let the staff involved with that side of the board handle things '^-^ Hope everything still runs smoothly!

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Anthrocon 2013, you will be sorely missed and fondly remembered. Anthrocon 2014, you are anxiously anticipated and wished a speedy arrival!

Giza's picture
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What Dealers Den cash-out point? Dealers handle their own sales, whereas Artists Alley artists go through the cash-out point in AA.

 

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Bendy Kenzie's picture
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This is kind of sad.

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Tyrrlin's picture
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Why is it sad?  Anthrocon might be non-profit, but to keep up with the times, demand, and to facilitate speedy sales in the Artist's Alley, we need to be able to cover the costs of running the space as well as making sure we have working cash registers to handle enormous number of transactions that occur in the Alley.  Artist's Alley is a wonderful service the convention provides, allowing an Artist the opportunity to have table space for a day (or more) and not have to worry about tax receipts.  However, like any service, it costs money to run.  It's only fair and proper for the Alley to provide the revenue needed to pay for the space, electricity, air conditioning, and payment tills.  (Remember, none of the board, staff, or volunteers receive a single cent for the hours they work for the convention, so in the grand scheme of things, it's really not too much to ask.)

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Stode's picture
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This is such a well written reply, thank you.

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Anthrocon 2013, you will be sorely missed and fondly remembered. Anthrocon 2014, you are anxiously anticipated and wished a speedy arrival!

Bendy Kenzie's picture
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I think that in my mind, it relates to something bigger,that just kind of worries me, it's not anything to do with AC itself, really, I just worry too much.

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TechnoDragon's picture
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I believe Kenzie is referring to the general rise in costs for everything, and merely expressing worry that it is even started to hit the furry fandom... I think we all understand that it is not the fault of Anthrocon, or any of it's staff. I personally support anything that helps AC stay on top. It just shows how things are changing... and to be honest it kind of worries me too.

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Stode's picture
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What I think you are getting at would be 'economics' and inflation, in which case I would highly suggest reading up on the feild. This thread would not be the place to hold such discussion, but unfortunatly with the way the world runs and through hard economic times hitting north america and other places, organizations, not for profit or otherwise, do need to take steps to make sure that they can continue running. Often there is 2 ways to do this, cut costs, or raise 'sales'. Since Anthrocon does not really have 'sales' in itself, it collects things like the membership fees, a percentage taken from the art show sales, having dealers pay for their booth in the dealers den, and now the artist alley having a percentage fee. The only other way to keep anthrcon running, and this isnt really an option, is to cut costs. The costs are things like hotel space, convention space, cash registers, and guest of honor's. The idea simply doesn't work with a growing group like Anthrocon and there-fore costs need to be covered by increasing the intake of money through things like fee's.

Don't look at it as a bad thing, look at it as a good sign that anthrocon is growing and expanding!

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charlieg's picture
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Tyrrlin, I'll phrase it a little differently: I'm sorry that it's necessary.  In the Grand Scheme Of Things, five cents on a dollar isn't asking much, as far as I'm concerned... but I can also see where a struggling artist might find it painful.

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Tyrrlin's picture
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Tyrrlin, I'll phrase it a little differently: I'm sorry that it's necessary.  In the Grand Scheme Of Things, five cents on a dollar isn't asking much, as far as I'm concerned... but I can also see where a struggling artist might find it painful.

 

Since I'm currently living a bit more hand-to-mouth than I really prefer to, I certainly understand.  However, Artist's Alley is a convenience provided to Artists who may not have the experience/desire/ability/tax ID/merchandise/etc to staff a Dealer's table, though the tax ID isn't all that difficult to obtain, from what I've gathered.  One pays for convenience, especially since the Con is not trying to make a profit, only covering operating expenses... AND the staff aren't paid.  *shrugs*  As someone who has been in the Alley for a couple of years way back when, I certainly wouldn't have begrudged 5% for operating expenses.

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TechnoDragon's picture
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I actually have been doing a little reading on North American economics, and I believe I said that I actually support this fee. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this whole thread about economics, albeit on a micro scale?

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Stode's picture
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Yes, the thread is in a technical stand point, but what I was more getting at was that this thread is intended to let the artists that plan to use artists alley know that there will be a comission fee this time around.

Where what I was mentioning would be best discussed in another thread was the idea of economics and peoples views on it. What I was trying to say that this thread is not the place for the discussion of economics but that someone should make a thread for it.

