Today we’d like to introduce you to John Hoelscher & Nicole Buchanan.
Hi John & Nicole, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
John started attending conventions in 1998 and started staffing in 2000. I fell into it by accident and got enthralled by the logistical and creative side of how a convention works. Nicole started attending anime cons around 2000. She fell in love with the atmosphere, the inclusivity, and the creativeness of the people. She staffed my first convention in 2002 and then moved into leadership in 2003 when meeting John. In 2006, they decided to start their own convention with several other amazing leaders to run the way we envisioned. 15 years later Matsuricon is going strong and has some of the most amazing staff and attendees We’ve ever gotten to work with.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has definitely not been a smooth road most of the time. We started the convention with luckily over 75 years of experience among our upper staff and no funding. Luckily, we finished year one with only approximately $75 in debt. Growing a convention is tricky with funding as you only have each year to help supply the next and constantly guessing at growth rates plus environmental factors of economy, recessions, and trends.
Staff is always another obstacle. As we are all volunteers you hope those you have built relationships will stay with you but that isn’t always the case as folks get burnt out or decide to pursue other desires. The industry is also always changing so we constantly have to focus on how to make content relative and fresh for a changing audience.
We’ve also had some fun yearly struggles including covid the past two years or in 2018 when we learned 6 days before our convention that President Trump would be in the same building as our event and had to re-arrange our planning with the secret service.
Luckily, we have triumphed over these obstacles and are excited for what the next years hold.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Nicole Buchanan: I am a college grad from Wright State University with a degree in Business Management and I have been with Mary Kay Cosmetics for 13 years. I am a Sales Director leading my team to accomplish both our team goals and their individual goals for themselves and their families. My specialty is sales as I have been awarded 4 years going for our top award in Sales earning 4 diamond rings from the company. What I’m most proud of though is the others I’ve gotten to help with my business and seeing what they are able to do to make a change in their families. I love connecting with others and helping to be a force for change. I focus on helping do good in the industry and to be all-inclusive to the LGBTQ community as well. Being an independent contractor has also helped me be able to focus on Matsuricon and be able to be available and present when needed for the convention.
I’m currently in the final year of studies at Ohio State University, with an emphasis on Asian Studies and Business. I also have worked for several tech organizations as a QA Analyst, which has helped my work as a convention organizer. I’m considered the go-between for the programmers and the business leads, so one of the unique soft skills I have is being able to interpret the technical talk and make it easy to understand for those who are less technical. This helps me as a leader, being able to talk with multiple groups with ease and to convey their ideas to others in ways that everyone can understand. I ultimately feel that communicating and having that understanding from all sides have contributed to much of Matsuricon’s success.
What are your plans for the future?
Some of our plans for the future is to introduce our attendees to more international guests from Japan and other areas of Asia while communicating with other international markets and showing them that Columbus, Ohio is a must-stop destination for them. We also want to be an even more permanent fixture in the Columbus event scene, integrating ourselves with other local businesses as an event that no one wants to miss.
- $61 pre-reg price until 8/5
- $70 door price
- Website: www.matsuricon.org
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/matsuricon
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Matsuricon/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Matsuricon
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Matsuricon