Hey there Basement Dwellers! Yume here. I know it’s been awhile, but the holiday season hit me hard! I could barely keep up with Etsy orders and the whole time I was prepping for my first convention: MAGfest! MAGfest is a gaming and music convention outside Washington D.C. in National Harbor, Maryland.
This was the convention’s first year in National Harbor and was at a Gaylord Hotel. A super swanky, expensive hotel with a convention center attached. SUPER SWANKY. This was the lobby/dining area. Absolutely breathtaking.
Now, inside the convention hall…it wasn’t as swanky. The convention truly reflected it’s attendees. A mess of video games…everywhere…some tables thrown about…a bit of disorganized chaos…and a lot of camaraderie. I really loved how the Melvins of the world felt so comfortable and open. They were my favorite people to talk to. In another world, they might cry about stolen staplers and set a building on fire, but in this world, they were completely accepted and loved talking, no mumbling, about the wonders of Chrono Trigger, XBox achievements, and even one guy playing Zelda theme music all day on a recorder. Not all of them were awkward Melvins…a good majority were awesome gamers, cosplayers, and kick ass people. I hearted them all.
Team Fortress Cosplayers
Zora from Legend of Zelda
So, that gives you an idea of the clientele. Knowing that it was right after Christmas, I wanted to give people lots of things to spend their Christmas money on, so I brought a LOT of product. And I sold over half of what I brought, which is a lot more than I expected. Interesting thing about this Dealer Room…it was 24 hour. Literally 24 hours a day. The longest day I spent there was a 16 hour day, ran to the hotel and slept, and then back early to sell more. I think tearing down and setting up every day was the worst thing about the weekend. Ugh. But being able to sell until midnight was cool…when a lot of other vendors left by 8pm, we were one of the few booths still open and I made a lot of sales those nights. Lesson learned: When there’s no competition, sales are easy!
Auron from FFX
One thing I realized is that being over prepared isn’t silly. Luckily, being a stage manager in theatre, I understand the value of being 100% prepared for anything. So when I was packing my toolbox and randomly threw in sticky-tack…something I NEVER use…I was glad that I did because I used it to make a lot of my sprites stay on my gridwalls! Or when I made sure to buy a hand truck even though they said the storage room wasn’t too far…I had 4 big boxes and the room was over 300 feet away. Thank you hand truck.
The most valuable thing I took away from this convention (besides a mortgage payment, BAM!) is that I’m really proud of my craft. I’m a perler bead artist. Lots of perler artists are out there and I respect them all, but I got a LOT of compliments saying that my stuff was the best they had seen. Aside from just an ego boost, this taught me another valuable lesson. If you’re going to do something, be the best at it. Don’t half ass to make a buck. Take ownership of your craft and make it ART. People loved hearing about how I fuse my products…how I come up with the ideas…people love a story. They’re not just buying another Mario. They’re buying art from an artist inspired by Mario. After this convention, I truly believe this…I finally feel like an ARTIST.
I leave you with the image of this man. He was epic. Baby Superman with a Santa Beard who was very upset that I pronounced the name Celes (from FFVI) as “cell-ES” as opposed to “CELL-es.”