One of the largest illustration fairs in the world, The Seoul Illustration Fair 2018 was held from 27th - 31st July in COEX Exhibition Hall in downtown Seoul and featured more than 750 professional illustrators from all over the world.
It was my first time being part of this amazing event, (and honestly, my first illustration fair) and I have learnt so much. From merchandise planning to booth design and dealing with a foreign crowd, it was a steep learning curve. I didn't focus on personal merchandise before and hence this was probably a good reason to start and think about making things out of my art I do for leisure.
Back to the fair, the crowd was very diverse as it was opened to the public. I wish they could dedicate a closed-door preview day just for industry professionals and for us creatives to go around looking at booths and each other's work. From families and kids day-out crowd, students, to professionals in the industry, it can get a little busy and tricky as well when you have to cope with a bunch of kids wanting your stickers and professionals approaching you at the same time. It's a bit of a juggle if you’re doing it alone but otherwise, it's all good. I was fortunate to have my mum with me who helped take out lunches so I had food to munch on while at the booth. Here are some of the action that took place at the fair.
Quick facts about the Seoul Illustration Fair 2018:
- Duration: 4 Days (No preview day) , 10AM - 6PM on fair days
- Price: Artist Booths started from US495. (My booth was US640 because Booth A was sold out) - See image below for my booth setup.
- Booths includes 1 chair, spotlight(s) and an information table (Which is pretty standard, additional chairs and tables are available at a fee)
- Internet is available at a fee (I recommend you get your internet sorted out at the airport with prepaid SIM cards and routers. I only got myself a prepaid Data Only SIM Card at the airport. There are plenty of counters selling SIM Cards so do walk around for one that suits your needs.)
- Crowd: Over 60,000 (according to SIF 2017 report)
A couple of things to ponder (personally):
- Focus on maximum 3 products?
- Prepare low-cost merchandise options for the mass (and little kids!)?
- Writing down basic essential Korean phrases such as your numbers on your pricelist in Korean, as well as short greeting phrases like "do you need a bag?" etc, and counting numbers (1 to 10) in Korean would probably help?
- Only give out your business card when someone asks for one?
- If you're doing it alone, bring a muesli bar or quick portable lunches that allows you to eat at your booth?
- Accommodation: GLAD Hotel COEX Gangnam - Just 5 mins walk from COEX, right outside Samseong Station Exit 1. Absolutely in love with this hotel! It's stylish, clean and it's actually very affordable for that proximity and area. (Gangnam can be very expensive)
- Get to the accommodation and COEX via the Airport Bus for 15,000 KRW. (Great value for the comfort and speed, especially if you have baggage to deal with.)
Yes I most probably will want to be part of this next year again because I got to meet so many wonderful and amazing creatives and illustrators from Korea and all over the world, it's almost like a big creative exchange!
For merchandise sold at the Seoul Illustration Fair, you can also get them at my online store.