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Katsucon: The People Behind The Masks

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Katsucon
The comic, anime, and video game community is growing at an extraordinary pace, with fans going to conventions across the country. Katsucon is one of those conventions, and takes place every year at The Gaylord Hotel at the National Harbor in Maryland. They bring in thousands of fans and the number of attendees grows every year. The question is - who are these people? This fandom has brought together people from all parts of the world with various backgrounds into one place, creating an amazingly diverse community. The rest of the country may be buzzing about politics, environmental change, etc, but at Katsucon, the focus is on what’s going on within those walls - the fandom.
Going to one of these conventions can open up your eyes to the inclusiveness of the culture without social and occupational barriers. The attendees are especially friendly, sharing news about their favorite fandom with people who would have been complete strangers otherwise. The excitement and openness is unparalleled. Because of this, businesses like Filthy Casual has been able to tap into the audience and further promote the love for the culture through niche apparel, accessories, art, and various other products.What makes a convention like Katsucon so special is the community. People come for the panels and guests like the CEO of Rogue Studio, Lee Malone and Voice Actress Cherami Leigh, but they stay for the friendships that they make throughout the 4 day event. As for the crowd, there were people of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and careers. Katsucon was flooded with cosplayers. They dressed up in costumes as their favorite characters from comics, anime, and video games, often beautifully handmade. We explored who the people were behind the masks. What we found was extraordinary. Their occupations vary from business executives to college students and most travel by car, bus, plane, or whatever it takes just to attend. 

Burger King

Audio EngineerKatsucon “I got into cosplay from my sister actually. She had been going to Katsucon for a long time and it always sounded like fun. My first Katsucon was 5 years ago I think and I love it every year!” 

Mokujin, Tekken

Store Manager at Game StopKatsucon  

Tristana, League of Legends

Aspiring Prop MakerKatsucon “My dream is to be a prop maker and cosplay is helping me achieve that dream. 🙂 I started cosplaying in 2010 when I realized it was a thing to dress up as your favorite characters and go to conventions where others do the same, since I always loved dressing up as a child. Though I didn't realize how much I loved making props until the last year or so! Being able to make something physical from scratch is truly an amazing feeling.” 

Elsa, Frozen

TeacherKatsucon“I got into cosplay because I like sewing. I went to my first convention in 2013, and was so excited to see all the costumes around. I put together a casual TARDIS cosplay for my next con, and things have just escalated from there.” 

Crown Prince Arthas, Heroes Of The Storm

Analytical ManagerKatsucon  

Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus

Graphic Designer For Rowman and LittlefieldKatsucon “I've always loved dressing up, Halloween, renaissance festivals etc. I chose to do the Frizz at Otakon 2010 and the response was overwhelmingly positive. And so I did another costume...and another. I love the community and to be totally honest I love the attention too. It's a fun hobby and I feel accomplished and proud when I complete a project.” 

Dr. Strange

Business Development Executive at NNDATADr. Strange“I've always been a nerd, but it took me until a friend from my welding class suggested AwesomeCon would be a great outing for our nerd friends and we decided to go as a zombie bridal party using the dress from my first wedding. We showed up on Easter Sunday as church was letting out across the street - shouting Happy Resurrection Day - and I realized I would never have more fun than being a giant nerd in public. My Instagram has a picture of the dress!” 

Reinhardt, Overwatch

Design DrafterKatsucon  

Cinderella

Student and Cashier at a supermarketKatsucon “Cosplay for me started when I saw a group of lolitas at a fancy castle I used to live near, I saw them and thought to myself that I wanted to look like that too. And after research I found out about cosplay” 

Final Fantasy XV Nissin Cup Noodle

StudentKatsucon  

Guts, Bersek

Insurance AgentKatsucon "I got into cosplay because I've always been a do it yourself kind of guy. I wanted to be a Saiyan so I made Saiyan armor and people really liked it, so I felt confident to try making a lot of other things too 

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Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

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Events

The Ultimate Gift Guide For Entrepreneurs

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Here's a guide if you're seeking a gift for entrepreneurs in your life. The entrepreneur in your life is always pushing to be the best. This holiday, you can get them a present that will assist them in their venture. You can always take a look at the hottest technology this year, or perhaps you want to get them something for their pet. Whatever it may be, you'll be helping them enhance their lifestyle. The average entrepreneur is working every waking moment, growing their personal brand and building their business. We put together a Holiday Gift Guide that will help the entrepreneur in your life crush it.

