After moving to Florida, I knew I wanted to meet people who were active in the hobby that could share in my obsession. We previously explored how to meet people in the hobby, and meetups are a fantastic option to meet new people or get to know those you’ve met online!
While some of this information may seem quite basic to some, others have expressed confusion about what meetups are and how, exactly, they are organized. This is my attempt to help clarify what meetups are, who they’re for, and how they’re run.
1. What are meetups?
Meetups are get-togethers for people who have similar interests – in this case, BJD. They can be large or small, in public or private, indoors or outdoors, and organized or not.
2. Who are they for?
Meetups are for anyone! They are perfect for newcomers to the hobby to learn about a variety of companies, sizes, styles, etc. They are also perfect for those new to the area who want to meet others with similar interests. And they are a lot of fun for those who have been in the hobby for a while and love to hang out with friends who share their excitement.
If you’re shy, there are small meetups that can be less overwhelming. There will be a smaller variety to see, but sometimes it can be easier to talk to people.
If you’re more outgoing, or really want to see a larger variety, it may be beneficial to find a larger meet up in your area.
Sometimes we don’t have a choice on the size of a meetup, and that’s ok! Don’t be shy!
3. How are they run?
Meetups can be as organized as 1 or 2 people saying “Hey! I’m/we’re getting together at this place (a library, for example) at this time (say, 3 pm) – come and hang out! We’ll be there for at least 2 hours!”
They can also be incredibly detailed with their organization. The Chicago area group (ChitownDollz) generally has 2 meetups per year that are completely organized. They are large meetups (close to 100 attendees) at a rented facility (they rent a hall) with a small entrance fee ($15, I believe, which INCLUDES food and beverages!). There are areas set up for sales items, places to display dolls, freebie tables, photography backdrops and dioramas, and tables and chairs to visit with friends.
Meetups can also be organized at conventions that may have attendees who are BJD fans. These are usually not convention-sponsored meetups (although this can vary!), and may just consist of BJD collectors attending the event sitting around and getting to know each other as both BJD fans and (insert fandom here) fans. Some con-goers try to create a BJD panel so there is a designated time/place for BJD fans to get together at the convention where dolls and owners are not in anyone’s way (or in danger of being stepped on).
There are so many different ways that meetups can be run, it’s so hard to highlight them all! I’ll explore a few different types of meetups in the next post.
Even if you are new to a group, don’t be shy about talking to people and introducing yourself! I know it can be intimidating trying to talk to people who seem to know each other really well, but, in my experience, collectors are always happy to include new folks.