Tips on setting up local meetup

May 20, 2019

    1. Wondering if anybody ever tried setting up local meetup before?
      I kind of want to set up one for my local city but feel like there might not really be enough interest... we just had an anime convention this weekend and I don't think there was even a meetup there. I wasn't able to go unfortunately so I wouldn't know if maybe someone brought their doll (although weather wasn't good so I wasn't sure if I would bring mine even if i was able to go)

      Sometimes I see people from my location on the forum but they're always just selling things that I don't really know how to approach them.

      Anybody ever tried setting up doll meetups before?

      Was it successful or it didn't really work out?

      I really hope I could make some local friends that also love bjd dolls since none of my friends seem interested, I joined a local FB group too but there really wasn't any activity.

      How else do you make local friends in this hobby?
       
    2. If you don't get a good response here, there's a FB group called "CANADA BJD GROUP" with members from Calgary.
       
    3. My local group has a Facebook page as well. We occasionally met up in a local library and several members have tried to set up other meets but they haven't met with success. What I have noticed is that if you have to pay some kind of entry fee to whatever place you're meeting in a lot of people will balk. It's not quite as bad at conventions I think, lots of people seem more comfortable bringing there dolls there weather or not there's a panel or meet for them and the ticket price doesn't appear to bother them much since they get access to the rest of the con too.
       
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    4. I don't know your circumstances, of course, but have you thought of hosting a smaller meet or (as I call them) dolly-day in your home?

      Most of the "meets" I attend are smaller ones hosted by a person at home rather than bigger ones in a more public venue. This is easier once you know a few people within easy(ish) travel range of your home, of course. Some of those invited were people I've got to know from the community over the years, some were DoA newbies in the area who I thought lmight like the opportunity to come along and meet others dolly-fans in person. The last one I hosted (in January) ended up having five people attending (I was expecting up to a dozen but a combnation seasonal illnesses and family commitments prevented some from coming - this sort of thing happens, don't be upset or put off by it, plan accordingly).

      Also, don't be offended if people are reluctant to come - some people are shy and/or socially awkward, and may find it easier to socialise online than in person, some may be reluctant to chance meeting up in person with people they only know online. I know at least one person who would never consider going along to a meet of people they only knew onlie unless they were accompanied at least one other that they already knew in person. For some this might be easier to do in a public venue, for others it might be eaiser if it's a smaller group in a less public place.

      If you prefer to set up a more public one, then you need to find a venue and find out how much it will be to hire (if you can't find a free one or a public space you coudl all just turn up at), then put up a thread in th meets are of the board here AND put out word to people you know are in your area (even if you don't know them prsonally, there's nothing to stop you messaging them with details in case they are interested) explaining about the proposed meet, the date, the location, how much it will cost per person so you can guague the likely uptake from the responses you get.

      The more it's likely to cost, the more people are likely to balk. People's budgets differ - the amount they have available for dolly-related stuff may be severely limited and they may prefer to save their dolly-dollars for that next doll/outfit/wig than spening on attending a meet. If the venue is somewhere there the attendees are expected to buy refreshments as part of the venue hire arrangement (private room in a cafe or pub, for example) that may cause problems if people don't want to pay venue prices or prefer to bring their own snacks/drinks (and lower-than anticipated sales may cause venue owners to refuse to hire the venue to the group for future meets too).

      EDITED TO ADD: A potential low-cost venue option to look into might be a local church-hall or community centre. Some of them have smaller "meeting" rooms available in addition to the larger space. If your meet is likely to be small, a meeting room could work. One of my local church halls, for example, has the usual large room (with stage at one end, and a big multi-purpose space for chairs/tables etc in the main body of the room - you're probably familar with the setup) that we hire sometimes for Medieval feasts and banquets, but also has a small side room (we use it as a changing room and dumping ground for modern kit at Medieval events) which would be more than adequate for a doll meet that is too big to host in someone's home.

