Thursday, March 16, 2017

Road To Celebration: Swag Talk With Brett Isaacs

In a few short weeks I will be covering Celebration for Black Girl Nerds leading up to the convention I will be doing Road To Celebration posts with interviews, news and tips to increase your enjoyment at the convention.

Swag is a staple of conventions and Celebrations have some of the best swag in the world! At my first celebration I saw people with some great swag and I wondered where they were getting it from. A month ago I was happy to discover the SWCO SWAG Group

In this group I learned tips to creating my own swag along with some great tips on swag hunting and great conversations with fellow swag crew members that I'm excited to meet at the convention. It is also where I began chatting with the creator of the group Brett, and asked him to share some tips on convention swag. Brett also created these cool badges that he mailed out to members at his own cost so we could recognize each other at the con:

Here is the interview:

Tell me about the formation of the SWCO Swag group. How long has it been in operation and how many years have you attended the convention?
 The idea for a swag group started in my mind after i left Anaheim (my first SWC). Having attended smaller cons for decades, this was a big change.  I discovered the star wars swag via the rebelscum.comforums prior to the show and thought it was a great idea and way to meet people. I jumped in head first and created 250 items.

 When I got to Anaheim i gave out all 250 over the 4 days and was able to find/receive 10 items.  When I got back home and looked at the forums, I realized there was a lot to find, some of it easy, some very difficult. I also learned that much of the swag was central to the collector community.  I am not a serious collector and as such, did not visit the collector panels. 

Over the next few mos i had spoken to many of my friends from SWC and other cons and we thought it would be cool if there was a way to announce, 'HEY, I have swag, ask me and its yours' . 

That discussion fueled me up to Nov of 2016. I was, yet again, on the RS forums looking to see who was starting up some swag creations. Very little had been posted or discussed and it was that moment that I felt it was time to make the culture more readily available via social media.  So I formed the SWCO group that day and started posting about swag and what it means to give away swag and why we do it.  

After new years things started to take off a bit more. I was openly promoting and sharing the group page to the big SWC forum groups, star wars news sites and other Facebook groups.  I think it went from 20 or so to 50, then 150 and now over 500 members. Its just insane to me. I wanted to get the word out, and its OUT!

 With the increase in numbers and the amount of items people were creating, it became clear that some method of announcing yourself needed to be created.  The group went through a few discussions on how to do this.  6" buttons, Small Flags flying above a backpack, to the day i looked at my work id and realized my badge buddy was underneath my main badge and it said "engineer".  BOOM! Light Bulb! 

Why couldn't that say something about the group.  I posted a test run of a badge buddy and had a few people interested. Then out of the blue, when a great simple design was created by a member, it took off and the SWAG CREW badge buddy is what we have now going forward. 

That's about it, from idea to concept to working group.  Its fun and amazes me daily how many people are getting involved.  As of this print ~350 individually created items can be found at SWCO from over 200 participants.  Keep an eye on the group after SWCO, we are going to change names to just SWC SWAG CREW and start our plans for 2019!!

 What guidelines/tips would you give to swag newbies?

 Here is a list that I like to tell people
  1. HAVE FUN!
  2. Obviously, join the SWC SWAG CREW Facebook Group :D
  3. Use your imagination and tap into your inner self. IMO, swag should be a representation of what YOU love and who YOU are. funny, weird, fancy, home made, advertising your own site, etc etc. it doesn't matter.
  4. Get permission, if you can, for any artwork you are finding on the web.  most artists love free advertising :D 
  5. Member to Member trading is not our focus, we want to share swag with EVERYONE. 
  6. See #1 :D

What is the favorite piece of swag you have received?

 My favorite piece of swag, from SWC Anaheim would have to be my rebelscum forum badge. DarthBaldylox, my user name. Seeing that on a badge with the show design and knowing it was finally all beginning. 

Here is the swag Brett will have in Orlando in very limited quantities, so join the group to see where he will be!

And Here is my very first swag for Celebration:

I also will have these cool buttons from BGN:

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