Good- For its themes, Nijicon is VERY welcoming and a safe place, that's really wonderful to have especially in today climate, (Prayer for America ya'll). The staff was equally both parts pleasant and adorable (they were so happy i just.). The convention is easy to access from hotel (there's a shuttle yo! Also the hotels are in the same like block so its no hassle). Check in was easy and the Alley had LOADS of space, so you can throw your shit and not hit your partner. Bless Lord Beerus. These are the benefits of a smaller show, you don't need to have the Sorcerer Stone in order to check in and set up. Get your shit and go.
There's food everywhere so if you didn't want to eat the convention food you can straight walk out and up 300 ft to a burger joint. I didn't do that because I'm old and I was strangely sick all weekend?
All the artists at the show were goddamn delights. All of them, they were polite and eager and helpful, there was a great sense of togetherness with everyone there. A wonderful array of talents were on display and very diverse which I fucking love. I loved talking to them and working around them it was very nice and cozy. We were like peas in pods. The layout was easy to navigate and the bathrooom was nearby and clean!! (that's important yo!) The expo staff was very nice too, everyone in PA is really nice...I wasn't prepared for the nice.
This is where the warm fuzzies stop.
Bad-Holy Christ the Expo center tho, I've seen creepier shit but this expo center was somewhere between Zombie escape route and abandoned set location for the 1993 Power Rangers show. The set up of the parking lot was designed by someone who looked at the box from Hellraiser that or people straight didn't give a fuck and shouted 'I will die gloriously on Fury Road.' which is fine. Do you. Parking lot was still better than all of DC streets tho.
We were also by a sewage plant...and a store called The Dumps. So brava to the people who set all that up because that's fucking hilarious and perfect. (technically that alone should be in the Good column because I giggled like a dork)
Now I don't know how expos centers work but I'd assume it be the same as a convention center right? Well we had 3 shows in 1 center. I believe a woman's empowerment shopping show and some sort of holistic light show. Listen, I don't even know. But the ladies of the shopping show were nice and confused by all the male cartoon porn. At least they were to me, I tend to smile at everyone because smiling is contagious.
The con itself is SMALL, no you don't understand it is S M A L L, like maybe 50-100 people and I'm being very generous because I'm sure it was less than that. A convention of that size did NOT belong in an expo of that size. It could have easily fit into a single hotel but I understand that shit can be expensive af. Bless the staff for trying to bring people into the show but holy shit bro.
I swore I was going in as a Artist and I became a Vendor??? I wasn't sure WHERE in Moffat WAS the Dealer's Room which I believe the AA BECAME the Dealer's Room which y'know...is cool? I was a Dealer for once in my con life. The tables were long as my dick, about 8ft by 2ft?? But they were uncovered and with crackly splintered wood. Special thanks to DV and Sata for being sweet babies and bringing extra cloth because we would've been fucked up that weekend without the cloth.
With the con being so bloody small you'd expect the sales to be asstactular? But no, sales for me were pretty fucking good, some were from attendees and most were from fellow artists. I long expected that with a con as small as Nijicon that I wouldn't pull in my usual numbers but I exceeded my small con lower goal by about 500 so it was a success for me. But I think I was very lucky. The mood for many of the artist/vendors dimmed a bit because we weren't getting alot of people to our area and that was disheartening.
Needs Improvement- Promotion, Promotion, Promotion. When you're a con of Nijicon's size you need to funnel money into getting the word out there and I know that's hard but its essential. Especially when dealing with the themes of the convention (people can get weird y'know?) but hooking up with a local LGBTAQ+ club, a Barnes and Noble? Something to help get the word out more than just using twitter and FB would help. I think the sisters might need to reach out to fellow conventions in or around that area that's willing to help. I'm sure there's help there. But I know nothing about cons so idk.
Its a hell of a spot to be in, you have to pay for promotion and promotion can cost so much more money probably more than the entire convention but you need promotion for your convention to get money!?! But I think they can do it, they just have to ask for help and I'm sure they'll get it. The passion is there but sometimes its not enough.
Now the real question, is it WORTH going to Nijicon? At the moment-Only and I stress this ONLY if you're local. Its not worth the travel/monetary for us out of state artists to go unless you're going to have fun then yes! By all means go to hang out and smooze with other artpeeps.
Like I said I was lucky but I don't think it will be cost effective for me to make another return in 2017 but we'll see. I would certainly go as a booth babe or even share a space but yeah.
Nijicon has room to grow beautifully and I want to see it thrive, I want to support them so badly so I'm hoping after this year they go back into the shop and tweak things for 2017.