Become a Vendor
So you want to be a Vendor at Hal-Con and get involved in the biggest science fiction and gaming convention in the Maritimes? You should know the 2018 Convention dates are October 26-28, 2018.
Vendor Applications will open (tentatively) the first week of March, 2018. This will depend on final details re: pricing from the venue. We are booked in both the World Trade Centre/Scotiabank Centre complex, and also the new work-in-progress, Halifax Convention Centre. At this time we do not have final figures from them regarding which space we will use, what the costs or layouts will be. All of this is still in progress, and we will share it as soon as the details are finalized.
Our pricing in 2017 was $200 for a tabletop space (skirted 6×2 table, 3 foot space behind) and $300 for an 8×8 booth. We expect an increase in 2018, of up to 25% but that isn’t final.
Who can be a Vendor? We use the term Vendor to describe anyone who comes to our convention wanting space to showcase something for our attendees, whether that is manufactured merchandise, original artwork, a service offering or a society or organization wishing to promote what they do and encourage membership. You don’t have to be selling something to be a Vendor, although most of our Vendors are sellers as well. We welcome applications from a variety of vendors and will have several different types of vendor spaces available, including booths and tabletops. We do not yet have a planned layout for 2018, but once we have these details we will post an information packet, which will be available at least a week before general applications open.
Authors and Comic Artists: If your work fits in our genre, we want you! Particularly if you have new publications to promote, we’re interested in hearing from you. New work is always appreciated.
Gaming-related Vendors: We have a fantastic gaming floor, with games and tournaments of all varieties. We have a limited number of Gaming vendors on that floor as well, reserved for those vendors who are a good fit. Board games, RPGs, Video Games, Online Games, Pinball and old-school gaming systems are all part of the fun on the gaming floor.
Please consider the theme of our convention when you apply – we are very much a geek-themed event, and we look for vendors who align with our theme.
We do not accept applications from the following organizations:
- Multi-level marketing companies
- Health and beauty products, unless they are specific to cosplay and align with our theme
- Travel agents: we have an exclusive travel arrangement with Maritime Travel for 2018 and are not accepting other travel vendors
Consider following our Facebook and Twitter accounts for the latest information about our vendor offerings for 2017.
A Note About Food Vendors:
We do not yet have information about the kinds of food vendors we may be allowed to accept for 2018. This will depend on whether the venue has food sales available, and what those offerings will be. We will provide updated information on this page as soon as it is available.
Important: all food vendors are responsible to research and obtain all necessary permits/licensing under Nova Scotia law to make/sell food for the public. Food Safety inspectors, and the venue, will ask to see those documents and it is your responsibility to produce them, or risk being shut down. No refunds will be made for any Vendor who is asked to leave the convention due to lack of compliance with those regulations.
Programming: If you believe that you can provide engaging programming for 45 minutes to an hour for our attendees, two or three times over the course of the weekend, we would encourage you to contact our programming team. If you are accepted as a programmer, you will need to ensure you have assistance at your booth to keep it staffed while you run a panel or demonstration.
Staffing your Vendor Space: Your space must have staff at all times. Hal-Con volunteers may be able to watch your space for a short break, but they cannot handle your merchandise nor accept sales, and we cannot guarantee their availability at any given time. Each space comes with two vendor badges to ensure you have staff at the booth at all times, to allow you to enjoy the convention and take breaks for food and personal comfort. Those badges can be traded among your staff as needed, but the exchange needs to take place outside the convention space. We recommend meeting them at a main entrance to make the switch.
These badges will have your business name on them, and anyone wearing them is the responsibility of the vendor. They are representing you at the convention, and if a staff person violates any of our policies while at the convention they will be subject to removal, and their behaviour may impact whether or not you are permitted to stay, or be invited to attend in the future. Young children are not to be considered vendor staff; if they cannot independently manage your space in your absence, or are unable to navigate the convention on their own, please do not bring them as vendor staff. Child badges and weekend passes are available for purchase, should you wish to bring them, but please note they do sell out quickly. These must be purchased when ticket sales launch and are not part of your vendor agreement. The vendor team cannot access additional passes for your family outside of what is included in your space rental.
Additional Notes About Our Vendor Selection Process
We’ve had some questions about how we select vendors for Hal-Con. We wish we could accept everyone, but space is limited, even with the planned expansion. For the first time, we have offered pre-registration to vendors who attended the 2017 event in good standing. General applications will be used to fill the remaining spaces.
Our vendor team looks at every application and it is critical that the information you provide is accurate. You need to provide a link for them to view what it is that you intend to sell, so that they can make the best decision we can to ensure a variety of merchandise and artwork is available for our attendees. There are plenty of free websites and social media platforms where you can post what you sell so they can review it. It’s not an easy job, as you can imagine but they strive to create a good balance and are truly unbiased in the selection process. Please remember as stated on the vendor application form – “filling in this form does not guarantee vendor status for this event. Prior participation does not guarantee vendor status for this event.The time stamp on your application will not guarantee vendor status for this event, but will be taken into consideration as we endeavor to provide Hal-Con attendees a broad range of artwork and other goods for sale.”
Time does matter. Historically, the majority of our applications are received the first day applications open. The first few hours, to be honest. We’re fortunate to have so many talented artists, crafters and quality retail vendors want to be part of Hal-Con. We wish we had room for everyone, but that is never the case. So everyone is clear, we wanted to share our process:
We will review general applications, knowing the variety we already have on hand from 2017 vendors who have re-registered. We will be looking first to identify specific gaps in what we have to offer our attendees. Once we have determined which of the general applications fill those specific needs, we will then go through the list based on timestamp, which records in thousandths of seconds the an application is received. The online system orders the applications automatically. Incomplete applications are pulled out. Quick is good. Complete is critical. Your application will not be considered if information is missing, and we receive too many to send it back for completion. Please be accurate.
We consider a variety of factors when curating our vendors: variety, adding different types of vendors into the mix, trying to appeal to as many price points, fandoms, genres of art and craftsmanship. It’s not an exact science, but it’s important both for our attendees and for our vendors. Too much of any good thing will divide available sales, and we want your weekend to be successful too. Too many vendors selling the same things will result in lower sales for you, and fewer options for our attendees. We take lots of things into consideration: variety first, and feedback from our attendees second. We listen to what they tell us about our vendor areas, and observe shopping trends at Con. We consider local market saturation and factor in our own past relationships with vendors. We know that every year, vendors we know and appreciate are left out, and we are truly sorry when that has to happen. Our focus is providing a vendor area that is filled with variety and amazing customer service for our attendees. That includes providing opportunity for local purchasers to see new and different offerings each year. We support local, Atlantic-based businesses and artists, but we also encourage vendors from across Canada, the US and other nations around the world to apply and bring their unique artistry and retail vision to Hal-Con. Once our spots are filled, remaining vendors are placed on a waitlist.
The Waitlist. Our waitlist process is not simply “by the numbers.” As vendor places open up, we try to replace them with a similar type of vendor; eg. a comic artist replaces a comic artist. We also look for any unique vendors that we weren’t able to include in the first round of approvals. Finally, timestamp on applications is used in determining successful waitlist applicants.
You will be contacted only if a space becomes available. Our successful applicants have until mid-summer to finalize their payment; waitlist clearing will begin at that time. We cannot predict when or if a space will become available.
Sponsorship: Occasionally a vendor wants to increase their profile at Hal-Con, or wants a presentation of space or product that exceeds what is offered as a regular vendor. We recommend you contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about sponsorship opportunities and discuss the level of investment you have to offer. Sponsorship space is limited, though, so early contact is essential!