      Teddy
       
      #4 Teddy, May 20, 2019
      Last edited: May 20, 2019
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    5. I’m from a small town in Kentucky and thought that nobody in the whole state owned dolls. Turns out there are dozens of us, but only maybe ten who regularly try to attend meets. Because Kentucky only has two major cities, most of the time at least half of the attendees are driving 1-2 hours to go, so it can be difficult to find a location and date when it literally consumes an entire day or weekend to do it. Our last meet was this past weekend and only had about 9 people, including SOs, so they’re often small. That’s not a bad thing though—it makes it much easier to get to know people on a more personal level and make friends than a huge group would.

      I would recommend checking the doll meet section here on DoA for meets already happening in your area. If there are none, you could start your own or look for interest. Even if you don’t have a date or location set, start a thread asking about interest. I find it’s usually easier to look for people first, then work together to choose a date that works best for the majority. Cheap or free locations are best. We usually choose a park, coffee shop or cheap restaurant/buffet, when you get to know each other better, private home meets are great. Get an idea of how many people are coming before picking a venue—-you don’t want to rent an expensive conference room for five people, nor do you want to try to cram 40 people and 100 dolls into someone’s living room.

      Once you have interested people, decide what kind of meet you want to have. Lunch and just hanging out, photo meet, workshop, market/swap meet? That can help determine a good location too. Let people know if they need to bring anything besides just their dolls.

      Lastly, ask if anyone has any special needs that need to be met. If anyone has any severe allergies that need to be considered, if anyone has mobility issues and needs accommodations, if anyone has a service animal and needs to be sure they will be welcome, if anyone has a special diet will they be able to find food at the restaurant, etc. make sure the meet will be safe and welcoming for everyone.
       
    6. I used to set up a lot of meets a few moves/ten years ago or so. My biggest note I’ve found is while s group is still developing to try to stay interactive with people and counter intuitively not give too many options. The more options, the less people will be able to decide on one.
      For example I’ll advise we’ll meet at Main Park, Does date A or date B work better for people?

      Personally, I stick to public but not middle of everything places for meet ups. Some people will only show to private in-home meets. It really just depends.
      As an organizer, I try to pick low cost and accessible locations. As an attendee, I try to make sure any special needs I have are voiced.
      For example, I currently work with a service dog and while I understand people being OK with her in their homes, it’s a much more difficult for me to have her in a home instead of a public place. This doesn’t mean an in home meet should be stopped because of me, just a lower likelyhood that I’ll attend.
      Good luck!
       
    7. I live in a condo so I thought about hosting it in the lounges that I can book for free and people can bring dolls/food so there is no cost besides transportation.
      Problem is that the location is still a condo and not a public space so people might not feel as comfortable going... especially since I don't live in central part of the city either so for those who don't drive, it may take them longer to get where I would host >.<
      Thanks so much for all the tips about messaging people and starting a thread asking about interest.!!!!
       
    8. Sounds ideal

      Teddy
       
    9. We try to do local meet-ups monthly in my state. We have one person in charge of the DOA meet-up page here, but any of us can choose a day or location, post it, and see if anyone wants to come. We do restaurants or home meet-ups, sometimes cafe's. We have done local parks or libraries. We usually do a Saturday of the month, from like 1-5.
       
    10. The biggest hurdle for me when going to doll meets is that cliques are usually already formed and being a socially awkward being I never manage to burst that bubble to join in on the fun. I always appreciate it when the host divides their attention between all attendees, especially those new to the group.

      The second hurdle I usually encounter is that the host wants to meet at a restaurant or café that's above my budget. I don't want to spend the whole day dodging waiters asking if I want to eat or drink something. I find it incredibly rude to go sit somewhere and not eat or drink anything while I occupy their space, spreading dolls and items all over their establishment. I always avoid these if I know I don't have the budget to even afford the cheapest meal and some drinks.

      The third hurdle is embarassing but very important to me, personally. Since I'm always extra nervous when going to a meet my blatter tends to act up and knowing a bathroom will be nearby if need be is always a little peace of mind.

      I personally prefer a setting outdoors with a 'free' alternative in case the weather goes south and pretty locations are always a plus when it comes to taking photos of dolls. To be honest I make it sound like I'm high-maintenance but I think most of us always keep this in the back of our minds.