YOURCOMICCON.COM is a Michigan based convention promotion company.
BIO: From 1988 to 1997 I was the store manager for A to Z cards, comics & coins. In 2009, I was a laid-off union bricklayer looking for ways to feed the kids. My pastor and I were brainstorming and we thought about hosting a comic con in the church hall. I did 5 small shows that year. The first show had 20 tables set up and 7 were mine, but 100 people came and the next 4 were okay. January 2015 the Redford Comic Con was reborn. Expanded to 3 cities 6 shows. 2017 is a banner year for yourcomiccon.com with 11 conventions in 9 Michigan cities
BU: John we have been working with you for a while now, and you just continue to grow! What’s the secret to your success?
JE: Well, first, I started collecting comic books in 1980 and have been hooked ever since. As I previously stated, I was laid off from my job, and I needed work. My pastor and I brainstormed and voila, my first comic convention was born in 2009. Not in the most conventional way, but, it helped me feed the kids that summer! *smiles.. I did 5 small shows that year. The first show had 20 tables set up and 7 were mine! Ha-ha, but 100 people came and the next 4 were better.
BU: You know that is the kind of story books are made of, right? Down on your luck story gone right?
JE: Yes, probably~ I have all the ingredients it seems, right down to a rough patch with a divorce. I had to take some time off then but in the fall of 2014 a friend asked if I was doing shows anymore? WAS I! “Uh, YEAH!”. It was a great opportunity to jump back in the ring again…and I sure went for it.
BU: You sound like a man who knows what he is after. Seems like promoting comic cons were meant to be your destiny.
JE: Must be, because in January 2015 the Redford Comic Con was reborn. It was such a success, people asked for more, so then I did a March show, but that still wasn’t enough! I kept hearing “MORE!”.
BU: You must admit, that sure beats, NO MORE! *smiles
JE: *laughs, Yeah, it does. Well, after that, I went out on a limb and I decided to try my first two day event in a nearby hall to where we are usually set up. … 10,000 sq. ft.! Over 85 vendors/guests.
BU: Whoa, Weren’t you nervous? That is a giant leap of faith!
JK: It was, but you know, we Pulled it off! And not only that, it was only six weeks from venue booking to show day.
BU: So, within a six-week period, you pulled an entire two day show together?
JK: Sure did. We sold all the vendor tables and brought in over 1600 fans! It was a great show!
BU: Don’t quote me here, but that must have set some kind of record!
BU: So, you can’t leave us hanging…. what happened next?
JK: Well, 2016 was our year of expansion! We expanded to 3 cities, 6 shows.
BU: We work a lot with show people and this is very impressive growth~ How has it been going for you?
JK: Well, like everything, there is a learning curve….and we learned a lot! AND, we made some mistakes but came out stronger.
BU: How so?
JK: Well,2017 has become a banner year for www.yourcomiccon.com with 11 conventions in 9 Michigan cities.
BU: UH, WOW! (Or more true to my personality, HOLY COW!).
JK: *laughs, yeah, we have expanded the charities at our events, too and the raffle prizes from Bags Unlimited are highly appreciated by everyone. Great products! It helps a lot! The best bags and boards anywhere!
BU: Well, you must have the knack and that personality for all this because I know this is not easy work.
BU: DO YOU EVER HAVE FREE TIME?
JK: Not much, lol. I have my boys every weekend so I try to cram all the work into Monday through Friday but many weekends I am at shows recruiting vendors and guests
BU: That’s a pretty busy life! So what’s next on the horizon for the busiest one man show promoter?
JE: Um….all these shows! Adrian Comic Con, Howell Comic Con, Kalamazoo Comic Con & Saginaw Bay Comic Con. These are all new shows this year.
This part is new for us now, too: We have created a Cosplay Trophy that will be inscribed with the winner’s names and we have expanded the charities at our events.
BU: That’s really admirable. When I see people doing these conventions for charities, it makes me proud to know that there are good people out there doing good things, even if coming up for air has to be penciled in!
JE: Being able to bring my shows onto 3 Universities & 1 College campus is very exciting for me.
BU: Is there anything in particular you could say has been a part of your play book through this? What I mean is there is more than LUCK involved here…..a secret sauce recipe? *smiles
JE: If I have a secret it is just that I try to play the “host”. By that I mean, to my guests, vendors and attendees. I attempt to host my shows like my mom did thanksgiving dinner. Little things like remembering which guest likes mountain dew and whose wife enjoys the veggie pizza. I once went to 4 stores/gas stations to get a guest milk for his lunch.
BU: You know, that’s really the secret. That is awesome. Just hearing you say it warms my heart…. geeze, now I sound like MY mom and dad!
I call us the “ yourcomiccon.com family” and many of my shows are like reunions of friends and family.
BU: I don’t know what more I can say after that. Thanks, John.