Several years ago, we started out in NYCC with one small, dark booth tucked in a back corner. Steph and I mostly set it up alone, with a few friends helping out where they could. That first one (second one?) might have been a joint effort between Kevin Winnik and ourselves, so he was always a huge help at the beginning, with lots of con experience to impart. But aside from a few local friends, we did everything ourselves, fumbled through the con and just did the best we could. I'd like to pay tribute to my friend Ezra who took me under his wing and showed me the importance of presentation, lighting and also packing your stuff back up very carefully and labeling it... when he wasn't setting up the Marvel booth at NYCC. Ezra even brought in a friend of his to my booth during breakdown to help me pack up. That friend was and still is an executive at Marvel. RIP Ezra, you started me on a long and wonderful journey and I so wish you could see where we've gone. something in my eye, hang on....
Fast forward to 2014, and Steph and I are running a 6-booth block in The Block, in the center of all that is cool at NYCC. The Block has always been the coolest place in NYCC (even before it was called "The Block") since we've started exhibiting, but this year it was abundantly clear that ReedPOP was REALLY pushing the concept. Walk into the south end of the Javits and you see multiple 40-foot-high signs with The Block logo and a detailed explanation of the types of products and artists you'd find in there. The Block has grown physically and the art / toy / lowbrow / self-produced / indy toy scene has exploded at NYCC.
That means our efforts have also grown more laborious, more planning involved, bigger show. More stuff, more people, more artists, more exclusives, MUCH more promotion. So this year there were even more people involved in making our booth happen:
- The ReedPOP team (Jenny, Kyle, Erin, my buddy Mike Armstrong and many more) for making this whole thing happen. THANK YOU for all of your online efforts and printed Block materials which support our booth!
- My giant Thomas helped me load up my van and also worked the booth when I wasn't there. A natural salesman.
- Stephen Donaldson and Danny (Chip Soup) came in to the Javits early to help us set up and keep things under control
- Jackie came in every single day with food, water, Gatorade, coffee, supplies and watched the booth half the show as I walked around and chatted, and in general made sure I was physically able to continue working the show, and without her I would have probably passed out on Thursday afternoon
- My friend and partner Kris Dulfer brought in half the booth fixtures, planned nearly everything with me going back 12 months, and even stayed the absolute longest with me, finishing at 1AM last night helping me load Detolfs back into my warehouse
- Justin Hates You helped manage our table, run things when Kris and I weren't around, and took part in building one of our most sought-after exclusives... and I've never met him before. Great guy.
- Adam Pratt, Kris, Sidekick, Jason Chalker and Justin all worked REALLY hard to help create the Hip Hop Trooper action figure exactly as I envisioned it, right down to the accessories. And big ups to the Hip Hop Trooper for overnighting signature cards to us to make it super official.
- Chip Soup orchestrated an entire custom blind box series called the Cenobots
- Beau from Credenda Studios made a beautiful custom action figure series of my cousin Sam and then proceeded to ALSO work the booth after his signing... during which he didn't hesitate to sell my OTHER exclusives.
- Brendan McGuiness showed up without warning and helped run the booth, which was awesome
- Thomas and Luna helped us pack up our precious exclusives so that you will have a shot at grabbing what's left when I put them online this week
- Klim Kozinevich brought in his work (Four Horsies, Monkey with a Gun, and the upcoming FUnicorn) and played the meet & greet part for nearly the entire show, when he wasn't off talking business with will directly and positively affect me personally....
- 123KLAN kindly designed the artwork and branding for the entire booth, making it a much more cohesive total package and (I hope) indicating to everyone that this was very much a collaborative effort among friends, rather than a random hodge-podge of people jammed into one booth.
- Rebelution Ink (Randy) screen printed some damn fine 123KLAN booth mascot shirts for us.
- Josh and Miranda of Clutter got us on stage both on Twitch.tv for an interview alongside Amy of Lulubell, and also at the Designer Toy Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom, which is an experience neither I nor Steph will forget. And I know Nick Curtis played a fundamentally important role in that whole operation
- Jason Freeny, Beau Greener and Jacob JAMS for signing at our booth
- my beautiful wife Stephanie made me look like a rock star, kept watch over me to make sure I was taken care of, and in general charmed the pants off of everyone. That's the Phillips Charm! Baby I could never do this without you, it would be utterly pointless. I'd never want to. We walked into the toy world together one day in 2004 in FAO Schwartz and began our journey. I think FAO must be our toy church...
- Matt and Jacob JAMS helped run my booth and also stayed SUPER LATE helping me pack toys and Detolfs up so that (thanks Ezra) everything will be straight for next year. They both stayed HOURS after 99% of the vendors left. Big ups.
- and I gotta shout out to my Collective: Rob & Rob, Kristina, Brian & Katie, Task, JC Rivera, Lou P, Jeremiah Ketner, Alvin & Cheri Ong, and Nerviswrek all making the Suburban Vinyl booth happen. Eric & Ian Ziobrowski, plus Jordan Ahern, Zach and Nasty Neil running the corner store. Jason Chalker representing our Texas contingent, Jon Malmstedt who flew in from Japan, Niall (Tru:Tek) who flew in from the UK, 123KLAN who drove down from Canada, Playful Gorilla who drove in from Philly, Cash from exotic Westchester and Kris from NJ... I am very, very VERY proud to call each of these people my friends and associates. A HUGE bunch of awesome, supportive, generous people with impeccable artistic tastes and talents, and a keen interest in toy art. What a fucking AWESOME collection of people. I am so proud to have each of you in our booth.
- final shout again to Kris Dulfer who facilitated the whole show. Most of you know I'm not set up in Manhattan to keep or transport stuff, I have no car, and my back is weak. Kris Dulfer has never hesitated for one second in helping plan or execute any part of this show. The booth presented and ran the way it did because of his help, assistance, planning, support and logistics. I am very thankful to have him be a part of the Tenacious Toys team.
I probably missed some people who pitched in an helped, so I'm sorry for any omissions.
My point was, Booth 208 was a huge group effort. We're a big team, and I'm proud.
See y'all next year!
NYCC Exclusives will be up online here later this week.