Thursday, 10 July 2014

When costumes attack – Supanova 2014 (20% less photos than last year boo) – a genuine review

So – I haven’t been writing yes? I have been busy… yes.

I say that EVERY TIME… yes.

Ok so last month was Supanova, my yearly nerd convention where I sell my stuff and generally spend three tired, sleepless and mildly croaky days having epic fun.

This year was no different, I tabled with the Geeky Bee!!! it was awesome.
my lovely co-tabler A and I
I sold all my stuff! – it was great! (ok maybe not all my stuff, like I have two items left – but whatever GREAT SUCCESS)

Things are a bit different this year.  Table prices went up to borderline exorbitant prices, sharing the table was a huge advantage since it cut my overhead cost by quite a bit and it was so good to have the company because really, despite my requests to be put next to Nekochii or I Like Shinies or Mogo & Co - I–was left all by my lonesome!
A very busy T'emporium
Further, we were split into the weirdest vendor categories ever, with hand made products being classified in the most confusing manner and hand drawn artists being relegated to their own little side of the convention floor where, from what I hear they barely got any exposure or, their product got drowned out by an oversaturated artists alley.

It was a poor attempt on the part of the event organisers to categorise all the vendors into some kind of grouping, but it didn’t work.  We ended up hearing of people who sold almost identical products being placed next to each other, when they should have been put apart in order to give some semblance of product diversity.  That's how you give vendors a chance, by making them stand out. 

Either way, most vendors that I had time to speak with complained about the same thing.  Either no one was buying or that everyone was buying something else. 

Which leads me to this conclusion:


What I mean by that is the evolution of the nerd as a consumer of marketable products has reached its peak.  We have finally reached (or will be reaching in the next 5 years or less) a saturation point where, above all things, nerd gadgets, and merchandise are just oh so easily accessible and common place that EVERYONE is getting in on the action.

I've also heard some people complain that with the sheer amount of mass produced items and official merch vendors, indie craftsters are losing out, which is where the real shame is.

The artists alley really ought to be where it is at.  Why? no, this isn't bias, its because they're the embodiment of what it means to be a geek or nerd or whatever the term is that kids use these days for being a fan of these kinds of things.  They're the expression of that enthusiasm and the hub of all future creative endeavours in the community. 

Some talented comic artists such as P, author of Pandeia could be among those to begin a new wave of indie comic sub-cultures that could encourage more and more people into the genre, in a similar way that Rooster Teeth has opened eyes and minds about what makes consumable nerd media on the internet. 
P bought this book/cabinet i made before the con even opened haha - insta-sale! yus
Instead, we are starting to get massive tables that sell, wholesale, and probably with less passion than some of the people whose tables I walked past, $20 Harry Potter timeturners or mass produced Sailor Moon pendants (most likely imported from China).  And while I wouldn’t spit on their obviously successful work model, it just means that yes, your time turner is awesome, but you probably missed out on buying a beautiful, made with love, by hand, timeturner from a guy who literally wallpapers his bedroom in Hogwarts paraphernalia.  
The latter would mean significantly more to me, not so much because of the 'hand made'-ness of it, but because it was made from the heart, by a true fan, who probably invests so much love into their product that the product is imbued with its own nerdy magic.

As such, I ended up buying a strange little adorable weebly thing that looks like something from the Labyrinth.  I don’t care that it cost me more than the two Living Dead Clothing pieces I breathlessly bought and cooed and crooned over, I watched this girl make it with love and care and that means so much to me and has made my purchase worthwhile because that little critter was not just made, he was created.
see, its a ... weeb...thing...
Oh – and Living Dead Clothing gave Black Milk a run for its money…. I may not always care about the fashion shenanigans of spandex vendors but after Black Milk's hilarious PR disaster, it was nice seeing some competition.  Having said that - these fan groups obsessing over leggings, its weird and I am trying to stay away from all that lest I become a spandex obsessed ... obssessive.. yeah.