Hyper Chiller

Hyper ChillerHave you ever wanted a cold beverage, but don't have the patience to wait an hour for your drink to chill? Hyper Chiller can fix that problem in one minute. It has a multi-chamber design that chills anything from wine, coffee, tea, or even shots without any dilution. This gift is bound to be frequently used and become a house favorite. 

Travel Halo

Travel haloPerfect for the frequent traveler, the Travel Halo allows you to sleep comfortably no matter where you are. It's a less clunky alternative to the standard airplane neck pillow and is made to prevent your head from rolling while it's on. It is compact enough to fit into a carry-on, so you don't have to worry about space in your luggage.

Bellroy Notebook Cover

BellroyAnother great gift for entrepreneurs. Do you know someone who's obsessively organized? The Bellroy Notebook Cover A5 is a great accessory for their notebook or sketchbook. It can even fit a small tablet or e-reader. The leather is made of premium hides that have been tanned and dyed through to ensure graceful aging. This gift is great for the entrepreneur who is always networking and attending professional events. 

DRIPO

DripoA fantastic gift for entrepreneurs who love coffee. This latest innovation in coffee has got caffeine addicts hooked on cold brew. Dripo has a proprietary slow-drip cold brew method that creates an old-world, bitter-free luxurious taste. The device releases 45 drips per minute, and a perfect cup of coffee is ready in about 2-3 hours. Dripo is ideal for the patient and those who appreciate coffee brewed to perfection. If you're looking for a gift for your company Secret Santa, this is it.Dripo 

Portable Power Bank

WLTHThere's always that one friend that is constantly on their phone, complaining about low battery. Help them out by gifting the High Capacity Portable Power Bank. It has 7-10 full charges so they will never have to worry about their phone dying ever again. The power bank fits comfortably in your car, bag, or even your pocket! Both Android and iPhone users can charge at the same time, making it one of the most convenient charging banks out there. This is a great gift for entrepreneurs who are always on the move. 

Adventure Assist Notebook

Travel efficiently with Adventure Assist. It is beautifully designed and perfect for organizing trips. Plan every detail of your journey beforehand and relive the adventure whenever you want. Adventure Assist is a great alternative to a conventional notebook or agenda. You can log your travels while you travel as well as have all your documents in the convenient pocket on the inside cover. Enjoy your dream trip over and over! 

Espro

EsproTake your favorite hot coffee with you, no matter where you're traveling. The French style two filter system in Espro leaves all of the flavor and none of the grit. Not only is it great for coffee, but you can also use Espro for tea too! It still goes through the double filtering system to provide maximum flavor. It is made of double wall vacuum insulated stainless steel and keeps your coffee and tea hot for 4-6 hours. You can venture to the ends of the earth with this travel press and be confident that you will still have your favorite cup of coffee. 
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Events

Anime Conventions: Why You Should Go Even If You’re Not A Fan

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anime conventions
Japanese animation has become something of an anomaly. The content of anime has become so diverse that a show exists for any interest; if you are into cars, watch Initial D. Want to be a better chef? Food Wars breaks cooking down into a science. Love exercising? Goku turning Super Saiyan for the first time will motivate you to hit the gym. Anime is full of knowledge, history, humor, and wit, yet can be poetic, melancholic, mysterious, and, at times, ridiculous. It is a wonderfully unique style of art that, since its inception in 1951 (Astroboy, by Osamu Tezuka), has grown to unprecedented levels of success. But more noteworthy than Japanese animation itself are anime conventions, most notably the attendants.
Anime Conventions began in 1975 in Tokyo with an event called Comiket. The attendance then was around 700 people. Anime NEXT, held in the Atlantic City convention center, had an attendance rate of over 19,000 people. So, what makes these conventions, events that are focused solely on the niche genre of Japanese animation so wildly popular?

Seeing the cosplay alone is worth it

Cosplaying is synonymous with anime conventions. Yes, it is easy to put together a ragtag costume (it’s also very funny), or to buy one from a Halloween masquerade store, but many of these attendants pour thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours creating their own costumes. They use 3D Print technology for armor, or paper mache techniques, stencils, steel forging and welding, LED lighting, anything. The creativity and innovation is incredible. You’ll catch celestials with ten foot wingspans, enormous robotic suits, eyes glowing, bodies whirring with mechanical, moving parts. This community pours everything they have into an outfit that allows them to be the character they love the most. In essence, they are allowing themselves to be themselves through their characters. It is amazing and art in motion.Anime Next

The cultural diversity

I remember being at Anime NEXT. I had just received my press pass and was wandering the halls upstairs when I heard music from below. A group of cosplayers had plugged in a big subwoofer and blaring from it was Prince Royce’s cover of “Stand By Me”, a popular Latin cover of the original Ben E. King classic, but in the style of Bachata. I hurried downstairs and caught dozens of people being asked and courted to dance and, suddenly, it became a party. Strangers became friends. Everyone was laughing and were taken by the moment. You will see people from all parts of society. One of the greatest feelings about partaking in a convention is that the reality of all we are is forgotten. Everyone is accepted and it is diversity in its finest hour.

