As some of you may have already guessed 2014 show season is now in full effect. And I started off this year's schedule with the "biggest" show on the list: Anime Matsuri. I had never attended this event before, but had heard great things about it and that it was the biggest anime convention in Texas so I went in feeling under prepared and kind of expecting to sell out of everything which is a scary thought in and of itself. So what happened? Well... let's just say it's time to strap on your seat belts and crack open a beer because this is one stressful roller coaster romp I'm not sure I want to repeat.
Let's start at the beginning shall we? On Thursday (April 13th) Elizabeth and I set off to Houston with high hopes and great expectations. For over a month before this I had worked my butt off to achieve my largest inventory count yet around my normal work schedule and while also working on online orders and custom requests. Needless to say I sacrificed my social life for awhile. I wasn't too worried though because I knew Anime Matsuri would be worth it. What a laugh!
So what went wrong? Well, first off when we arrived we had to argue with the staff because they "forgot" we had 2 tables in our booth somehow and kinda just shrugged us off like "sorry"? So we ended up just stealing one because we weren't going to get anywhere with their unhelpful staff and we needed to set up! Things weren't off to a great start, but morale was still high! We set up our tables and I was quite pleased with how my new sign looked and how several off my new displays really helped my items pop.
My new sign!
My table display!
After we were all set up we went out for a few much needed beers and then hit the hay a little early so we could be ready for tomorrow's show. We awoke to another surprise. Anime Matsuri didn't get the vendor hall cleared by the fire department! So instead of opening at 12pm it opened at 2pm! Loosing those 2 hours definitely hurt business for us and we soon realized our "prime vendor" spot was not as it claimed to be. We paid almost $200 extra to be in a high traffic spot, but we were literally 3-4 spots up from the back in the far corner. We were also a little hidden because our neighbor on the right had an amazingly large poster display. We weren't happy and sales were not what we thought they'd be ALL weekend as a result of all these issues. Not to mention the fact that their staff was extremely rude to us and it's other guests. I'm still in shock that they didn't have a PA system installed properly so announcements were given by the rude staff themselves in person instead. The worst example of this was on the last day when one of the staff came up to our booth and said "If you aren't buying anything then you need to get out" to the customers at our booth 30 mins prior to close. HOW RUDE!!
Anyways, enough hating. While we had our fair share of ups and downs I still managed to have some fun. We went out at night, ate a LOT of delicious but extremely greasy food, went to an Asian rave!, paid $18 for ONE drink???, wore costumes, made sales, bought pretty things, had a crazy silly elevator exploration party, watched Scott Pilgrim, made hotel jewelry, drank LOTS of coffee, kinda got some sleep, tried some yummy IPA's, gave away a crap ton of cards, met some cool artists, argued with a drunk guy about how it's ok for guys to like ponies too and took a TON of photos! haha. Was that too much for you?
Some highlights from our trip...
The event was held in a boat building!
I got to wear my mostly finished JEM costume!
I captured Vaporeon in my Chi costume!
We had a lot of drinks!