Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cat Con LA 2015, June 6 and 7 UPDATED 7/26 with links to you tube vlogs and various news stories

Even though I'm more a horse or dog gal than a cat person...could not resist checking out the first-ever "Cat Con LA."
Not sure what to expect as far as attendees or vendors.... Would there be kitty cos-play?? Well, not really... except for this pair in cat-themed onsies
 By the size of the crowd...
and the aisles full of vendors...
and the sold out parking lot when I arrived ..
 ...clearly I wasn't the only one curious! Location for this convention was "The Reef".. an art and design exhibition space.
Here's the CatCon program...
 and the list of about 100 exhibitors!

What delighted me most about this convention was the focus on artists and artworks of all sorts featuring cats. Some of the Cat Con art even gave the artists credit!

The official Cat Con booth featured posters and t-shirt with the con logo

Lots of fun graphics from the various sponsors too....

Popular sponsor-related booths included the nail-art tables...
 And the Petsmart Charities Coffee cart (serving CAT-ppucions???) Sorry, bad joke :)
I only got a one-day ticket, and no badge or goodie bag with that. I did score this popular give-away from con sponsor Animal Planet -- a set of green cat ears.
 Modeled here by Squeeze Marty. If you don't know about Marty (and his 21,000 facebook fans), check out this post:
Tickets for the convention were easy to get online or on site. There were signs to direct you to the exhibit hall.
One of the first booths I saw was for popular cat character "Pusheen"...
 And here's the crowd at the Pushseen booth... Crowds like this were a common sight. Great news for the Con and vendors.
One of the longest lines I saw at the Con was the line to see the cats on view at the adoption area.

Sponsors included Best Friends animal society

I probably first heard about this convention via my artist pal the amazing Lili Chin. She was a 1st time vendor at this show, so of course I had to check out her space. She's best known for her Doggie Drawings art (including all the great work she does for rescue and educating dog owners about dog behavior)
 but there's lots of Lili love and charming art for cat fans too! Check out her Facebook page too (with over 150,000 likes)
 Lili is pictured in photo above, wearing a striped sweater. She had buttons, greeting cards and prints at her table...and booth help! First time exhibitors can under-estimate how crucial it is to have someone with you at the booth. Even a small table at a convention means handling load-in, set-up, sales, and tear down .. not to mention brief breaks for meals, etc. It's a lot! Artists, like most self-employed folks, get used to life as a one-man band, doing all the jobs on their own. That can bring burn out -- or worse. We have to find work-life balance, and that often means asking for help. Let go of that notion that you have to fly solo. Call-in (or hire) co-pilots.  A big shout out to Lili's team Kathleen (next to Lili in photo) and Nathan (not pictured).

 Lili makes sure to include her name and contact info on the back of her greeting cards:
more pics of Lili's table on her tumblr post
and her Doggie Drawings blog!blog/ccsz
 Conventions like this are the perfect place for artists to introduce unique items to a target audience. An eye-catching example of this was the booth for Mario Arbore's "Square Paws" pet furniture. What do you get for the cat family that has everything! How about their own leaning Cat Tower of Pisa???

 The name of his company reflects his background as an architect. As noted in his brochure..."If human condos are measured in square feet, then Cat Condos must be measured in square paws."
 Clever, whimsical fun... plus why just have a cat condo when you can have a sculptural conversation piece.
His handy brochure was not only a catalog.. he also shared a bit of his backstory. Brilliant! Of course... what got me was the Seahorse too!

This little booth was already SOLD OUT of many items by mid-day Saturday. Click to enlarge and see the pillow covers and t-shirts. And a nice BIG BANNER with their business name. Even more .. like Jewelry, Cell-phone plugs, decor, accessories and attire here on their website:
If you see me wearing blinged out cat ears at comic con this year, you'll know where I got them :)

There were some booths with familiar cat care items... food ... supplies like bed and collars .. and then you turn the corner and see ... a big, circular cat treadmill ...
The booth had a video screen showing the treadmill in action...
 The only business card I saw included this limited time offer..
And what if you want a cat, but can't have one now .. because of allergies .. or landlords...
Cat ConLA  had you covered too.

demo robo cats on display...
here's their promo card
video of Zoomer City in action here:
Main website for Spinmaster:

1) Make sure all your items come with your name and contact info... best if ON the item itself, but at least have lots of business cards. Why limit your sales just to the day of the show.?Your items, especially small items, can help promote you long after the event. Put your website on the back, front  or side edge of buttons. Put your contact info on the back of greeting cards and prints. 
2) Clients buy a single image that attracts them .. but they often support a story. Let your collectors get to know you. Have a brochure or flyer that you can include with the items you sell. When someone buys your art or product, that proves they are interested in your work.  Let them get INVESTED in you.... share a bit about what makes you unique. Give patrons a chance to connect with you. Do for yourself what galleries and agents do for their artists: build your patronage. 
3) A smart move as an artist vendor is to bring a few OTHER items .. not just your show-specific stock. Many attendees at any convention are tagging along with friends and family. They might not be part of the target audience of cat/comic/book people etc .. but they may indeed be the perfect home for other items in your portfolio!

For example... that's how I ended up with more octopus items at Cat Con!

My photographer pal (and partner in cat crime) Sarah steered me to this booth because she knows I have a passion for octopus decor. Yes .. not just me, other people do too!
Props to co-owner Mary and company for a nifty display .. and for the nice packaging with purchase! These little details make an impression on customers. Including a business card is smart too! 
See more items on their website:
Like many vendors at this show... They donate a portion of their sales to animal welfare. Good karma for all kritters :)

So much to see.. but only so much time. This was a booth that caught my eye several times, but I never managed to swing by when the table wasn't so crowded. .. Next time :)

That's the beauty of a nice business card .. with lots of contact info, website etc. You can follow up later!

I might not be a cat person, but I am a coffee gal! My last stop of the day was a trip back to one of the first booths I saw...because I had to have this little charmer -- Everyone can use another keyring .. especially one with a kitten in a coffee cup!
Good thing I went back, because I nabbed the last one they had at the show! See more goodies on their website:
Lots of fun at Cat Con LA. Hope to see it again next year..

UPDATE July 26
This link to news story from Cat Writers Assoc features fun pic of artist Lili Chin at her table..

Links to news stories on Cat Con LA
Reports indicate over 10,000 attendees.. and 34 cats adopted at event!!
Plus some of the vendors highlighted in blog post also featured in these links...

from New York Times

Los Angeles Times

Chicago Tribune

Business Insider


Photo gallery and story from SF bay area TV Station KRON 4

blog for exhibitor Outlaw Kritters post on Cat Con LA

You Tube post by Luigi the Lion Cat .. about 2 mins, lots of footage of exhibitors, including Outlaw Kritters, Lili Chin, Meowingtons

You Tube post by MsRandomnotes1 .. about 5 mins, exhibitor footage includes Kimchi Kawaii, Lili Chin, Outlaw Kritters and Meowingtons... also lots of adoption area kittens and cats

Vlog by Ginny McQueen (7 min "walkabout" at cat con, but mostly footage of cats at adoption area, shots of Lili Chin's table at 5.20)

Mashable (photo gallery of folks wearing cat-themed garb)

Vice (more photos, and video)

Headlines and Global News (video)

from LA Weekly

Huffington Post

The Guardian

Facebook page for Cat Con LA

No comments: