I was a vendor at Nezumicon 2019. How was it? Well..
It was an interesting experience with some ups and downs. While thinking of content for this post, I had to take a day to take in my experience and above all, give feedback to help the convention improve future events. I want to preface that events such as anime conventions can be challenging to run and organize. At the same time, I am hoping this feedback can be taken into consideration for the future.
Nezumicon is a first year , one day convention located at the Historical Hopewell, New Jersey Train Station. There were an impressive amount of vendors, ranging from traditional print artists, to small consignment clothing sellers. There were also impressive cosplayers, some in full on armor!
The con was mainly outside and my friends pointed out that if felt a bit like a nerdy flea market. The convention did have a flea market-like vibe with some elements of a con such as a gaming area and cosplay.
In my reviews, I give an honest experience and want to be transparent. From a vendor’s perspective, this event was a little rocky and stressful.
A few red flags came up as I settled in. Check in was a bit confusing for me, as well as others. During several occasions and for decent blocks of time, volunteers were not manning the check in booth.
The vendor map also was changed for a third time the morning of. I reached out to the convention for a space under the awning in case of inclement weather, but was switched into a space on the grass. The final map was not posted on social media, and we were told to set up shop with spaces on a first come first serve basis. In other words, the first vendors who arrived would have first dibs on tables, though there were enough tables to go around. There was a lot of confusion during the set up period. One vendor who requested electric was without it due to technical difficulties and was very upset and flustered at one point. She asked for help for volunteers who were nearby, but was not acknowledged for long periods of time.
One strength of the con was its advertising through flyers and social media. The convention was advertised well online and brought in a decent amount of attendees. Though it is important to note that there was a discrepancy with the additional cost of a late night show, on top of the badge fee, which was not prominently shown in advance. Fortunately, I heard that the performers did well and there was a packed house.
The main demographic appeared to be around high school aged kids. Some parents tagged along. Very vulgar music began to play at some parts of the event and personally made me, and others feel a bit uncomfortable. I also heard that there was just one bathroom for all attendees and there were of course, long lines.
Music and the bathroom situation aside, one of the biggest concerns I had was over parking. I overheard a staff member respond to a question about the parking situation. Although I was unable to hear pieces of the conversation, the staff member mentioned it would be “too expensive” to tow people’s cars.Because of this, I am a bit unsure and doubtful if parking was arranged with the town.
After hearing conversations with my friends, there was a suggestion on a great idea for the event. Due to the amount of vendors and amount of outdoor space, the convention could market itself as a nerdy flea market. I feel that if the con does continue for a second year, it would be effective to hold it in an indoor location like a hotel for not only convenience, but also for a bit of additional space for a entertainment such as panels.This could be a good convention if you are really local, but I’d wait another year or two to see how this con changes overtime. This event does have some potential maybe as a nerdy flea market if there will still be a primarily outdoor location. Although there is room for improvement and growth, I am glad I heard that many attendees had fun and have heard many positive reviews through social media.