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TechnoDragon's picture
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Yes, you are probably correct. Thank you.

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Bendy Kenzie's picture
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Oh my.

Please excuse me if I misunderstood the post, it's my fault of course, and there is no reason to continue discussing it if it isn't supposed to be mentioned anyway.

I humbly apologize for my error.

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Tyrrlin's picture
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No worries!  We're furries, we love to talk.   Smiling

(In a previous forum, years ago, the title I had under my name was "wanders off-topic", so it's not uncommon.)

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Akiya's picture
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Why do I find myself reading this instead of watching the Presidential Debates? Yay Twitter!

In any case, back to the topic at hand. Good job to Anthrocon for helping keep our overall costs down. Now when do we get Hall C? ^.^>

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Chiaroscuro's picture
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We're in Hall C now! It supports the Artist's Alley and Art Show, while Hall B is the Dealer's Room.

And that's all the space we could ever ne--

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Stode's picture
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NO! *covers his mouth... * We don't say those things! quick get him out of here!

>_>

Would loveeee for that to come true though Chi Eye-wink Though, I dare not say what I would like to come true ^_^

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Chiaroscuro's picture
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It's entirely possible Anthrocon will at some point peak. We've had some plateau years (2004-2006), (2010-2011) . But somehow, the herd has continued to grow.

If growth does continue at its historical pace, we will need to move the Dealer's Room into Hall A and the Artist's Alley/Art Show into Hall B in 2018. There's currently good room for expansion in both areas, and we could move from 'incredibly roomy and spacious' to 'Rather nicely roomy and spacious' arrangements of tables and aisles. to accomodate increased size at our current area. Which isn't cheap, but B+C is quite a bit cheaper than A+B.

We also went from Hall B (82,450 sqft) right to B+C (127,600 sqft), instead of going to A (109,000 sqft). The David Lawrence Convention Center said "You'll outgrow that quickly, too. We'll give you a deal on B+C." We were wise to listen.

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Ron Bauerle's picture
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I was going to add a flippant reference to a well-known Yogi Berra quotation,
but it turns out it appears to be a real possibility - hope AC doesn't suffer that fate Sad

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TechnoDragon's picture
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I concur. That article was enlightening, thank you.

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skippyfox's picture
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I enjoyed it too. And I found the follow-up (with the author's proposed resolution to the problem) to be bizarre but interesting: http://www.dmytri.info/28c3-crowding-and-the-suck-principle/

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Ron Bauerle's picture
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Odd, that didn't show up as a clickable link; don't know whether it's because it wrapped or what...

I suspect that principle ("for anyplace to stay cool it has to suck") applies more to being an AC staffer Sticking out tongue

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RyuuYouki's picture
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I'm not complaining, as I find this completely fair.  But I can see where others might be upset seeing as most cons I have attened only charge 3% so it is a big jump for AC to go from nothing to 5% in one go.  Just my two cents.

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Unclekage's picture
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Other cons do not have to set up 128 tables in a convention hall the size of Donald Trump's ego, either.

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charlieg's picture
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A slight correction: 0ne-eighth the size of Donald Trump's ego.  At most.

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RyuuYouki's picture
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I wasn't refuring to just furry cons.  Conventions such as Ota, Katsu and Comicon are FAR larger then AC (and Trump's ego lol) and they only charge the 3%.  Again, not complaining and will gladly pay the %5 if I end up in the alley next year.  In fact, I was honestly surprised to learn you weren't charging to begin with.  Was just trying to shed some light on why some people might be surprised by the jump is all.

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Mewtwo's picture
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The specific percentage here may require con staff to do a bit of enforcement for 2013, so to speak.

In particular, there are those little card swiper things that get used on smartphones that can take credit card transactions.  Their fees usually cap at under 3%.  Less scrupulous furs might say "hey, I'll either get dinged 5% by AC or 3% if I use this swiper" and AC might find that not all of its Artists' Alley commissions are being properly reported.

This is especially true when some artists were already suggesting for large commissions for the person to just go up to their hotel room, log into PayPal, and pay the artist directly so that the commissionee could avoid the 7% sales tax themselves.  This now makes it so that a direct payment circumventing the Artists' Alley is either a 9% or 12% swing - 7% not being paid to PA in sales tax and either 2% less (via swiper) or 5% less (via direct non-fee PayPal payment) that the artist pays.

