Awesome Con

Awesome Con Review
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mt. Vernon PI NW
Washington, DC 20001
May 29-31, 2015 | Table Cost: $250
(10 votes)
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What people say... 10 Leave your rating
Mediocre show
This is a very expensive show for attendees to go to, each autograph and photo op adds up really fast, and with such a large guestlist most people aren't coming in to peruse the (too large) artist alley. I don't think they have the attendance they're claiming either with how incredibly slow/empty the hallway was the entire time the convention was open.
Sales were dismal, I sell fanart prints and while I'm not a big artist I usually do better. I talked to some of the industry artists who were also around and we all agreed it was incredibly mediocre and absolutely sucked. If you're local it might be worth going to, but you will have a very boring weekend. I was able to have my laptop and tablet out to draw on my table because there was nothing happening the weekend.

Staff was very nice the few interactions I had, and set up was easy. Layout seems O K for attendees, but bad for sales. Hall is so large most people are tired of walking through about halfway or even sooner so they don't really get through everything. Attendees not looking to buy from artist mostly looking for free swag exhibitor booths/official merch like shirts, figures, etc. Or they're spending all on photo ops/autographs.
May 2, 2019, 12:26 pm
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Expensive experiences for guests = not as much money being spent
My merch is mostly original accessories and a few fan art items. I want to put out there that I did a number of cost saving things like: I stayed with a friend instead of hotel, I shared a table with another artist, and I only live a couple hours away so travel wasn't too expensive. All of that factored into my bottom line so I know these might be reasons I still walked away with profit.

However its a HUGE show and it can be overwhelming for lots of guests. Lots of very big names from very big media were there and I'm sure that factored into guests wanting to spend less and use that money to meet their favorite actors. I attended in 2017 and came back and did the same setup in 2018 and it really illuminated some differences in guest spending. It was slow in 2018, which I hadn't experienced previously. The year before I almost sold out of my most popular items, but this year I feel like people really pulled back. I think the con moved the entrance to the show floor to a different end of the hall, and because it was closer to the vendors and not the artist alley, it seemed like it took a long time for guest to funnel to the other side where we were. Friday has been slow but things pick up by Sat-Sun, and I notice quite a lot of other artist alley vendors come to buy each other's stuff. There are a LOT of us, so it could be that there is a bit of saturation in the market there.

I will say that I think original art/work does pretty well at this con, and people are really interested in non-fandom things just as much as their favorite fandoms.

Overall I didn't need to deal with staff all that much so I can't speak for that but it wasn't very difficult to get in and set up or take down. The hours are not too bad, about 10am-5pm for most days. I've done 12 hour days at other conventions, so that's nice to have a "regular work day" schedule. Getting to the con and parking can be frustrating if you aren't familiar with Washington D.C. traffic and parking but its a giant convention in a big city so there are parking decks and hotels near by.

In the end i made less than the year before, but I did still make a profit. Attendees are nice and enthusiastic and the con works to make it an accessible venue for all. Since its a con that covers all kinds of media (books, comics, tv, movies, video games, etc.) its easy to sell, since there's something for everyone there.
May 5, 2018, 8:30 pm
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1
Expensive experiences for guests = not as much money being spent
My merch is mostly original accessories and a few fan art items. I want to put out there that I did a number of cost saving things like: I stayed with a friend instead of hotel, I shared a table with another artist, and I only live a couple hours away so travel wasn't too expensive. All of that factored into my bottom line so I know these might be reasons I still walked away with profit.

However its a HUGE show and it can be overwhelming for lots of guests. Lots of very big names from very big media were there and I'm sure that factored into guests wanting to spend less and use that money to meet their favorite actors. I attended in 2017 and came back and did the same setup in 2018 and it really illuminated some differences in guest spending. It was slow in 2018, which I hadn't experienced previously. The year before I almost sold out of my most popular items, but this year I feel like people really pulled back. I think the con moved the entrance to the show floor to a different end of the hall, and because it was closer to the vendors and not the artist alley, it seemed like it took a long time for guest to funnel to the other side where we were. Friday has been slow but things pick up by Sat-Sun, and I notice quite a lot of other artist alley vendors come to buy each other's stuff. There are a LOT of us, so it could be that there is a bit of saturation in the market there.

