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The City Journals

Local vendors get their geek on at FanX

Oct 05, 2018 02:01PM ● By Jana Klopsch

The long line to get into FanX at the Salt Palace Convention Center on Thursday night, Sept. 6, traditionally the least busy day of Comic Con FanX. (Holly Vasic/City Journals)

By Holly Vasic | [email protected]

Creative cosplay, kids of all ages, and sci-fi die-hards can be seen at Comic Con in downtown Salt Lake City every September. Now commonly referred to as FanX, the Thursday through Saturday event at the Salt Palace Expo Center features celebrities, artist booths, gizmos and gadgets, and, of course, costumes for sale. Local businesses revel in this time as well, especially the more fantastical. 

South Jordan resident Shauna Lower, owner of Magic Moments Gift, had a booth at the event for the third year this year. 

Lower describes herself as a lover of sci-fi (ever since watching “Star Wars” at age 13 in 1977), fantasy, and sewing hence her products range from blankets to reusable lunch sacks. She is passionate about the environment and creating as little waste as possible and has implemented that into her business model. 

Lower, a grandmother of five, began her business nine years ago. “I was using a 30-year-old sewing machine, so one day as I was struggling to make my latest grandson a blanket, my son surprised me with a new sewing machine. That was the day I started sewing like I had never sewn before, but very soon my grandbabies had more blankets, bibs, quilts and pillowcases, in all of their favorite things, than they needed. Since I didn't feel like I was finished sewing, I started selling my products on Facebook yard sales.” Lower’s unique way of utilizing soft minky fabric makes her quilts and throws a big hit. Of course, her use of fun super hero and Star Wars patterns you can’t find anywhere else helps, too. 

Big conventions have their pros and cons for local businesses. Lower maintains an Etsy shop and finds that during FanX people are in a buying mood, ready to purchase cool, unique items like what she offers. The down side is that booth space rental is limited and pricey. 

“For a local vendor, making her own product, with a small profit margin and a bulky product, the larger booth is not economical and the smaller booth is difficult to have and show enough product to even break even,” Lower explained. She shared a booth this year with another vendor to make the situation work best. 

Breezy Soles Style, another local business who has been at FanX for the last couple of years, is what owner Devanie Stout calls a charity for profit. She loans the inventory, at no upfront cost, and employees receive 50 to 60 percent from every sale. 

“I can typically get them into events free or low cost,” said Stout. Her products range from handmade items to, what she called, “cool, lower priced geek items that tend to fly off the shelves.” The plethora of pocket watches with Deadpool’s face or Superman logos caught the attention of many little boys. “I do it for fun and to help others, if I make a little profit along the way it usually goes to help pay someone else’s bills or help others,” Stout said. For events like FanX, Stout also helps employees or volunteers dress to impress. “We have six different Pokémon mascot costumes,” she said. Pikachu is the favorite.  

An abundance of cool things to buy was at FanX goers’ fingertips like cell phone cases, mystery boxes, or funny T-shirts. Many booth workers noted this year was the busiest they have seen thus far in FanX history. Another successful Comic Con for Salt Lake City in the books, until next year.