What types of meetups are there, anyway?
Well, there are basically 3 different types of meetups that can take place in a variety of locations. These include public spaces, private residences, and conventions/events. I’ve been to, and lead, a large number of meetups since 2005 and have found pros and cons for each type.
1. Public Spaces
Public spaces can really be split into 2 sub-sections – 1a. Indoor and 1b. Outdoor.
I’ve provided a quick list of potential public meetup locations below.
1a. Indoor Meetups
These meetups can take place anywhere indoors in a public space. Restaurants and libraries tend to make up the bulk of these types of meetups, in my experience, but are by no means the end-all, be-all of locations.
Restaurants that have a private room that can be reserved are usually best for keeping food and dolls separate while eating. While that isn’t necessary, some find it to be the most desirable.
Most public libraries have conference rooms that can be reserved for non-profit or community groups. Some will have rules against selling within the building, but that can be worked around by exchanging money outside.
If you live in a cold climate, winter meetups at a conservatory or arboretum are a fantastic option to see some green, take outdoors-type photos, and warm up a bit.
1b. Outdoor Meetups
Outdoor meetups can take place anywhere outside – from public parks to strip malls, beaches to botanical gardens.
It is usually easier to find inexpensive (free) meet up locations outside, but you will be at the mercy of the weather.
If it’s not too hot, too cold, raining, snowing, etc., outdoor meetups can be fantastic photo opportunities without worrying too much about time constraints.
2. Private Residences
It’s possible you, or someone near you is willing to open up your home to other BJD collectors.
These types of meetups can be a great way to get to know others in your area while having your dolls in the home of another collector – some who “gets it.”
Want to go to a meet up at someone’s house, but not comfortable going by yourself? Ask a friend to go with you! If they don’t want to stay the whole time, ask if they will come for the beginning and offer to have them drive separate so they can leave when you are comfortable.
If you’ve ever been to a convention or other large event, you’ve surely seen larger groups of people getting together for one reason or another.
Many times, conventions will have Facebook groups or online forums that can be used to organize “unofficial” meetups throughout the event. Chances are, there are others in the hobby who are attending and would love to meet up. Check out the threads or requests for meetups – if you don’t find any, don’t be afraid to make your own!
A quick list of potential meetup locations:
- Fast food restaurant (McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc.)
- Diner (IHOP, Denny’s, Perkins, etc.)
- Food Court (such as Mitsuwa, a Japanese marketplace with a food court)
- Independently owned diners/restaurants (mom & pop restaurants)
- Public Library
- Conservatory or Arboretum
- Coffee Shop or Bakery (if there’s a seating area)
- Public Park or Nature Preserve
- Botanical Gardens
- Strip Mall (if there’s a seating area)
- Doll Shop