One of my favorite aspects about conventions is the exclusive merchandise you can find. When I went to a local convention called Collective Con in Jacksonville—Florida’s first “big” convention—I had an absolute blast. I met with Vic Mignogna (Full Metal Alchemist) and one of my voice actor idols Todd Haberkorn. I saw a bunch of amazing cosplayers and even met a WWE Diva. The biggest highlight, however, was meeting and seeing all the local talent producing some amazing geek inspired merchandise.
Alkemie & Artistry
Lets talk about this amazing jewelry by Alkemie & Artistry. Each piece is designed by hand by the artist herself and carefully crafted into a unique piece. That sounds a bit like a commercial, but these pieces are simply wondrous. They’d go great with a steampunk, Lolita, or Renaissance costumes.
I got two necklaces: one that was of Ariel from The Little Mermaid and another of a lovely treescape that made me feel like a fairy princess. It paired very well with my casual convention costume.
I love superhero t-shirts, I do, but I’m trying to get away from just buying t-shirts (of which I have too many) when I go to conventions. I’m a newly independent, soon-to-be college student, which means I can decorate my room any way I want.
Thus, the work displayed by Altruistic’s booth was extremely eye-catching. They have hanging clocks handmade with the help of a laser cutter. The clocks were amazing, surely, but it was their tea-lights that made me want to open my wallet. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any money left to buy a tea light box, but one day I’m going to get a Robin box. My room needs it.
You can find all of Altruistic’s merchandise at their website, they sell way more than just wooden clocks and tea light boxes, and their coverage of geek related mediums is pretty vast. You can also follow them on Instagram!
This mother-daughter team makes handmade hats that are so adorable it should be illegal. I was really impressed with the craftsmanship and variety of their supply. You can also order custom hats as well. Their Etsy shop is currently down, but you can check out their merchandise on Facebook!
Silliness of Sewing
If there’s one thing I strongly believe every geek girl needs in her own space, it’s a geeked out pillow. I can’t sew to save my life, but oh, how I love these pillows. They’re adorable. They’re soft. They’re awesome. Furthermore, there’s a huge variety of them, from DC comic staples to Pokémon. But my favorites are actually the Zelda pillows.
Check out their Facebook page for more information on Silliness of Sewing. You can also shop on their Etsy page.
I stumbled upon this booth on my last day of the convention and was blown away by how much I wanted their crochet Robin bag. There was also some of the cutest original design plush ornaments. I loved the quality of the work, along with the large variety. I’m not much of a Pokémon fan anymore, but the various designs for Pokémon made me tempted to pick the new games up. The crochet ornaments deserve a place in my car, hanging from my rear view window, and that Robin bag will be mine one day.
I find it very important to support the local talent in your area. I talked with many of the owners of almost every shop I mentioned here (I wasn’t able to speak with the owner of Silliness of Sewing). What I also thoroughly appreciated was how personable each booth I went to was. The owners of each shop were friendly, funny, and engaging with everyone that passed by their tables. They were selling their business, and they sold it well. They encourage customers to buy their merchandise, and their friendliness is why I left Collective Con with a lighter wallet.
Supporting local geek crafters and shops are like supporting local businesses. They tend to have a high quality product, affordable prices, and a friendly persona. They also have products that most other places don’t have, like tea light boxes, hand painted jewelry, or crocheted Mario shells. Also, they’re willing to work with you as a customer. The owner of Actualized Arts said she could customize her crochet Robin bag for me if I wanted to order one since the strap was to long. The owner of Alkemie & Artistry was one of the sweetest people I met at Collective Con and complimented my casual costume I wore on the second day and helped me pick out pieces of jewelry that would match. The owner of Altruistic was just funny, and he freely let cosplayers hold up clocks from his booth for pictures.
I’m so glad I got to discover all these amazing crafters right in my own backyard! Please share your own favorite local geek shops in the comments!