Monday, November 25, 2019

DesignerCon 2019

DesignerCon started in 2006 as a smaller show, the "Vinyl Toy Network," in Pasadena. This market and networking event for artists making or re-interpreting vinyl figures and toys expanded over the  years. It moved to Anaheim in 2018. The large attendance and the number of corporate sponsors confirm that DesignerCon has clearly arrived on the pop culture radar of the general public.

Here's how the show describes itself from the FAQ on their "About us" page --

"Having fun and meeting all your favorite artists, designers, manufacturers, and vendors! Designer Con was founded in 2006 under the name Vinyl Toy Network. The show was created to bring together artists, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in the vinyl toy/collectible figures market. The first show was in an 1,100 sq. ft. meeting room at the Pasadena Convention Center and has now grown into over 350,000 sq. ft. with over 600 vendors, art & custom shows, live demonstrations, and much more. DesignerCon now incorporates everything in the world of design including apparel, plush, printing, sculpture, designer toys, and art ranging from fine to urban. The show was founded and still run by companies who are also vendors which is why we strive to provide a fun, safe, comfortable environment for fans, artists, and vendors to meet! We look forward even bigger and better shows every year through the continued support of our amazing vendors and attendees. Without you, this show would not be possible, so from all of us at DesignerCon, thank you!"

Navigating this show is helped out by a handy fold-out map

and a slick program booklet.
At this show you'll see items from cute plush pals to surreal street art. My longtime pals at the Flat Bonnie booth were busy each time I stopped by, so no photos in this post, but you can see lots of pics on their website:
Also enjoying a super busy space at this con was artist pal Jeff Victor
 Of course there are DesignerCon exclusives...
Two photos below show these exclusives at their booth... 

Panels and programming too at DesignerCon.
Half the fun is getting lost in the sensory overload.

I walked over 6 miles during my one day at this show -- that should give you a feel for the scope of the exhibit hall.

Here are some of the booths I visited...

Our long-time pals at Loter Inc
always have such a cool booth!
 Their Sumocat plush (debuted at SDCC this year) continues to be top seller! Only available at convention appearance for now (detail photo below from Loter Inc Instagram)
During my 6 mile wander.. I found this striking booth of awesome jewelry items, many made from re-purposed watch parts..
 Check out the cool tentacle rings ... other colors available
(detail photo from their website)
I've been a fan and follower of Huggable Koi for years now! 
It's been a great joy watching her brand and fanbase grow. Learn more about how she got into making plush art.. and building a celebrity clientele.. in this nifty interview with her on the Convention Crossings Podcast:
This was her table early in the day. She had killer sales at this show... including the sale of the giant koi pictured below!!!
Each of her handmade plush are unique. I picked out this little porg who spoke to me... maybe because his secret (that I didn't know until later) resonated...
Each of her creations comes with a secret revealed to the new owner in a special envelope! Such a great story and a clever idea to engage fans.
Our colleagues Flesk Publications 
exhibited at DesignerCon... and shared this photo below (by Vicky Lien -- thanks for permission to include here!)
 on their Facebook post during the run of the show. Their post urged people to visit them and the other unique booths at the show.. and got me curious about this vendor.. so I went searching for them too. Cross promotion of interesting colleagues at shows is always a good karma.. and a good idea.
"Tiny Framed Things"
 by artist Elisa Wikey.
 Artist Elisa sells tiny framed prints of a selection of her most popular works. She also takes commissions for originals while at the show. Her list was nearly booked that day ... but what a brilliant idea! Make it once.. monetize it forever. Her branding is on point. She has a traditional sized business card, and a super tiny one!
The tiny prints must have huge margins.. but allow her to offer items at a cozy price point, and a buy 2 get 1 free deal.
 My favorite item was this tiny pin.. with a big message. NO WORK FOR EXPOSURE.
Since I have a number of pen pals.. I'm always on the lookout for fun greeting cards. This booth by Goosberry Designs caught my eye!
Their postcard sized business card shares their story as well as contact info:
 I loved the tea towels as well as the cards I got...
And of course it was cards galore at with booth buddies Warren Tales
Two Hermanas
I'd gotten cards from Lindsey's Warren Tales booth at the LA Printers Fair years ago. Small world! 
She brought some of her edgier designs for this show... which is in keeping with the DesignerCon vibe of cute and counterculture getting cozy. But I found lots to enjoy too.. including these designs
and especially her super clever multi-tasking business cards, which fold in half to become a tiny greeting. So smart!
I also enjoyed the dazzling designs of Elizabeth and her sister's cut out art cards. Wow! Check out this seadragon design below! Not everyone sees it the first time. Do you???

There was an area of the exhibition hall space devoted to enamel pin vendors...
This vendor attracted a crowd with her fun marketing and exclusives...

I added to my collection from Hive Five Studios
featured on this previous post:
And I'm always thrilled to see my pals at Corgli and Co.
It's impossible to cover the scope of this show in a single blog post. 
Here are some images of booths and art that caught my attention. 

Wall below was part of an interactive Spiderman exhibit... 
There was an art gallery area...
This is the La Luz de Jesus booth...
with an entire wall of painted luxury shopping bags... 

Since Stuart was only attending conventions this weekend and not exhibiting... he was visiting with friends and colleagues...
 more show images...

I loved this shirt at the Pink Owlet booth:  You may see it on Stuart sometime.

My tips for walking around this show. Stay hydrated! Get outside a few times.
And if you're there after sundown... enjoy the fountains at night... 

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