Having said that, I just bought two very blatant copyright infringements.  Ah life.
It was however, great to see vendors from other states, making it a proper Aussie con. 
Having said that, one of the vendors on my row took the whole Aussie artist thing a little to heart and apparently didn’t take well to ahem, non-Aussie (read: non-white) vendors and attendees.  Their little stand got taken down early because obviously, there were enough complaints about them to get them removed from site, yeesh.  However, I dont know the whole story so that may only be one part of the whole shemozzle, I do remember hearing people who waled away from the store visibly upset at things that were said to them, either regarding their ethnicity or, irrelevantly, their political affiliations.  I'm a Sith, so unless the stall was like, pro-republic, I don't know how such a conversation at a convention would get ugly. 

Also this was a three day event, from the point of view of a vendor, was a friggin waste of time.  Friday attendants were not interested in buying, considering that they were saving their money for the next day.  Our presence was rendered moot in light of the fact that all these early pass people were there for autographs and photos.

M as, well, i dont know - but he cosplayed it damn well...
Understandably, it was good to make it a three day even because none-other than Mr Stan Lee the Man had decided to grace us with his magical, ancient (yeah, he's 91, its legit) presence and boy was that useful for those of us who cannot afford to spend hours in a line.

I managed to walk straight up to him on Friday evening and just get my hilariously bad '5 Generations of X-men Tales' book signed by the fella.  He looked so precious and old, like an enthusiastic and shiny shrivelled pea who looked like he could sway off his stool at any second.  I genuinely wanted to give him a blanket, some Ovaltine and a nice glass of water for his dentures.
lovely goodies from Mogo & Co, I Like Shinies and yes - that is Stan Lee's Scribble right there...
John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness, Dr Who, Torchwood, apparently also Arrow) and Nikolaj Coster Waldau (JAIME FUCKING LANNISTER) we also massive fan favourites.  In particular, Mr Majesty Barrowman who, while I didn’t get to ever meet, was a true gentleman and was amazeballs and kind and sweet to everyone he met and accepted a box of tim-tams from a friend of mine and stayed till late in order to give everyone their autographs.  
The guy is a veritable rainbow of goodness and ought to be showered in sparkles and kisses everyday (I imagine his husband does that, if not, he is a very poor excuse of a husband).

Nonetheless, despite my lengthy gripe regarding the changing dynamics of purchasing power among the nerdy community, it was wonderful seeing the convention get so very big. 

I know I say it every frigging year but yes (insert reverb) – I always say this will be my last year as a vendor but I think I am coming back next year for more punishment experience.

The community continues to inspire me and even though I didn’t take as many photos (or my camera would fail at taking them) – Cosplay is getting better and more imaginative (also, the family that cosplays together, stays together folks!).  The event is a lot more open to the public with people of varying levels of interest attending and just enjoying the event.
Lovely loli S paid a visit
While this year, I didn’t buy the everloving shit out of everything, I still decided to support friends and other artists who I genuinely like (thus the purchase of the weird weebly thing).  However, on my part, I had return customers.  People remembered me form last year and oh, what a warm fuzzy feeling that gives me.  This included people who couldn’t believe how cheap my products were.  
trying to look awake for sales
But I have a reason:

This is my first year casting with resin, because these were my first pulls, I don’t feel confident enough to price them higher considering that I felt that they were first tries.  Yes I'm raising my prices for next year but that will be a proportionate price raise with the quality of the product. 
some sample cabinets of curiosity that i also made - definitely a good idea for next year
So yes, I'm going to be a few dollars pricier, but I am aware of my market share and wont make it absurdly expensive.  I love my customers and I understand their wallets as well.

All in all, Supanova was a great success, I also introduced some first timers to the event and they totally lost their con virginity.  I am so salacious ooh.

The community continues to grow and damnit, we had some great guests and a great time. 

Oh, the only improvement required on the part of the venue (apart from re-thinking the table prices and the categorisation of artists) is to have more ATMs.  Holy shit the lines were incredible. 

So – look out for my next post (yes, because I am writing again, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!) on Winterfest, every damsel's dream come true (why, because puppies, that's why).

Peace out my sparkle bubblies!