Wowwwww has it ever been a whirlwind! I got back a few days ago from AnimeNEXT, which I left for only a few days after getting back from A-kon 27! I do not recommend!! Actually I’m lying, it was cool to meet a few artists doing the same, and I would consider this sort of tight schedule again. It was awesome seeing what limits and expectations of myself I could push 😛 Sort of. It was also hell. Awesome self-inflicted hell.
I’d like to give a more in-depth review a shot, since when I’m searching for conventions to attend, any reviews are extremely helpful and the more recent the better ;-; I’ll divide these reviews into 3 categories: Logistics (organization, setup, AA staff, etc), Performance (Sales, customers, general ~feel), and Overall Convention (A-kon is hecka fun yo!)
It was really easy to check in to A-kon. I can’t speak to this compared to previous years, but this year it was simple and hassle-free. I walked up to the table and showed a copy of my Texas Sales Tax ID and got my stuff, basically! I had ordered an extra badge which I did not receive at first, but all I had to do was show my PayPal invoice for that to easily be resolved.
In general, the staff was super helpful. I’ve hear negative things before but didn’t experience any of that. They’re no-nonsense which leads to a relatively smoothly run event. Like, they were diligent in asking if we as artists needed breaks or water, letting us know of scammers, and making sure we were just generally not losing our shit. The announcements over the loud-speaker were great too and I couldn’t do them justice by trying to repeat them here but definitely kept the atmosphere light and jovial, even if it was generally in regards to people losing clothing, wallets, or loved ones heh.
Location-wise, we ended up being in a corner, which was pretty cramped. It was pretty cramped being on the end in general, but it wasn’t a huge deal. Everyone managed. We were along a direct route to the dealer’s room, so we got a lot of foot traffic but I’m not sure that it would have made a huge difference if we were anywhere else. That is to say, I think there was just tons of foot traffic overall.
I ended up (essentially) selling out at this con, and the general mood in the room seemed that everyone was doing comparably well. I brought everything I was able to stuff into 2 giant suitcases, and in the future would bring more. Selling out of course isn’t bad, but it’s a sign that I could have had more inventory. When people come up to you and ask “ahhhhh are you out of X?” it’s like “dang….if I wasn’t, how much more would I have made this weekend??”
That being said, my goals were exceeded. I think everyone I talked to was doing well, too. Ding dang it I think it was just a good con all around! Everyone was in a good mood, and people were very open to spending. My impression is that the A-kon artist alley has a really really good reputation which makes it more of a draw and an attraction, so people definitely are looking to buy from the AA specifically. And why not- the variety and curation at this event is on point. I saw so many amazing artists that I knew and even more that I hadn’t heard of yet.
In general, this was a really fun A-kon. I got to see basically every con-going buddy I have, from states over and from different cities and from my home-town, and I met new people too which is like a win win win. I got too turnt Friday night and had to simmer down most of the rest of the weekend, but it’s cool to go to a con where everyone is on the same page…page 666 in which there is only one sentence: “it’s lit.” So it was a fun con, and I think an environment like that is pretty A+++ in its impact on the Artist Alley.
It was my first year at this con (and this is my first convention review) so I’m not 100% on certain things I should be looking out for, but as far as a fist A-kon went it was a great experience that I hope I’m able to repeat next year.
My next terrible write-up will be about AnimeNEXT which is now over a week ago and I’m just extremely behind in literally everything but I assure you- it’s on the way.