The Activities. Play a Game, Have a Drink, High Five Left Shark.

Aside from the panels that lets you talk to famous voice actors and Japanese musicians, the free game room boasting hundreds of hit games such as Super Smash Brothers, Street Fighter, Marvel Vs. Capcom, and Dance Dance Revolution, the marketplace that hosts hundreds of merchandise vendors, artists, and rare collectibles, you are free to do just about anything. Tired of walking? Sit literally anywhere you like and rest. Walk outside and watch a photoshoot take place, catch characters from different Animes stand off against each other. Head to the many bars for a drink. At night, go to the raves in the ballrooms. Go to the nightclubs. The options are practically endless, and apply to every anime convention in the country.anime conventions

Nowadays, it’s about more than just anime.

It started off as a gathering of people with similar interests, like all conventions do, but over the last decade, anime conventions have become an event that encompasses all pop culture. Yes, you’ll see your Ouran Highschool students, your Edwards and Alphonses, Narutos, and Attack on Titan cosplayers; you’ll also see Spidermen. You’ll catch Harley Quinns strutting down the halls, Batmen, Hogwarts students, Deadpools, Transformers, and Ninja Turtles. Anime conventions have become a haven for all fans of any medium.
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Business

10 Things You Need For A Successful Launch Party

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launch party
A product or company launch party can be very exciting. However, it also takes meticulous thinking and planning. This type of event has to be memorable to your guests so that it makes an impact. Here are 10 elements to include in your checklist for your next product or company launch.

1. Theme

Themes give party cohesion. Weave your party theme to the décor, music, food, beverage and menu. But don't just choose any theme at random. Your theme should coincide with your product or company's message or brand. The staff should also know about the message you want to convey.

2. Upbeat Music

A party without music is not a party. Give your product or company launch energy with some upbeat music. But don’t make things too loud. Your music should be just loud enough to give guests positive energy without hindering communication.

3. Guest List

When you're making your guest list for the launch, make sure to invite the right people. Make sure that your message reaches the right audience so that they will be able to spread the good word about your product or company. Consider gender balance and invite the right amount of people that will fit in your venue. Invite the following people to your launch to ensure a continued buzz after your event ends.Media personnel like bloggers, journalists and other press can help spread word regarding your product or company. Industry experts will add weight to your event and their presence will help influence guests. Companies and other partners that support you should also be invited. They can be seen while helping promote your brand which is a win-win situation for both parties. Prospective clients will have a first row access to your new products or service which is always good news to your target market. Potential investors are a good idea because there might be a time you might need additional funding. But even if you don't launch parties are great venues to make connections.

4. Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be very powerful in product launches. Create a great sounding hashtag to make it easier for guests to promote you on social media. You can also set up a small photobooth to make it easier for guests to upload pictures on social media.

5. Full Service Catering

Food is a big part of the launch party so make sure to make it classy by ordering full service catering. This type of service will allow you to focus on the launch without having to worry about coordinating the food, entertainment, décor and beverages. You can spice it up by ordering specialty drinks that matches your brand's image and compliments the image of your company. Make sure to have alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages served.The food should also match your brand and the event's atmosphere. If your product has cultural roots, make sure to highlight this when you think about the food and drinks.

6. Live Demos

Make your guests fall in love with your product by conducting live demos. Not only will this interest your guests but educate them too. Allow attendees to sample your product if possible.

7. Giveaways

Advertising giveaways, souvenirs, games and raffles are great ideas to make your launch party memorable even after the event has ended. Not only are they exciting, they will also entice guests to come to your launch.

8. Emotion

Make sure that you share something about your company that can evoke emotion in your guests. A company story that is laced with emotion will make your brand more relatable and will give guests a chance to "bond" with you.

9. Loot Bags

No launch party is complete without a loot bag for guests to take home. You can give away product samples, themed cupcakes and other goodies attendees can take home to make your launch extra memorable. Don’t forget to include leaflets with product and buying information so that guests can act upon their emotions.

10. Unforgettable Experience

By making sure that you have everything ready for your product or company launch, you are making sure that attendees have an unforgettable experience. Make sure to end the night in a spectacular way to make sure that guests will continue to buzz about your event.
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