I spent this whole past weekend clustered to my laptop screen as I hung out in a virtual world in an attempt to sell my real-world goods. If that sounds strange, it's because it was. If it sounds potentially amazing, it's because it is.
Digikomi is the digital equivalent of Dokomi, a large German anime convention. Last year I'd half planned that this year I would want to attend an official conference and I'd heard that Dokomi is one of the top ones. Of course, then corona happened and that whole plan was off the table. As I've been evolving farther away from the kind of cute & cheaper products that I currently have on my Etsy, I'd been wondering if I still wanted to pursue something like a con. It's one of those things that take a lot of work, a lot of investment, a lot of time & energy and usually don't make a lot of money until a few years in. On the other hand, I have the products, I have the Etsy shop, so why not see if I can sell it, right? Then Dokomi announced Digikomi, a digital version of their con! I signed up for a €25,- booth and sat down eagerly, curious about this new thing that was about to unfold.
The world they'd created was really quite wonderful. With a desktop app, you can log in and with a (slightly personalized) avatar you can rush around in a world with all kinds of different area's. You could chat with people and even voice chat if you stood in each other's vicinity! There was a cinema, there was a live-stream of the real-life event (which still happened despite COVID). The artist alley booths were very cute and it all had a lot of potential.
The downside though, was that they only started building this thing 2 months ago and barely marketed it. As a result, there weren't a lot of people there. And no people, means no sales :( After 2 whole days, a massive headache and trying to talk to any person that came by, I sold 1 order. After taking off shipping, I made € 4,-. Not what you might call a money maker. It was nice trying it out and I met some other great creators but overall, I'm not sure I'd do it again. It took so much out of me and cost me so much, I'm not sure if it was worth it. We did also talk to the developer for a while (who spent the weekend hanging around the whole world and collecting feedback from everyone as well as apparently really enjoying himself, which was great!) and it does sound like they were really sad that there were so few visitors, especially in regards to us artists. They really hope that next year they can get some official marketing and make it a bit fully formed, with a much stronger turnout so that the potential for sales is much higher. A normal con gives you a lot of energy, even if it's draining, because of the environment, because of meeting people, because of everything. That's not the case when you're sitting by yourself in your room, even if you do get to voice chat with people (which was very fun actually!)
All in all, this was fun. But I'm not sure I'd do it again..