[BUSINESS | PERSONAL] March Conventions – Part 1 – U-Con @ UConn

March was a busy convention month last year. It turned out to be busy once again with two conventions: U-Con @ UConn and Fubuki Con! Last year, both conventions were great. U-Con was amazing for sales and I expected to do similar this year. Fubuki Con was, by far, the friendliest and kindest convention I have been to and I was hoping for the same sort of experience this year.

Before U-Con @ UConn

I LOVED U-Con @ UConn last year, despite things that had happened last year around that time for me. I was really looking forward to attending once more. However, there already appeared to be trouble:

  • there was only one person running the convention (although, I am under the impression it was two by the time the convention actually rolled around)
  • they were trying to make it a 3-day convention, instead of a 2-day
  • they lost HALF the ballroom to another event that Saturday, so they moved the half that lost (which included me) to MOVE to another room for Saturday only

I still had confidence though in the convention.

U-Con @ UConn

Friday

Icy cold air greeted Hurricane and me as we stepped out from my car, which I had parked in the far back of the parking lot that was free last year. We rolled my overstuffed cart down the slight slope and, after my items falling off several times no matter how we stacked them, we decided just to drive my car up to the convention center and send Hurricane inside, ahead of me. I went back to my car, drove over to Hurricane where we had last stopped, and we drove to the convention itself.

After Hurricane went inside with most of the items, I drove to the parking garage. I parked on the floor just before the roof parking and carried an overstuffed bag, a giant pocket folder, and the dang banner tube all the way down the stairs and to the Student Union Building (I think that is what it was called).

I found Hurricane and noticed he was sitting at the wrong table. I went to go double-check and…yep, he got the wrong table. I struggled to put everything together. Hurricane mostly sat there, playing his 3DS. I didn’t expect him to really help me — usually I end up changing everything and it’s a lot easier not to have help to set up the booth. I know that sounds weird…but I’m picky, okay?!

Eventually I settled down and…well, I was stressed. I know Hurricane was moody, so that didn’t help. I also had this lingering feeling that…this convention…wasn’t going to be anywhere as great as last year. I could tell by the panels (there were barely any). I could tell by the fact we already had to move spaces. I could tell by the fact Vendors Alley closed at 4.

It’s a Friday. At a small convention. Most convention attendees, I would assume, would not be coming until after 5 PM.

Sales were sluggish. I think I may have sold like…two items?? I was disappointed, but I still held on with hope. Saturday was coming! Would it be better?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that, at the very last moment, we were told that EVERYONE, including the right-side (the side I was not on) of the ballroom had to pack up and STORE THEIR STUFF.

NO ONE was happy. People had to somewhat dismantle their displays. They asked me if I wanted to move my own table to the other side so I didn’t have to move back on Sunday, but I decided, naaah, I wanted to go into the Artist Alley room with the other artist. Yep.

I’m still not sure if that was a good decision or not. I’ll admit, after Arisia Con, I am more concerned with where I sit than anything.

Saturday

I LOVED the spacing they did for Saturday. I saw someone from work, who I already knew was going to be there. We got to talk to some awesome people. I got to see people from last year, some who bought even more works from me! I also got to briefly see my friends.

As for sales…eh, they were okay. I kept feel really discouraged. I really wanted a similar profit to last year, but nope. I wasn’t getting that. I think I just barely made back the table.

It also felt, too, that the convention was a lot quieter and lackluster than last year. Maybe it’s because it was my second time going, but my first time, it felt really fleshed out. I think it has the potential to be, but too many bad things happened this year for it to work out well for them.

Sunday

Last year, Saturday and Sunday was free parking on campus.

Saturday this year, there was free parking on campus.

On Friday, when I parked in the garage, I could actually pay with my card.

Sunday this year? No free parking. No card. Cash only.

Why?

All because of a STUPID BASKETBALL GAME. Hurricane and I were FURIOUS. FURIOUS. I wish we AT LEAST HAD A WARNING ABOUT THE BASKETBALL GAME. But NOPE. NO WARNING. NO WARNING AT ALL. I was FUMING. I didn’t want to pay with money from my cash box. I wanted to pay with my card that day, assuming I even had to pay for parking. Which I was expecting not to. Even though I was going to a convention that was completely unrelated to a sport, I still had to go through the procedure. I was just really upset because we were not informed ahead of time and we were already running late.

When we got inside, we moved our stuff, and set up. I was still fuming, but I calmed down a bit as the convention started more.

Again, it was disappointing.

Yep.

Barely any sales (I DID make up for what I lost for parking…I think?).

I don’t even think my friends attended that day. If they did, I certainly didn’t see them.

Hurricane got upset because he was trying to show his videos, but he was constantly being rejected or ignored.

I think the happiest thing that day was loading my car up.

After U-Con

I was disappointed with the convention this year. Everything felt very lackluster. However, everything also felt like it had potential as well. Call me crazy, but I actually think U-Con @ UConn COULD succeed as a 3-day convention. It is potentially a great starter convention for those who have never gone and a good smaller convention for those who are missing that kind of atmosphere. It also is great for people who are trying to get a bit money earlier in the year, whether that is to help fund their businesses or their personal needs. It is great when it is run smoothly. It was not this year, although I hate to put the blame on anyone. TWO PEOPLE, just TWO PEOPLE, planned out the entire thing and did their best to secure the convention spaces. When they could not secure a space 100%, they compromised, making sure the convention still could happen. I honestly think most of the convention was just bad timing.

I hope the convention can continue next year and come back stronger. MUCH stronger.

After Arisia Con and U-Con being rather flawed, my upcoming, far away convention, Fubuki Con, started to look bleak. Would Fubuki Con have just as much trouble? I had been expecting U-Con to pick up where Fubuki Con would slack, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Was Fubuki Con even worth still going to?

To be honest, if I hadn’t randomly checked Fubuki Con’s website and saw that Michele Knotz was coming, I probably would have leaned more towards cancelling. However, I was excited to see her again in person (I met her over a friend’s house before), so it helped motivate me a little bit more.

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