Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cosplacon 2014: Review for Artists



Before I get into the good stuff, here’s some preliminary info. Cosplacon was a teeny tiny show in Jefferson City, MO. This was their third year, and they managed to exponentially increase their attendance compared to last year. When I first heard about them, I thought they’d be more scifi/comic than anime but that’s not really they case. They advertise themselves as an every fandom sort of thing, and they delivered.

This weekend was really weird for me. I was exhausted the entire weekend so most of it was spent trying to stay awake. Not the convention’s fault. I think I came down with something because when I got home, I slept for a day. Ugh, never making a 1 hour commute each day again. NEVER.

Venue

Cosplacon was held in the very nice Capitol Hill Plaza Hotel. Easy access off the state highways and if you’re coming from the north, it was right on the edge of town. No getting lost in city streets! The building was modest but had a clean and very tasteful interior. The hotel staff were very polite. Well, except the one guy behind the loading dock that catcalled me and then spit. Gross.

Parking was not a problem. The hotel had a front lot that never completely filled up. I arrived each morning and was able to find at least one or two spots open around the side. Still a short walk from the doors. They also had their own covered garage accessible from the parking lot. Plenty of room for everyone.

The hotel also had a restaurant and they took our orders AND came around with a food/drink cart every once in a while so vendors didn’t have to leave their booths to get a sandwich or soda. That was awesome. Prices were a little inflated but man that food was good.

Artist/Dealer Space

Both were mixed in the same room that locked each evening. We got approximately 8’x6’ spaces partitioned in the back by tall drapes and each side by the short ones. This always works out better for artist spaces because it gives each booth its own “space” and hides the distractions from the table behind you. There was a generous amount of space in the aisles for walking so it never got crowded. Temperature was comfortable too. The AC ran but we were never frozen out. That's almost a miracle.

The room we were in had direct access to the loading dock, which was around the back side of the building. This would’ve been useful except the ramp at the dock was so steep I couldn’t pull my cart up it. So I went around the front entrance anyway.

The room locked each night and staff were really diligent about getting people out on time and opening the doors for setup on time. There was a ton of room in the aisles and I never felt crowded or crammed. The atmosphere was so chill that I didn’t bother to cover up my stuff at the end of every night. Lazy me.

Variety & Shopping

I only had one chance to check out the entire room and I will say this: there was something for every fandom. Some dealers and artists were the usual anime crowd but there were plenty of things that would appeal to ren fans, scifi, horror, and steampunk. I sat cattycorner to zombie dolls. I stared at them all weekend to make sure they wouldn’t start moving.

I did feel there was an imbalance of print artists, although I can see how it might be difficult to find traditional media artists who cater to such a variety. Most 2D is anime and comic stuff. Craft and 3D media ruled this convention with no shame!

This might be the first show I didn’t trade or buy from any other vendors. Ok, actually I bought an eyemask from a friend to replace the one my dog ate from 2 years ago, but that was it. I just didn’t get the opportunity to meander. :/

Sales

I walked away with pretty much what I anticipated. Which is good because I think I have higher standards than most with what I want to make. ^_^ The weekend did feel a little slow. And by that, I mean there were a lot of times when it was just dead. Now remember, I was exhausted and falling asleep on people talking to me all weekend so maybe it was just my brain.

The room never got crowded or filled up to the point where people were trying to walk past each other, but it had decent traffic. Most of the time, traffic trickled in as panels ended. The busiest times the entire weekend were the first 2 hours on Friday and the last 2 hours on Sunday, I think I made a majority of my sales during those 2 points.

I didn’t make any big sales, which is pretty unusual. Judging by the big spender achievement (I’ll explain) neither did most others. The convention was doing a little game where people could earn achievement for prizes through the convention. One of them was the big spender achievement, where a person had to spend at least $50. If this happened, the vendor would call it out and a staff member would come sign the program booklet. I maybe heard a big spender callout 2 dozen times.

Most of the sales I made and saw were the small ones. Two buttons at a time, the $5 clip at a table, a bookmark. I believe I used the phrase “nickel and diming the weekend away” for a previous convention. In the end, sales all around were good.

Ok so I debated writing this part but it’s a pretty objective assessment. Mid Missouri is poor as dirt. Oh, but the convention’s in the capitol city! Yeah, still poor. I live here and I’m telling you, a majority of the people around here are not coming from homes with a lot of disposable income. That might explain why small dollar items did better. No one wants to drop half the money they saved (or that mom gave them) on a $40 plush when they need it the rest of the weekend for snacks and all that other cool stuff they might spot. If this is you, don’t be offended. I'm poor as dirt too. :D

Attendees

I really felt like everyone that attended was genuinely appreciative of the convention as a whole. There’s not much nerdage out here in the dust. The closest big cities are all college towns but it’s safe to say most people come from the smaller cities like Fayette, Troy, Mexico and Ashland. Places that wouldn’t even know what to do with a comic book store if it opened down the street.

There was a lack of the usual screaming and squeeing, although just a teeny bit. And the cosplays! Oh the cosplays! It’s not called Cosplacon for nothing! The most elaborate, original creations were walking around and I completely failed to photograph any of it. But you know what I do? Hit up Honeysuckle Rose Creation’s Facebook page to see them all. She gets a pic of every cosplay to walk by so I sorta just rely on her to take all the pictures. 

Overall a very enjoyable, mild crowd. Lots of families and teens.

Staff

Fives stars. The end.

Just kidding, there’s more. So usually at a show, you get your individual in charge of the vendors. You might see them once or twice when you get your badge and again if you have a problem, but that’s pretty much it. Once in a while, you’ll spot a rogue volunteer who won’t know how to answer your questions or help you.

Not at Cosplacon. The vendors hall had its own army of staff as well as Rodney floating around every hour or so, checking on each individual vendor. Rodney held a pop wow every morning to keep us up to date. The staff coordinated with the hotel to feed us, which was the greatest thing ever. They brought us water and were the best to work with. I didn’t have a single problem all weekend. Five stars. Now the end.

Final Verdict

This is definitely a convention I will come back for. It’s close to home, very nice and super well organized. Rodney and the staff rock and they really went out of their way to take care of everyone. I hope to see it grow bigger and bigger.

Next year I’ll get a freaking hotel instead of driving every day. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so tired.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Conventions this weekend!

So I'm doing a first: hitting up two events in one weekend. I will personally be at Cosplacon in Jefferson City, MO Thurs-Sun while I'm sending mah bff Michelle to Teen Fandom Con in St. Charles, MO.

Had some trouble splitting my stock as well as trying to provide displays for both shows so if you're going to TFC you're probably not going to see much. I've only supplied Michelle with 1-2 of each print and a couple of each bookmarks. I'm not even sure I gave her 2 dozen pieces of jewelry. :/ Oh well!

I hope you guys can stop by either location to see what's new!

There's a bunch of new stuff if you're actually coming to Jeff City. Everything from Calcifer earrings, Last Airbender character bookmarks, and new prints! Here's one I just finished yesterday for this weekend. Jinx, the Loose Canon from League of Legends.


The review for Cosplacon should be up by next week but for now, I have a thousand buttons to punch and lots of packing!