Oh boy, this post has been a long-time coming because, as I’m sure anyone reading this or searching for this info already knows, A-kon 28 was kind of a shit show. My ass did fine, lower than expected and lower than normal AND lower than last year, but fine. But fine =/= good and mama has bills to pay.
I feel partially to blame, you know? Last year I had an amazing time at A-kon. It was my best convention profit-wise, I met new people and had a ton of fun! And then, I told everyone about it! I said, “Oh it’s worth it! Definitely go, best Alley ever! It’s also just so much fun!!” Well, friends, please don’t murder me! For this year, it was a bit different. It was still a ton of fun (for me) because I live in New York, and all my friends and family live in Texas, so I was able to see friends I don’t usually see and make some new ones and spend the weekend with my lovely sister. But the sales were no bueno.
It was pretty easy setting up and checking in. The Alley staff had plenty of volunteers to guide you through the checkout table and help you find your space. They took my things over for me while I finished checking in- which was really nice! When I got to my table, however, I was confused, because myself, Precious Bbyz, and Starlight Deco Dream were all supposed to be 3 in a row, and we didn’t fit, which meant someone on either side of us was in the wrong place. The Artist Alley staff were really helpful getting the person in the wrong spot to move so that we had our full Kawaii Alley~ BUT I do think the signage was a bit confusing and the map released to the public was a bit difficult to read.
Our location was fine, but as everyone had heard by now, location didn’t really make a difference due to 1. the sheer size of the Alley and 2. the narrowness of the rows. Combine that with the big black backdrops and it ended up being pretty difficult to maneuver the Alley- it was always congested, and mostly people were furstratedly trying to get themselves OUT of the Alley. I’m sure it’s obvious why that was an issue.
Honestly, I have such a long long long ass list of issues with A-kon that it’s been exhausting trying to think about writing this post- the pricing of corner booths with twice as much space, the hours, trash and water (too much, too little respectively), space, being near vendors, it goes on and on.
This was not my least profitable convention ever, but it was definitely down from last year, and far below what I expected to make. But word on the street was that a lot of artist- including really big, well-known ones- were having trouble and maybe did not break even in the end.
I think being a plush artist, and also having some new wearable items, really prevented me from being too screwed. Having smellygirl pins helped, as well, though I didn’t count those into my Ugly Plants profit. That being said, I don’t think we received the attention and traffic we are used to- me or my neighbor Precious Bbyz. I remember being swamped on Friday when the con opened last year and nearly having a panic attack (narrowly avoided thanks to my lovely sister Sonia). There was no such experience this year!
It goes without saying that I’ll be attending this con again. Consistently A-kon is the most fun con to attend- it’s my friend-con! I always meet new people and see familiar faces, and I got to see all my best buds who live in Texas (and me a lone hot dog in NYC) so for me, it’s a fun, drunk convention.
I can’t say much for the panels- I feel like there weren’t any good ones or any we were interested in. Also, who the fuck ends a rave at 1AM?? It was really cool being in a bigger space (including a water garden for the rave to spill out onto) but it feels like it was impossible to see EVERYTHING if you wanted to, as a result. But I can’t really complain, because I don’t really come to see things.
I need to find it in my heart to write about Mechacon, and then I have a few blogy blog posts planned, but the best place to keep up with Ugly Plants updates is still my instagram.