Elevating Your Event with Merchandise
Looking to take your event to the next level? Event merchandise serves as more than just a souvenir for fans; when cultivated and developed, merchandise can be a strong brand entity and a steady source of revenue. Get insight on where to start with merchandising options and how to tackle the process from creation to fulfillment from Peter Tatara (Founder/Event Director, Anime NYC), Chris Stuckey (Co-Founder, MomoCon), and Meg Tsuruda (Assistant Marketing Manager, SPJA).
About the Speakers
A graduate from the Computer Science program at Georgia Tech, Christopher Stuckey has always had a strong analytical sense and a passion for creating something for nothing. While at Georgia Tech, he created or worked with 3 different start-up companies, with the last one receiving funding and acceptance into a prestigious local startup incubator. Through Flashpoint, he was able to present in front of high-net-worth investors, including Andreessen Horowitz. While the startup companies never took off, during this time he continued working with his wife on their shared passion: a video game and anime convention called MomoCon. Together they took MomoCon from a convention of only 700 attendees into one of the fastest-growing conventions in the country, reaching more than 39,000 attendees over a single weekend in 2019. They continue to work on MomoCon as their full-time job, with more than 43,000 attendees expected in 2020.
Peter Tatara is the Founder and Event Director of Anime NYC. Launched in 2017 with the goal of building a dedicated Japanese pop culture celebration in the biggest city in America, Anime NYC has swiftly grown into one of the largest anime conventions in the US. The event brings together global premieres, major concerts, and one-of-a-kind publisher experiences. In 2021, Anime NYC anticipates over 50,000 unique attendees. Tatara serves as VP of Anime Events for Anime NYC’s parent company, LeftField Media, where he also oversees Anime Frontier, launching next year in Fort Worth, TX. Prior to Anime NYC, Tatara worked at Reed Exhibitions where he directed content across events including New York Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration, and the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention. He got his start working at anime publisher Central Park Media.
Meg Tsuruda is the Assistant Marketing Manager at SPJA, the nonprofit organization responsible for Anime Expo, World Cosplay Summit USA, and Project Anime. She has been an anime fan ever since watching Sailor Moon at a young age, and Anime Expo has been a big part of her life ever since she first attended in 2004. She even used a program guide as a “yearbook” and had her friends sign it the summer before she moved to New York to attend Fordham University. After graduating and returning to California, she decided to volunteer at Anime Expo which led her to join SPJA in 2013. Tsuruda has played an integral role in establishing, growing, and managing SPJA’s brands. Her responsibilities include creative direction across all aspects of the organization including art, design, and merchandising. She also acts as the corporate spokesperson, making appearances in various Anime Expo videos, as well as on KTLA, CBS, and Associated Press.