DesignerCon Online 2020 Makes Lemonade: A Quick Review + Recap
As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons make lemonade. And there is no doubt 2020 has been full of lemons. Incredibly some people figured out how to make lemonade too. DesignerCon founder Ben Gorestsky and his dedicated team are those people.
The 50,000+ people who know DesignerCon (aka DCON), the world’s largest convention of collectible designer toys and artwork sponsored by 3D Retro and Medicon Toys, love to attend en masse every year to meet and greet 500+ of their favorite artists at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. However, COVID-19 crashed the party and like so many live events this year, DesignerCon as we have known it had to be cancelled, retooled and adapted for our COVID age. No small task.
Change is hard. Most people don’t like it. Especially when change involves a beloved event like DesignerCon. So, as a regular attendee myself, I like so many DCON fans, was anxious to see how it would go for Ben-N-Crew this past weekend, November 13-15, as they used an e-commerce app called Pop Show Live to turn DesignerCon into an interactive virtual event called DesignerCon Online.
It needs to be said comparing DCON Online 2020 to previous years is akin to comparing apples and oranges. Two fundamentally different experiences. Yet, both sweet in their own unique way. Furthermore, DCON Online on Pop Shop Live was the first-of-its-kind. Ben-N-Crew have never produced a virtual event like this before. So it’s only fair to keep these facts in mind as we evaluate the 2020 DCON Online experience.
All that said, let’s break it down:
For a general attendee like me, was DCON Online perfect? Of course not. The first pancake is never quite right. There were fewer artists selling, technical issues and other challenges. But if you expected it to be flawless, then you started with unrealistic expectations and set yourself up for disappointment. That said, was DCON Online a good and solid compromise given our COVID age? Absolutely. Was DesignerCon Online a fun way to shop and buy they art I like? 100%!
While not the live event we have all come to love, the virtual online experience was quite fun! Most interestingly, I think the essence of the DCON’s authentic culture and creative vibes transmitted magically through the virtual Pop Shop Live app. How? Because DCON is about the artists and their art. It’s the artists and the art fundamentally create the DCON’s brand experience. And, the artists who participated this year really came through! Many artists and sponsors had fun presentations and the kind of art works we all expect to find at the “normal” DCON.
Also, Ben&Crew were entertaining. I found it fun to watch and listen to them as they so obviously worked their butts off to make DCON special this year and overcome all the logistical challenges. In fact, I suspect Ben&Crew may have discovered in Pop Shop Live a good new way to turn DCON into a semi-annual global event — and I hope they do.
No doubt DesignerCon Online was a ton of work for all involved. I suspect Ben, his team and all the artists who participated are sleeping soundly tonight after working so damn hard. They deserve the rest. I want to congratulate everyone for a job well done under very difficult circumstances.
Like all true DesignerCon fans, next year I hope we can all go back to Anaheim Convention Center safe and sound to mix, mingle, have fun and personally buy art from our favorite artists as we have done for so many years now. But, I also think Ben should seriously consider doing another virtual event someday as it seems to be a great way to build the DCON brand and help artists sell more art and make money.
However, I suspect a decision to do it again will be made based upon whether or not those artists who participated in the inaugural DesignerCon Online felt it was worth their time and effort. And, Ben didn’t lose his Supreme t-shirt in the process.