With that out of the way, I vended twice in the AA so far and as a mid-size con it's been good, especially if you can keep your costs low ie under 1k. The staff is strict on the no character/media names on any product or signage and checked for it. The con has been at the Gaylord hotel/convention center which is kinda in the middle of nowhere but close to the airport, you'll have to plan accordingly with food and lodging/transportation if you don't get a room at the hotel.
Overall, NDK is the biggest anime con in CO atm and can be quite good if you manage to get a decent table placement and keep costs low.
(Sidenote, something unique about this con is that they're very transparent on how they select artists for their lottery and how they split up the AA by category (print/small goods, handcrafted goods, etc). It's refreshing.)
I tabled back in 2017 for the first time and have had trouble getting into the AA ever since. I'm really not a fan of the lottery system for choosing the AA vendors, but I guess they've been doing it forever so, oh well...
I really cant say anything about the venue or the layout as it has changed quite a bit now, but I can at least comment on the little experience I did have tabling at the con.
I was a brand new convention artist back in 2017, so I made sure I didn't bring a lot of merch with me as I was sure (and had been warned) that new artists don't usually sell a ton. I was surprised though that I did sell out of one of my prints by the end of day one! I had a lot of fan art and only a few pieces of original art back then though. Fan art tends to sell the best, and we all know that. I did manage to break even with all of the cost I had put into the convention vs the sales I made. So I was quite pleased by that for a first convention. The table back then was about $80 to $100 I think? So pretty affordable, I have no clue what the cost is now days though.
I did have a small "theft" incidence with an attendee grabbing one of my prints, but the staff there was very nice and supportive in helping me get it back. It was this whole thing where a person said they lost a print they just bought from me a little earlier and wanted to get a new one without having to pay for another, but I wasn't able to tell them that I wasn't responsible for replacing a print /they/ lost before they grabbed the second one and went away, but it turned out ok.
Attendance was good, there was very little time when there weren't people walking in the AA.
Again though, this was all the experience I had back in 2017. The con could be very different now post COVID.
2017 Load in/Load out was very easy.
2017 AA space was a bit cramped.
In 2017 it was a little confusing where the AA was at first, but we found it.
As an attendee I love this con! There are always fun and interesting panels to attend and lots of cosplayers to take pictures with. It could get a little crowded back in 2015-2017 with the small hotel hallways, but it was never crazy bad.
All my scores reflect the experience I had in 2015-2017.
For me, the layout was great, because regitration, main events, and most of the panel rooms were right in front of us, so AA was easily noticed. I was also facing outward towards the lines, which was even better lol. There are some tables in the back which were facing a wall though, and I don't think even facing the Angelic Pretty pop up shop helped them too much. I'd definitely hate to be stuck in those spots, and thus is the reason I can't quite give the layout 5 stars.
The venue and location of the con is much better now. Albeit we had construction which made it a little difficult to get TO the con, and Taste of Colorado happening that was making everything suuuper crowded, but I don't think it affected attendance all too much. There seemed to be a few hundred more people than there's been in the past since the attendance cap was removed, so I think NDK finally has a chance to really grow.
This con is local for me and I shared hotel with friends, so it was incredibly affordable to attend.
Overall I think NDK is shaping up to be much better, with a bigger Alley and new people getting flushed in, both artists and attendees.