So my friend Cosmic Kristen Designs recommended that I sign up for BizBaz @ Home for January after they had reached out to me on social media. For anyone unfamiliar with BizBaz, they are a small California owned Boba and art business who has a really welcoming community both locally and online.
I think I had originally been invited to be a vendor in October or November, but I was so busy I really can't remember anymore. I had even sketched out some designs with the intention of having a small exclusive sticker for the event, but I didn't get them produced in time. I'll try it out again in the future and be more prepared. To be clear, I was not prepared for the chaos of applying, being accepted and paying for conventions in what is the worst month for sales. So as you can imagine, being new to all of this, I was stressed out the entire month.
It's currently February 3rd as I am writing this, so my con anxiety has finally let up as Anime Boston waitlisted me and I can breathe once again.
Before the Event & Setup
They have Discord and Instagram chat channels for artists for the month. There is also a google form we had to fill out and read, although with my goldfish memory I forgot a LOT of what I filled out/said so I ended up still asking dumb questions. If you vend at this, everything is answered on the form. Don't be me.
Since the event is online, your entire job is to promote yourself for the event before the event. That means get people to get a ticket and into the discord or on the stream. There are two types of tickets: free and paid. The paid one comes with a pin. I don't know if these are event exclusive or not so if you want one I'd probably just buy it when the month is there to be safe. It's almost like a monthly pin club when you think about it.
Each artist was responsible with determining what specials they would have in advance so that advertising could be made. Honestly, the advertisements were great. There were several of them so I am only going to include the two I mainly included on my socials.
One thing I wasn't prepared for was the artist panel. I don't have a webcam or apparently any real way to do much and my arm got tired holding my phone / my dogs were being needy at the same time as the event was going on.
I'll get to that later but you can see how it was organized. It was split into two group sessions.
Also to participate, we had to pay for a vendor pass on site for $50. We each received a box with the following goodies and a special note that said our business name with the dragon! Bao Bao was the new mascot that was introduced for the month and he's so cute. Dragons are always best. I intended on sharing this on my socials and didn't, so I guess you guys get it instead.
The Event Itself
The event was quite long but no one was expected to stay around for the entire duration. I was confused about a few things but a lot of that was just due to me being new and now that I have experienced and been through it, everything makes a lot more sense.
The event was streamed live on the bizbaz twitch. People would chat both in discord and in the twitch chat. Everything was posted in advance so you knew what time they intended things to start as well.
So things I didn't really pay as much attention to were the contests. All submissions were due in advance for voting during the stream. For example, every month Stephen (the BizBaz artist) makes coloring pages for the coloring contest. In order to participate, you need to have them submitted by a certain date in order to qualify. The coloring pages were shared on stream and then everyone voted for them. Their bot did voting anonymously so it was super secret. That was awesome. No one could see who voted for what and dogpile. Cosplay and pet costumes were also handled the same way.
There was also a live order packing which, to be honest, was my favorite thing to watch? I wish I could have made a purchase. Jules would ask for what things people liked and then made custom "mystery" packages on stream! I guess the mystery was more of what she'd select and why but it was extremely fun to watch.
I will say the artist panel I was a mess for. I struggled with my phone and should have just done a cameraless discord voice chat instead. I know for next time at least. I will say I have a cellphone holder - two in fact - but neither worked for the event. One was too short and the other my daughter had taken and managed to lose the clamp portion of it so it was unusable in time for the panel.
I also learned you could host panels and play games. It seemed like the games were artist only? I have no idea so don't quote me on that. This part lost me and I'll have to pay more attention next time but this wasn't super clear. I think I was under impression people on stream would be able to join which wasn't the case.
Atlas Nerdery and Cosmic Kristen Designs both did panels. Atlas made little emotes of BaoBao and Cosmic Kristen did a paint along of her BaoBao kit she made specifically for the event! I missed half of the panel Atlas was hosting since it was bed time for my daughter and time for us to get ready for bed.
I wasn't sure when sales would happen, but they happened randomly all day and into the next day despite the coupon only being good for the event. Another artist said they happen throughout the event and stream and may also happen during the week. Early on my sales were dismal but they did actually pick up. This ended up being my best event I've done so far.
I did go back and watch the rest the next day to see what I missed.
What Worked & What Did Not
Jules was on top of promoting and making sure we were doing what we should be doing as well as keeping us in the loop for things.
The stream was extremely fun, well laid out and active!
I think the only thing that didn't work well for ME was the gaming portion. Since I wasn't clear about this (again my own fault) I expected it to work like most streams where people are picked from chat to participate. It was fun to watch, but it did leave me feeling like I wasn't really involved.
Since I had no idea what was going on it felt like chaos at first, but it was a really fun event! I think my expectations were high since I only had information based on sales from artists who had participated in busier months. I do think I would do this again. Would it be in January again? I don't know yet. I want to do this in a month where I can be more focused on it though, finish my exclusive releases for the event and advertise better.
If you're an artist looking for a laid back, well organized online event, I would recommend this. I do suggest considering the time of year and set your expectations around that and not what other artists have made. Obviously sales fluctuate a lot based on time of year, economic stability, etc.
The Details (TLDR)
Event: BizBaz @ Home January 2024
Date: January 28, 2024
Location: BizBaz Discord
Hours: 10am-8pm PST
Total Vendors: 18
Travelworthy: No travel required! It's all from your phone, computer, or tablet.
Vendor Cost: $50 (comes with a box of goodies!)
Total Sales: $386.76 (this is before all costs are taken out)
MN Taxes: $4.56
Total Profit: $332.20