Depending on how common those swiper things are, a rule might need to be considered barring those devices from being present in Artists' Alley in the first place.

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Unclekage's picture
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The rules already very clearly state that sales must be made through Anthrocon.  If someone wants to use one of those little card-swipey things and I find out about it, that someone and I will be having a very earnest discussion.

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charlieg's picture
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And those "card swipey things" charge around 2.75% per transaction...  So the artist would make a whopping 2.25 cents on the dollar over Anthrocon's charge!  Pretty decent payback, when you consider that that would probably get you banned fron Artists Alley or possibly Anthrocon in general.  (/sarcasm)

Note:  I believe the "Card swipey things" are legal in the Dealers Room, since the dealers have tax licenses from Pennsylvania and will be paying the taxes themselves.

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Chiaroscuro's picture
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As Sam has mentioned, all sales at Anthrocon must be conducted through the auspices of Artist's Alley, the Art Show, or the Dealer's Room. We do patrol the Artist's Alley, the Zoo, and other locales to ensure things are on the up and up, as people do stay. Though there are always a few bad apples in any sufficiently large bunch, our attendees recognize that the venue we help provide for them doesn't come for free, and that Artist's Alley allows them a wonderful venue to help sell.

Any attendees noting an an attempt to circumvent the sales rules of Anthrocon and the State Of Pennsylvania are encouraged to notify the appropriate staff.

--Chi

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SDWolf's picture
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We keep a pretty sharp eye on the Alley tables, and we've got a pretty good design set up that we can see all the tables at once from our front desk. Long story short, don't sell things in Alley without going through us. Not a good plan!

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Ravyn's picture
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Hey, that's me in the photo for this post ^.^

 

I'm impressed with the incredible growth that this con has made of the years I've been attending, it only makese sense to involve a commission fee at this point for artist's alley. I can't wait for this year!

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Silent Ravyn, the Arctic Foxwolf

Windfalcon's picture
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When you look at conventions at a whole, 5% commission for a free space is EXTREMELY fair.  In fact, my first year at Anthrocon back in 2010, I was shocked that artist's alley AND art show had no fee - most conventions charge a space fee, as well a higher commission than 5%.

I saw a comment about how struggling artists are going to be bitten by this, which I disagree with.  By charging a percentage instead of a flat rate, it's is a very fair way to go about it.  Only make $20 all weekend?  You only pay a buck.  Make $2,000?  Then you can certainly afford the $100 (and then you should plan to have a dealer's table next year).  For the first convention artist alley I did way back in 2005, I was ecstatic when I walked out with $150, so I know how it is to be a struggling artist and not wanting to part with even a dollar of your money.  But I don't see this as preventing any artists - struggling or very successful - from participating in artist's alley since it's a fee where you don't pay anything until you make money.  You don't have to save up and pay before you're allowed to sell, so the amount you pay is strictly dependent on how successful you are. 

As has been mentioned, Anthrocon is non-profit, and it costs money to run this whole shebang :3 From a business standpoint, it's a very good 'deal' to get a space for free (in essence you only pay for registration), plus 5%.

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desteredra's picture
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And as a person who's dealt with those table fees in some places and gotten burned, i have to say i really like taking the cost out of the income.  It's sooo much easier to swing that, knowing that the cost of the space scales with the income you'll pull in, than it is to come to a show for the first time , paying a flat fee, not knowing if you'll sell everything or not even make up your costs for coming.

I know it's gonna feel like a transition for some artists who've been working artists alley for years, but i feel confident that i'ts going to turn out just fine. 

If the fee seems off that of other comprrable conventions, it may be worth asking whether the difference is affected by A. how much the convention charges us for setup or B. how much the state charges us in sales tax.  Both can vary a lot from place to place.  But i have no idea if either is at play here.  Regardless, i feel confident that our staff have set the price as low as they reasonably can, with an awareness that the longer they can keep that fee static, the easier it is to plan for.  Remember that 5% has been art show policy for years, so there's a pretty good chance that artists alley will be similarly steady.

I might also suggest, as a staffer, that if our artists are concerned about setting the right price for their work to balance the table fee, the art show would love to have your work out in our space and up for auction.  And i always hope our attendees don't forget, in their eagerness to see the lovely swag in artists alley and dealers room that they don't forget to check out the special lovelies available in the art show.

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