When I first started doing conventions, there were a couple of occasions when someone would come up to my booth and ask me if I was interested in a trade. They were looking to trade something that they were offering for sale in exchange for some of my items. Now I know that many artists and vendors love to trade items, as it allows you to get new things you may want for very little outlay (just what the items you are trading costs you). Is trading a good idea or worth it though? Until recently when I started actually giving it more thought, I would have said No. But now, my answer has changed to: Maybe?
As was the case in these couple of instances when I first started, the person would come up and ask if I did trades. I usually said No, simply because most of the time the vendors didn't really offer anything I wanted and I didn't want to A) end up taking something in trade that I didn't want or B) hurt their feelings by saying I don’t really want anything that they have. It was simply easier to just say I don't do trades than to deal with all the anxiety of having to deal with it. Now that I have done a few trades, I now have a better understanding of how to go about them and what works for me.
The first time I actually did accept a trade was when someone showed me what they were wanting, then told me what they have and what they were offering. This was much better for me! They were wanting a bracelet, and they offered me a couple bags of candied/sugared almonds. For me, this was a great offer and a great deal. I knew right away what they were offering, and I could tell right off the bat if I wanted it (which I very much did!). I accepted the trade and munched on those almonds all weekend. It was awesome!
The second time I did a trade was with a Vendor friend. I see her often, and we always talk whenever we are at the same events. This time, I actually offered the trade. She had stopped by and was eyeing a couple of my necklaces. Since I was also eyeing a couple of her items, I made the offer to trade necklaces for some of her nerdy potholders. I was happy when she agreed, and we did the trade! We both came out of it with something we were both wanting, which is how a trade should work, for sure!
The most recent trade I did was for a Funko pop figure that I wanted. This was another fellow vendor that I have done several shows with, and I was definitely eyeing this Funko. Since I was trying to be good with my finances, I let him know I will see what I end up with at the end of the day and would let him know. Well, seeing as I had already purchased a mini backpack the previous day, I couldn't justify the extra expense to get the figure I wanted. At the end of the day, he came by with the figure and asked if I was willing to trade for it. I, of course, said Yes! And the figure is now at home with me, and I am happy.
So, my answer to if I am willing to trade is now a Maybe, rather than an outright No. If you come up to me in my booth and just randomly ask if I want to do trades, I will say No. Unless I know you or your booth, or if I already know there is something of yours that I may want, then I don't want to put myself in the position to hurt anyone's feelings and I will just say no. If there is something specific I want or may have my eye on, then I am all for a trade, but I don't think I will seek out trades with people. I don't want to put others in that same position unless they are already interested in my stuff, too.