I will say that I think original art/work does pretty well at this con, and people are really interested in non-fandom things just as much as their favorite fandoms.

Overall I didn't need to deal with staff all that much so I can't speak for that but it wasn't very difficult to get in and set up or take down. The hours are not too bad, about 10am-5pm for most days. I've done 12 hour days at other conventions, so that's nice to have a "regular work day" schedule. Getting to the con and parking can be frustrating if you aren't familiar with Washington D.C. traffic and parking but its a giant convention in a big city so there are parking decks and hotels near by.

In the end i made less than the year before, but I did still make a profit. Attendees are nice and enthusiastic and the con works to make it an accessible venue for all. Since its a con that covers all kinds of media (books, comics, tv, movies, video games, etc.) its easy to sell, since there's something for everyone there.
May 5, 2018, 8:30 pm
Overall
Venue
Staff
Layout
Attendance
Affordability
0
1
Expensive experiences for guests = not as much money being spent
My merch is mostly original accessories and a few fan art items. I want to put out there that I did a number of cost saving things like: I stayed with a friend instead of hotel, I shared a table with another artist, and I only live a couple hours away so travel wasn't too expensive. All of that factored into my bottom line so I know these might be reasons I still walked away with profit.

However its a HUGE show and it can be overwhelming for lots of guests. Lots of very big names from very big media were there and I'm sure that factored into guests wanting to spend less and use that money to meet their favorite actors. I attended in 2017 and came back and did the same setup in 2018 and it really illuminated some differences in guest spending. It was slow in 2018, which I hadn't experienced previously. The year before I almost sold out of my most popular items, but this year I feel like people really pulled back. I think the con moved the entrance to the show floor to a different end of the hall, and because it was closer to the vendors and not the artist alley, it seemed like it took a long time for guest to funnel to the other side where we were. Friday has been slow but things pick up by Sat-Sun, and I notice quite a lot of other artist alley vendors come to buy each other's stuff. There are a LOT of us, so it could be that there is a bit of saturation in the market there.

I will say that I think original art/work does pretty well at this con, and people are really interested in non-fandom things just as much as their favorite fandoms.

Overall I didn't need to deal with staff all that much so I can't speak for that but it wasn't very difficult to get in and set up or take down. The hours are not too bad, about 10am-5pm for most days. I've done 12 hour days at other conventions, so that's nice to have a "regular work day" schedule. Getting to the con and parking can be frustrating if you aren't familiar with Washington D.C. traffic and parking but its a giant convention in a big city so there are parking decks and hotels near by.

In the end i made less than the year before, but I did still make a profit. Attendees are nice and enthusiastic and the con works to make it an accessible venue for all. Since its a con that covers all kinds of media (books, comics, tv, movies, video games, etc.) its easy to sell, since there's something for everyone there.
May 5, 2018, 8:30 pm
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Needs more attendees per table.
I'm local to the area so try to go to all the cons within driving distance, since it's pretty easy to make a profit without having to pay for a hotel.

I skipped 2016 at Awesomecon since they raised table rates $50 for two years in a row, and with middling profit for a 3 day con last year I decided it would be cutting profits too close to invest.

I went in 2014 and had a nice enough time, though it was slow so I want again the next year hoping to do a little better. They hugely expanded the number of AA tables in 2015 and almost everyone I asked said they had trouble making any profit at all. The customers were just spread too thin, too many tables without enough money coming through. It also hurt that people had to go through the exhibitor area before hitting AA, so some had light wallets by the time they made it to my table. Many customers were just passing through to get to autographs anyways.

Getting cell reception to accept card payments was a consistent problem, but not too uncommon in conventions in general. The walk to even get to the hall was ridiculous, and half the time we didn't even know where we were going and just had to get lucky asking other AA members where to go. Badges were hard to find, and even when we did it was only after a lengthy and out of the way walk to the loading docks (which we hadn't entered through).

