Buttons, Badges & Pins - People Power Blog
Button Making Business: Convention Tips from a Pro February 08 2017
Fan conventions seem to get bigger every year and art buttons are one of the hottest artist alley sellers. Whether you are ordering custom buttons made with your artwork or firing up your own button press to make your own, buttons are a great and low-cost way to get your art in the hands of your con-going customers.
We get lots of requests for tips and advice for selling buttons at conventions and although we dipped our toes in at FanExpo 2013 we asked artist and convention veteran Allie of "Allieeeps!" for her top Artist Alley Button tips!
PPP: How long have you been doing artist Alleys at Conventions?
Allie: I've been doing artist alley for 10 years now and selling buttons for the last 9.
PPP: You sell prints and other art as well, but buttons have become a big part of your art business!
A: Over time they have definitely become my biggest sellers! Which is great because they're my favorite thing to do. People are more inclined to spend a few dollars on a button than many dollars on a print.
PPP: We get a lot of questions about what con-goers are likely to respond to art-wise. What kind of artwork/characters do you find are the most popular ones (original vs. popular characters)? What sizes work best for fan buttons?
A: Pre-existing characters outsell original characters by an extremely large margin. But it doesn't necessarily follow that a popular thing will outsell an unpopular thing. Game of Thrones is extremely popular for instance but my GoT buttons never do well. And some buttons that were popular a year ago are impossible to sell now. At the same time, nostalgia can be a big factor in sales, and if you do something lesser known you might be the only table that has it and therefore less competition. My best advice is to make buttons for what YOU love because then even if they don't sell well you'll have a fun time making them!
PPP: Can fans find your buttons online?
-Yes I sell buttons online. I'm definitely a smaller seller though, I know many people who are always having to restock because their online store is so successful. I'm not sure what the secret is but I don't mind making very few sales online, it keeps my non-work life from getting too crazy.
PPP: This is really great advice for seasoned sellers and newbies alike! Can we shout out your favorite convention to table at?
A: Favorite convention goes to Calgary Expo. It's massive but not overwhelming and the people are so nice and excited about the artists alley. Plus it's always exciting to get to travel a little for a con.
Great Ideas: The Resolution-O-Matic Button Vending Machine January 04 2017
Setting new year's resolutions can be super boring and stressful! Let us pick one for you! This month we decided to fill up the vending machine outside the shop with silly New Year's resolution that you can keep (like "Eat More Cake") or aspire to ("Become a Rockstar"), randomly selected for you!
Stop by our Toronto shop to grab your own!
Inspired? Resolve to make more buttons! Put your own button sales on automatic with Button Vending Machines in a variety of sizes! The one outside our shop is a Round Beaver model that fits 1" Buttons and is available as a kit with everything you need to sell buttons with it!
Great Ideas: Displays for your Button Business September 19 2016
We get a lot of question from our busy button makers about running your own button business and one of them is about displaying buttons for sale. We have some bright ideas no matter what size, style and type of product you're making!
Bulletin boards are a great way to display buttons because you can stick the pins right in! You can also DIY a bulletin board by covering foam board with fabric or paper, you could even add a fancy frame!
This kind of display works well if you have lots of different designs to choose from!
We found that the best way to display magnets is by having them do what they do best - STICK! Buttons look great displayed on a board - you can even make your own out of a cookie sheet. Since magnets stick to almost anything metal you can get creative - why not display them on a locker door or even a paint can?
If you have lots of different designs that you want to categorize, or lots of different types of products that won't all fit on a board - why not display your buttons in a button binder! We've made this one from page protectors designed for business cards which will fit anything up to a 2.5" button. The pockets will fit things that are harder to stick onto a board, like pocket mirrors, keychains, and bottle openers. If you choose a clear type, you'll be able to see easily what the back of each item is like!
This kind of display would be great for conventions too! You can use dividers to section your binder by theme and customers can browse it like a catalogue.
Bowls, Baskets and Bins:
If you have lots of different designs or items that you want to mix together, don't forget the tried and true basket-o-buttons! Lots of folks like to rummage through a little bowl to pick a favorite design (or two, or three!). Displaying your buttons in a cute container is a perfect solution if you're not very crafty, or ran out of time to come up with a different brilliant idea! Just make sure the pins on your buttons are closed - ouch!
We get a lot of inquiries about making buttons using fabric instead of paper. It's totally possible, super easy, and a great way to use up fabric scraps you have kicking around!
Jessica Epstein, the super talented individual behind "Flake" uses pre-loved textiles to create custom magnets, buttons, and other accessories that are adorable AND sustainable :) Just take a look at these 1" magnets! SO COOL!
magnets like these can be made with 1" peel n' stick magnet parts. Instead of using artwork printed on paper, and finished with a sheet of mylar, BOTH are replace with a single piece of scrap fabric. Some fabrics work better than others. Find out the best fabric to use here!
Jessica also creates accessories like mittens and toques out of pre-loved fabric. The accessories below are made from old sweaters and polar fleece! She also gave the 1" lockpin button the royal treatment and elevated them into gorgeous accessories of their own!
These buttons are fully functional and can be worn on their own OR placed on a hand made one of a kind toque! These 1" fabric buttons by Flake are a great example of how far creativity can take you.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful (and successful) experiment with us Jessica!
Take a peek at all the great stuff Flake has to offer :) If you've taken a chance with a button making experiment and created something AWESOME we would love to see it! Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on social media (links below).