So here’s the thing, cons they are a changing.
For my position right at this moment, it’s tricky. Because overall cons are growing, or evolving may be a better way to put it. More people are going than ever before. Many more are going for their first time. That is changing things for fringe vendors such as myself.
The thing is, you, anyone reading this, are very specific subset of person. You are likely a young to middle age adult with a full time day job. You likely have a working major pop culture knowledge but with interests that lie in what is categorized as “independent” niches. You are almost assuredly creative minded. You are a lot like me in your interests.
And you would probably think that this would be a majority of people at conventions. You would be wrong.
Recently events’ numbers have swelled with those I will non-disparagingly lump into two groups: the general public/new collector and costumers/cosplayers. The general public has leaned to a geek is cool mentality likely due to general shifting demographics. These great folks have heard about San Diego Comic-con or other big regional events from media sources and want to be a part of that. (That’s awesome!) But when they get to a big convention they are suddenly overwhelmed by all the choices, so they will make more purchases related to things they know.
The second group, costumers or cosplayers, are an issue for some. The wife and I are huge costumers also though so I have a heartfelt view of them. This group also includes a large portion of the teenagers at conventions because it is something to connect and make friends over. As a vendor though, they again want only things they know or they have spent a great deal of their money on their costumes.
With these groups massively inflating the attendance it increases the size of the space needed which increases the cost of space for vendors. But that increased attendance group may mean very little increase in one’s niche audience. As event prices go up, it may not even be worth that niche audience to attend. And that brings us to the current quandary.
Tucson Comic-con was nice. It’s well planned with a great staff. It was my first time attending or setting up there but it apparently shattered previous years in size and attendance. That didn’t translate to much for me in interest or sales. What was missing? Hipsters. Those lumped into the hipster category, again self included, are my primary readers. And again, I was hearing there was proportionally less in that category this year. Still, I plan to go back.
This is creating a perplexing position for those vying to make a living in this creative field. I have to show due diligence and make sound business decisions. There is no playbook for this, it changes every week. I’m a perpetual optimist though. I think things will work out for the best. All life is a learning experience, best to get something out of it.