I'd consider going again in the future, but maybe when attendance is much higher. As it is, the table cost is high and for other conventions of similar table price I can make two or three times as much. Would not recommend to a newbie unless you're okay losing money in exchange for exposure.
June 14, 2016, 8:32 pm
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2
It's a slow starter, but not terrible
I went in expecting this con to be a wash, and it wasn't. For its size, sales were incredibly depressed, which I chalk up to a number of factors, including a huge wave of celebrity guests with expensive autograph sessions, as well as too many vendors by at least half. (There were over six hundred of us. I suspect that our numbers were used to purchase the likes of Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman.) This was a seriously slow selling con for much of its duration. I hadn't even made costs back until late on Saturday. The wait was worth it, though. Sunday accounted for nearly half my sales, which I assume happened because Capaldi finally showed up.

Large chunks of the show seemed over-controlling. Hand trucks were banned outside of very specific load-in times. There was a sixty-four page manual, though most of it was full of forms for hiring the unions contracted to the hall. We got the manual and table layout only three weeks before the show, both of which would have been enough to give me pause if I hadn't paid for the table nearly a year before.

I turned a profit, but it was a lot of effort, and with a $300 table, a semi-questionable investment. I may do it again next year, but I worry it will have continued to grow while not providing growing profit.
June 7, 2016, 6:08 pm
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Ironic choice of name
I've arrived to set up the day before the convention opened and there were no artist alley tables set yet (or signs with the row numbers, so finding my spot took quite some figuring out. No con staff either, only the people setting up tables who apparently didn't know anything about... anything...)
I flew there from out of state and I only wanted to get over with the set up to have a chance to check the city out. However I had to wait 1&1/2hs to set up.
Then had to find the organizers to get my badge, I hadn't seen it during my wait time or set up time. They were in the loading deck, which I didn't use. I've almost missed them and apparently it was my fault (?). Other friends had the same issue.
Sales were terrible. There were way too many artists/vendors and that the public completely ignored the tables to run to the autographs.
Oh, and they were also blocking the phone internet signal so people had to pay for overpriced wifi. I thought it was weird during the con (I had phone signal but not internet), but I've found out about it on an article months after that (I've been looking for it but I can't find it, it would be cool if somebody can share it).
Another annoying thing is that they spam you like no other con to try to get you to pay for extra services. It's ridiculous.
Only highlight, there was a nice volunteer that checked up on us and cover me for a bit to take a bathroom break.
I've talked to a staff representative who came by my table at another convention to try to sell me a table for 2016. Told him the issues and he said "I've heard some people didn't do so well, maybe next year we will make the hallways narrower so people will have to pay attention to tables". The guy was super nice, but his solution... is not really a solution. Hard pass on doing this one again unless I heard *great* things about the next few editions.
February 25, 2016, 2:15 pm
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Worst convention I have ever been to.
Too many vendors and artists. The room was very large for very little attendance. Lots of bootleg items being sold. Never saw staff so I can't comment on them. Way to go to the sales and marketing team behind getting artists to purchase space- they polished that turd. Would not recommend this show to anyone I like.
December 7, 2015, 7:07 am
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3
Growing Pains
Location: VendorExhibitor Booths
Pros: Large Show, Friendly Staff
Cons: Confusing layout, Too many vendors for the number of attendees, Parking nightmare

Overall the convention wasn't too bad. It seemed that the staff had done a great job in expanding the convention and the number of vendors, but vendor growth outpaced attendee growth significantly.

The vendorexhibitor area was a maze of islands and attendees regularly admitted to getting lost. The artist alley area seemed cramped, though I was in the vendor section. The vendor area also included a number of corporate vendors, i.e. Sprint, etc. and distracted attendees from the creative vendors.

Parking helped you to get your exercise for the day; there is no parking area associated with the convention center and as such I found myself walking multiple blocks each day to and from the convention.
October 22, 2015, 11:00 pm
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3
"Awesome" is kind of generous
Not nearly as awesome as I was led to believe. Sales were sloooow, and each one was like pulling teeth. I'm sure having a lousy spot had something to do with it (we were near a particularly loud and obnoxious corporate vendor), but I think most people just weren't in a spending mood. The show had a very same-old, same-old feel to it; the same vendors you see at every east coast con, lots of the same guests, and no real sense of excitement on the show floor. That's not to say it was a "bad" con -- the venue was fine and it seemed to be competently run -- but would I do it again? Eh, maybe, but not if there was a sizeable, competing show on the same weekend.
October 10, 2015, 3:13 am
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2

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