Youmacon 2019 Review
It's been a long weekend, and I'm finally back from Detroit. This week has honestly been part of the most stressful week I've had in a long time. Working on getting enough stock for a 22,000 attendee convention was pretty huge, for me and I wanted to make sure that my debut in Northern US was a good one.
Sunday, October 27th, I still had not received an email stating where I was going to be in the vendor's hall, or what the load-in/out instructions were. I messaged the Youmacon Facebook page, hoping to receive answers, and was told, "Join our Dealer's Group." Which honestly, should have been emailed when I was first accepted into the convention. My anxiety was already high, and luckily was entered into the group pretty quickly. The layout and the load-in information was there, but had I not known any of this or reached out, I would have been SOL without a booth. I posted on the page asking where my booth was going to be, and they told me to send them a copy of my receipt that I had paid for the booth. That shows poor management on my end. It took 14 hours to receive a response and that was only after I commented on my post asking for one. This was Monday at the time.
I was not the only vendor who had a problem with layout. Just from what I had seen, there were at least 5 people that had a problem with where they had paid for their booth to be, their corner booth, etc. I don't even know about the artist's alley, besides the artist who's work was ripped from the table, despite being approved for where they were. Anyway, that's not my story to tell. I find out Tuesday that the vendor's hall isn't open on Thursday, which meant I could have left later Wednesday and been fine, but alas, I left earlier. I was very lucky and got an Airbnb that was less than 2 miles from the convention. The load-in instructions weren't clear and so I found right as I was trying to park that I would have to pay $15 to park just to unload. This was a bit of a surprise, but I get it? I just wish that someone would have alerted us. What should have been a quick unload turned into a 5 hour ordeal, which is super long for me. I have been at this long enough to be able to unload and set up my booth in about 2 hours. We had to carry our stuff across a parking lot, down an elevator, and halfway across the convention center, and with only two people, it took a lot out of us.
Finally, we were set up, and got out of there, to be told that they didn't have the badges and that we'd have to wait until morning. This is huge because unless your staff has full lists of all the vendors and who goes in with them, the staffers can reject the people who should be in the hall and taken care of. For me it wasn't too difficult since I have that air of importance about me when it comes to vending (lol, I was also tired and didn't want to deal with any crap.) For Friday, it went by pretty well. The hall was open from noon until 8, which surprised me being so late on just a Friday. Alas, I did hear that there were people waiting in lines Friday and Saturday for up to 6 hours just to get their badge, even if they pre-registered. At that point, I really feel as though the convention needs to revamp and ask themselves how to improve. Look at other huge cons and see what they do. Anime Central (Almost 40k attendees) has an option for you to spend a little more money and get the badge shipped to you. I had so many other people agreeing that they should do that. I honestly wouldn't mind paying $5 more to have the badges shipped to me. But that falls on the convention to listen to the attendees and change to be better. My sales could have been better on Friday, but I figure everyone peruses and then comes back on Saturday to buy.
Saturday was honestly worse sales-wise, but that boils down to not being able to get badges for hours and hours. Even though people were disgruntled with the convention, I only ever heard positive compliments to people on their cosplays. I wish I could have gotten photos of everyone, but I unfortunately was reeling from the adrenaline of being at such a big con again. I had a few of my followers tell me how excited they were that I was there and that they could meet me, and honestly, I'm still tearing up that I have such a magnificent fanbase that does love me and my work. I had a gentleman come by on Saturday buy the Whiscash kigu I had made and get so excited for the fact that I even had pokemon that weren't super popular. He got me so pumped up and I honestly loved talking with him. He got a bunch of his friends to come check me out, and I actually had quite a few people do that, which makes me cry at the beautiful positivity we have in this community. I know that it wasn't perfect for some people and I am so so sorry that some had to endure ridicule. It's never okay to make others feel bad for needing mobility aids or being larger or smaller. There's no excuse for it. And I hope the people that did make fun of others feels terrible about what they did and said.
Saturday, I also met this gorgeous person named Sarah. If you're reading this, I would love for you to reach out so we can be friends, because I'm dumb and get intimidated by pretty girls. And at Youma, there were a LOT of pretty girls. /)>//////<(\ anyyyywayyyy. When I wore my Bunny Bakugou, there were literally ONLY compliments. I met some incredible My Hero cosplayers that got photos of me, and with the last of my phone battery, Tolia was able to get a few good hall shots! Hopefully at Daisho, the bunnies going can get photos together as well!
Sunday was an odd day for me. I usually stay until the day after in order to recuperate after the hectic weekend I've had. Unfortunately, my Airbnb did not allow me to stay for the extra day, and Tolia had to work anyway, so I guess it all worked out. The convention was popping on Sunday. So many people came and bought and I think that was the last of the "browsing" crowd. I sold a ton that day and it gives me excuses to make new onesies for the next convention! I also was able to cross off a few new pokemon and I'm so excited to share the updated list with you folks!
Throughout the weekend, I met some incredible people, including the gentleman that talked to me about Borderlands and then gave me his Zer0 pin and turned around and the next day gave me a Maya button as well. My heart is so full with the love and acceptance I received. Unfortunately, there were a lot of people that misgendered me (please use They/Them) but hopefully that can be curbed once my custom lanyard comes in. Other than that, there was mostly good feels.
Besides all the hiccups and drama surrounding the staff that were probably not prepared, this con was pretty fantastic. I am unsure if I want to sell there next year, and hopefully everyone else who attended had a pretty good time.
Plus, if you're ever in Detroit, definitely check out this incredible burger restaurant (they have veggie options!) called Royale with Cheese! The fries were tasty, the filafel burger was so heckin tasty. Their tots were good and if you're a fan of Pulp Fiction, it's a nice place to eat.