When I first came up with the binder idea it was in fact because I was thinking about cosplay first and foremost. At the time there was an anime/manga everyone was cosplaying that involved a backless cosplay on a male character and I felt it was unfair that people had to sacrifice a portion of the costume just so they could bind. And during the next three years my mother and I worked with numerous people to try and attempt to make the “backless” binder a reality. I knew of course that we would be selling the product online rather than in a brick & mortar, but I was also interested in the idea of going around to some conventions to be able to sell them in person and get to know people on the exhibit hall floor as well. By this point I had already been attending conventions as a regular attendee, and had spent 3 of my 5 RTX trips as an expo guardian (a fancy word for volunteer), so I was confident that even if we didn’t manage to make a single sale I could still manage to have a few good conversations with those who might stop by and visit our booth. With that in mind, we set our sights on attending a convention by the end of 2018, and looked towards trying to secure a booth at Con Alt Delete.
My mom is originally from the south side of Chicago. My older sister in fact, was also born there before my Mom decided to take a different job opportunity in Cincinnati. Chicago is like a second home to me, and I’ve spent a lot of time there in my past 24 years of life. It’s a city that really lives and breaths culture and there’s always something new to love every time I get the chance to return to it. Being able to return and plant the seed that would really start our business would be an amazing opportunity, and it was one I was excited to take.
Before then all the conventions I had attended were pretty much confined to the state of Ohio, and the city of Austin Texas. There’s nothing really wrong with that seeing as I enjoyed all the ones I had attended in the past, but I have always longed for the chance to branch out a bit more into the cosplay communities of other states. This would mark my first time attending Con Alt Delete, and I have to say that it wasn’t a bad starting point. The con was held out of the Hyatt Regency O’hare in Rosemont, which made for a gorgeous stay, and ended up being a bit more packed than I had originally anticipated.
We met a lot of amazing people in attendance over the weekend though. When going into something like this for the first time I think it’s safe to say that one of the biggest fears is that you’ll be completely overlooked. People were happy to prove us wrong though. It seemed like every individual who stopped to speak with us had a different story to tell and we were more than happy to hear all of them. We also took the time to connect with other exhibitors who wanted to pass on information they thought would be valuable to help our business not only succeed, but thrive. Everyone we came into contact with was so genuine that it was almost a shame that we only got to spend a weekend with them. But all good things must eventually come to an end.
Choosing to go a bit out of our comfort zone to start off the business was a good move. We got to see a new type of cosplay community, and meet a lot of amazing people that I’m hoping we can cross paths with again next year. The hotel staff, convention volunteers, and other vendors were all so kind and courteous, and it was such a warm welcome back to a city I grew up loving. Everything about it made me more excited than I already was for the future of our company, and a future in being able to meet more of you in person across the United States.
Now that 2018 has come to a close, we’re working on our schedule for 2019 conventions as well as getting our site ready to make online sales. I hope all of you are as excited for the new year as I am.
Happy New Year!