Photo: Jessie Kirk Photography
Get to know the people behind GeekCraft Expo, the coolest handmade geeky craft show around! In our second of four interviews, we quiz Market Curator Kimberly Matsuzaki about how she became involved, and what she looks for in an exhibitor!
GeekCraft Expo: How did you come to be part of the Voltron-like entity that is GeekCraft Expo? Bonus question: which part of Voltron are you?
Kimberly Matsuzaki: I’m the inspiration, the muse, the reason! No seriously, Dan and I would attend conventions together and I would drag him all over the show exclaiming, "Look at that! So cute! I want that!" We'd quickly walk by the booths filled with mass-produced items and spend ages at booths offering unique handmade items. Which part of Voltron am I? I guess I would be the eyes. Is that a part of Voltron? I pick eyes since my duty is to look over and approve applications.
GCE: What were your main objectives when you started creating GeekCraft Expo?
Put all the cool stuff in one place
Try not to buy all the stuff and spend all the money
GCE: As GCE’s curator, what do you look for in an exhibitor?
KM: What catches my eye is when a prospective exhibitor has something that I haven't seen before or rarely see. Bags and pouches made with geeky fabric always has its place at the show, and I'm not bashing it by using it as an example (truly, I buy at least two of these at each show!), but if an applicant's bag had a feature where I'd never over-stuff it and make it a black hole of stuff, she's automatically in!
Then I look for things like item quality and relevance to geekiness and/or pop culture. This isn't a dealbreaker, but it's also good to see items with a range of prices to appeal to different shoppers. But! Custom makers! Don't hesitate to apply if your main objective is to showcase the custom orders you can make. Custom items are no doubt awesome and it's great to see examples in person.
GCE: What are your favorite geeky pastimes?
KM: What started me down the geek path was computer games, specifically first person shooters. My love of shooters and other video games led me to leave a well-paying IT career for a fun job paying a ramen salary. So, video games, lots of video games. When the Xbox 360 came out I was an achievement wh—achiever, and prided myself on getting all 1,000 points on a game.
There was also a time in my life when I had much free time. I'd spend those days making geeky crafts, like quilts and cross stitch. One of the first gifts I made for Dan was a Breaking Bad cross stitch. Nowadays I play games on my phone after Little Boss (our four-year-old daughter) goes to bed.
GCE: How does your past experience at Ubisoft inform your work at GeekCraft Expo?
KM: I would say mainly in connections. I keep up with friends from those days who are still working those careers and get informed on the latest. Facebook, man. The answer to everything is Facebook. Without Facebook I would have never known that Animal Crossing was released on the iPhone! That game is my jam for now, until I delete it because I'm spending way too much time on it.
GCE: What is your favorite convention snack?
KM: Cookies and chocolate. I often get busy at a show and realize I'm starving when I finally come up for air. That gives me a quick kick and tastes like the best thing ever when I'm so hungry! I also pack a ton of snacks like granola bars, nuts, chips, and fruit but somehow never end up eating them. One day I might eat them, when Little Boss is old enough to be my #1 minion and all I'm required to do is sit on my geek throne and enjoy the show. A girl can dream, right?
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