As for the vendor side of things: I ended up claiming a forfeited table after waiting for 5 hours outside the hall lmaaaooo. So I can't even tell you what most people went thru. I ended selling at around 4pm on Friday after setting up.
I don't know what it is about this con, but attendees go all out on buying ANYTHING they like. It was so busy all 3 days, with only a few moments of down-time. I ended up having to bring more stuff from my house after selling out of so many things on Saturday. I ended up making around 4k for the whole weekend.
Also all of the attendees were so kind even though they went through the most frustrating experience possible for a convention. So hat's off to them <3
Will Youmacon happen next year? Who knows. I can only hope as a local that it does and comes back with better organization skills.
However, the con staff are extremely disorganized and it does hurt the vending experience. For one thing, applications didn't open until two months before the con when in the past they happened in March, which left a lot of artists scrambling to procure merchandise for the show upon receiving their acceptances a month or less before the first day of the con. For another thing, they didn't actually tell the venue that vendor/AA setup was happening on Thursday, and so exhibitors were sleeping in their cars and waiting for up to 7 hours in the line for the load-in docks. Also, as usual, there were no numbers attached to any of the tables, which meant that people set up in the wrong spots and it was also very hard to make sure that people could find your booth since there was no publicly shared artist alley floormap and there was literally zero indication of what number each row was. Staff were nice when I did see them around, but their presence was basically nonexistent past setup and they didn't actually enforce the 50/50 policy (as usual). The quality and diversity of the artist alley was great, but a lot of the artist booths there were proxies, which I guess makes sense for how little time the con gave smaller artists to actually get anything prepared for the con. There's also other issues with how the con is run overall, but this is just the stuff that was immediately noticeable to me.
Overall, I would do this con again as long as it continues to be a great moneymaker, but I'm not sure how much longer that trend will last. I at least hope that it'll either improve organizationally in the future or that a better-run anime con will overtake it as Michigan's biggest anime con in the future.
The sales is amazing !!! Like I have been busy none stop and attandees are really kind to me.
Youmacon will be better if they organized abit better but it is a great profit con even you fly in.
Pros: All that said- it was still one of my best cons of the year. Great variety of artists with lots of interest in prints and small merch alike. Traffic wasn't exactly constant, but when it was busy it was BUSY. Also- grocery shops within walking distance of nearby hotels are super handy to save on food. I'd also like to add that after their sister con MMX was canceled, I and a lot of other artists were given tables at this con (or offered a refund- whichever we preferred) which I thought was very generous of them. Application, set-up, and staff are an issue, but if you can weather all that, it is worth it!
The staff was much more friendly this year than in the past (when, as other reviewers have noted, they would literally yell at people). It's a huge AA so they don't really stop by and give you any personal attention, but I am completely fine with that.
The venue is very clean and spacious, but be sure to bring your own snacks and water because the prices of food there are among the most ridiculous I have seen.
Compared to other cons, it seems like many attendees treat this as THE convention of the year and are very willing to spend money on things they like. Make sure your display has good visibility from afar too, because the AA area is huge and there is a ton of visual competition.
-Communication is always just about non-existent between you and the staff before the event. They still didn't reply to any emails I sent asking for the hours, loading and setup information etc,, but at least it was posted on their AA Facebook group this time. They also sent out a scary email before the convention saying that if you didn't reply within 24 hours you would lose your spot, which was terrifying and seemingly came out of nowhere. Later they said this was a mistake, but it was very jarring nonetheless.
-The hours listed in the program and on their Facebook were wrong and said it was opening a full hour earlier than it actually did. This is pretty annoying as an extra hour in the morning before such a huge day makes a difference.
-Although it seems steep at $125, the size of the convention justifies the price for your table. HOWEVER, this does NOT include a helper badge, and you also can not purchase a helper badge at the same time you buy your table. They also do not offer a special rate for a helper badge- it is still the full price for the convention, $75. They tell you to purchase it onsite when you get there, but they ONLY accept cash and do not offer a receipt. This is a big deal for people who pay taxes since no proof= can't claim it. Parking is also $10 per day at the venue. When you add all of these up the overall cost is getting pretty steep.
Although there is still room for improvement, the experience was much smoother this year than in the past. Even with all of the hiccups and annoyances, it's still Youmacon, and no other conventions in Michigan rival can rival it.
If you ever have a question or need clarification on anything, don't expect to get it from any staff members. The website is never updated with useful things like a map showing where the artist/dealer room is or where to load and unload. I had to repeatedly sift through Facebook comments to piece together what was supposed to happen (yes, comments by attendees, not even official posts).
When you arrive, expect to be scowled at and looked down upon, the staff didn't even feign friendliness and made it clear that you are nothing but an annoyance. The reviewer who mentioned a staff member screaming at attendees to "go back to Kindergarten" if they couldn't form a clean line was not exaggerating at all. I couldn't believe she thought it was okay to speak (or rather shout) at people like that.
The application process can also be stressful- I was on the wait list one year, and they notified the day before the convention that I was accepted. Needless to say, that year I did not attend, because one day is not enough notice. Last year there were empty tables peppered throughout the AA, while several artists I know were turned down without explanation and told it was full.
The only reason I will do Youmacon again is because the large attendance is enough to overcome the horrific organization and rude staff members.
The staff for my second year were amazing! I feel like they really tried to help everyone to the best of their ability. The layout was LIGHTYEARS better this year as well. Attendance is always very high as well - again an odd crowd though since there are some younger kids with no budget.