Commemorating San Diego Comic-Con: Interview with Con*Quest Journals

1 JULY 2015

If you're headed to Comic-Con next week, you've probably spent a lot of money, effort and time to get there. Triumphing in the badge and hotel sales and following all the updates requires serious dedication - which means you want to get the most out of your Comic-Con experience and make it something you can remember forever.

Con*Quest Journals was born to provide just that kind of memory.  With luxurious journals that provide a place for your autographs, photos, artist sketches, business cards and more, Con*Quest helps you not only preserve your Con experience but share it with others. First-timers, believe me when I say you will amass an incredible amount of papers at the Con - ticket stubs, postcards, fliers, phone numbers, artwork. Usually those wound up in your car or dropped on a hotel room dresser each night - but with a journal, you can keep everything safe and arranged. You can also use the journals to better network at the Con, communicate with cosplayers, favorite creators and other attendees, and keep yourself on track.

Here are just a few of the features:

  • Designed pages for artist sketches, panel notes, reminders
  • Zippered compartments to protect valuable documents
  • Sleeves for photos
  • Con*Pliment Cards that let you reach out to your fellow attendees, artists and cosplayers at the Con
  • Themed designs for Doctor Who, Supernatural and other fandoms

I talked to Shelley of Con*Quest to find out more about the journals and how attendees are using them to enhance their SDCC and other Con experiences.

Shelley, thanks for talking to me. What sparked the idea of creating your company? Were there any personal experiences that made you realize attendees need this?

My business partner and I started a business a few years ago as tee shirt brand, One Less Nemesis, attending and vending at several conventions. We gathered business cards and photo-ops and autographs, most of which ended up in our backpacks and folders back home. Then while we were vending at a show in January of 2014, we noticed two busy booths: the protective sleeves booth and the empty journal booth. We looked a each other and said "Hey, has anyone ever thought of making a place to put all of the stuff you gather at a con that's like a journal/smashbook? Something fun and easy to do, with pages and sleeves for exactly what you do at comic and fan conventions?" 

We realized pretty quickly that there was nothing like what we envisioned on the market. It was our lightbulb moment. We grabbed scratch paper and began marking up different pages: autographs, panels, cosplay, protective sleeves. The journals had to be big enough to fit 8 x 10 photo ops and artwork. As soon as we finished that Con, I started looking for design help and my business partner found a craft manufacturer that would make trial small batches for us. Our first show was a Creation Entertainment Supernatural con in March of 2014 - and we sold out.

What kind of feedback have you gotten from fans and attendees? How do they tell you the journals changed their Con experience?
The feedback has been outstanding. 100% of the people we talk to say, "What a great idea!"

There is nothing more exciting to us than attendees coming up to our booth and showing us all of the cool things they've done with their journals. A lot of the time, our customers think of new ways to use them that we have not even considered. The pages are already designed and we really wanted them to be something that everyone can do right at the show and then they've got this great book of Con experiences.

One benefit customers have told us that came from having a journal at a show is that they were encouraged to get sketches in Artist Alley. This is just so cool because the artist can sketch right on the pages and then the journal becomes a personal collectible that is totally unique to that attendee. Another benefit that we've heard is just really having a place to keep and protect everything that you pick up at a Con.

We have one family with a nonverbal son who uses our journals as a way to communicate all of the fantastic times he has going to Cons. This has touched our hearts so much. We never envisioned the journals helping someone in this way, but we are so, so glad they do.

What are the most popular features that fans appreciate?
I think it's different for every person. Customers like feeling inspired to print their pictures from their phone and having a place to show them off. We now print 4 x 6 photos in our booth at the shows we attend to help make it as easy possible. The autograph pages are some of the most used pages, along with the artist pages. I think people are also beginning to appreciate the panel notes pages because some really fun gems come out during panels and it's great to capture them. The business card pages are a huge benefit, because at any Con people still collect tons of them. The biggest benefit is that attendees can use the journal to suit whatever it is they like doing.

Obviously these are a great place for collecting artwork and documents and autographs - what else can the journals do? Specifically, what do the Compliment Cards do?

One of our favorite things to do is to have someone sign our journals, whether it's an artist, author or just a friend, and then put a great picture of that person next to it. It really tells a story. We also document where we ate and who delivers, I've even had a Jimmy Johns guy sign my journal. It's great to save that info so the next time we're at that show, we know where we want to go and where we don't.

The Con*Pliment Cards™ are con calling cards that promote positive interaction and compliments among attendees, artists, cosplayers and really anyone at the show. Attendees can put their social media info on the back if they like and hand out these cards as a way to say something nice, like You're Awesome or Kickin' Cosplay! It's the perfect non-creepy answer to Cosplay is Not Consent.

What do you have planned for the future?

We are the officially licensed journal for Gen Con® and we are so excited for the show! Gen Con is at the Indiana Convention Center 30 July - 2 August and we'll be in booth 2643. From there, we are working on our show schedule but we are definitely committed to New York Comic Con and Supernatural ChiCon. We are working on ideas for a smaller sized journal as well as new fandom themed journals. Our new Hunter's and Companion's Journals have been a great success, so we will look to expand in those areas. Keep an eye out - more fun stuff will be coming!

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