An interview with Jim Chan of Mint on Card discussing the first Dollism Plus USA Convention (September 19-21st Buffalo, New York).
Q. Can you tell me a little about Mint on Card’s involvement with Dollism Plus?
A. When we first met Dollheart, they expressed desire to bring Dollism Plus to the US. At that time we didn’t particularly feel compelled to do a convention. However, when I mentioned Dollism Plus to Aimee Cumming from Den of Angels just casually, she was very interested in helping it to happen and for it to be part of Den of Angel’s 10th anniversary celebration. Shortly after, the three companies (Den of Angels LLC, Mint on Card Inc, and Doll Heart) formed a committee to explore venues, programs, and doll companies that might want to make the trip from Asia to America. As far as operations wise, so far the executive director has been Lindsey (co-owner of Mint on Card) who has organized everything from talking to vendors, to arranging classes.
Q. What were the results found by the exploratory committee? What kind of responses did you receive from the overseas companies?
A: The exploratory committee put out a survey via Den Of Angels more than a year ago to ask its members how likely they would attend the convention. The result was an overwhelmingly positive response. We had about 700 hundred DoA members take the survey and answer “yes” to attending the convention. We understood that the actual number of people committed to attending the convention would be a fraction of that, but the turn-out was greater than we expected. Nearly 50% of those said “yes” to the attending did end up registering for the 3-day full convention. There were quite a few that expressed their desire to come for a one-day experience on Saturday. We were never too concerned about the vendors, as most of them have a deep relationship with all 3 event sponsors, Doll Heart, Mint on Card, and Den of Angels. They were supportive from the beginning, and that hasn’t changed.
Q: It sounds like Lindsey is exceptionally busy between the convention and her other projects. How easy has it been to be responsible for so many parts of the convention?
A: Lindsey is very much the heart and soul of this inaugural Dollism Plus on US soil. Her high standards on all things means that everything will have to be in order before she goes to sleep. It has been a fun and stressful summer. Mint on Card met up with Den of Angel’s owner in the spring in Buffalo, and attended the Dollism Plus in Hong Kong in part to discuss convention details with key members, and did a thorough preparation for the convention.
Q: What has each partner been responsible for?
A: Each partner brought in a lot of value when working together. For starters, the owners are all personal friends, and we all enjoyed making this project a reality, so partly it was for fun. Doll Heart’s Pasu Lau has an extensive network and working relationships with Korean doll makers and their companies. Without this network, it would have been very difficult to convince Korean doll makers to make the long trip to the US, and they are a major attraction to this convention. Doll Heart also provides back-office support, an existing logistic and accounting infrastructure to make sure the convention is financially viable. Mint on Card contributes in some areas that are similar to Doll Heart, such as using our relations with Chinese doll and accessories makers to convince them that attending Dollism Plus in the US will help them with their standing among US doll collectors. We are also part of the financial backbone, very much like Doll Heart to help this convention become financially viable. And as mentioned before, Mint on Card, particularly with Lindsey, is the force behind this convention’s operations, from Hotel rental, buffet menu selection, to volunteer scheduling. Den of Angel is no less significant partner in our venture together. Most of our attendees are DoA members. We were able to leverage the membership to attract attendance to our convention and allow a space to promote and discuss the convention. Forum owner Aimee Cummings was the one that connected with the BJD artists that brought the workshop and classes to our convention.
Q: How is Mint on Card preparing for the show? What will you be displaying? Is anything special in the works for the convention?
A. We were in discussion with RingDoll to come up with a DP Special Edition 70cm doll, but due to unforeseen circumstances, RingDoll is unable to attend the convention and had to drop out at the last minute. We will be bringing a few not-in-stock items, which will include some of RingDoll’s already discontinued dolls to the convention. Otherwise, we are going to let the doll makers shine in this convention, because they are the stars!