We loved going to Hello Kitty Con!
I’ve been a fan of Hello Kitty since I was a little girl. When I was little there was one gift shop that was far away from me that had this little cart of Sanrio items. I remember that precious cart so clearly in my head! My mom would take me occasionally as a special treat. Now as an adult, I still love Sanrio’s appealingly designed items. I really love that Hello Kitty and Sanrio products have been easier to get as the years have gone by. Sanrio fabric can now be bought from USA shops instead of having to use a shopping service from Japan to get it. Target has coloring books for my toddlers and shirts for me and them. We were all very excited to go to the first ever Hello Kitty Convention for her 40th birthday. It sold out weeks before, too, so we felt very lucky to go!
I had already made special coordinating Hello Kitty dresses for the twins’ 2nd birthday, so for Hello Kitty Con, I made myself a matching dress, too! My dress is a 1947 inspired dress from sewing pattern Butterick B5209 with a dirndl skirt substituted. The fabric is Kokka Hello Kitty Japan from fabric.com. Of course, toddlers being toddlers, they wouldn’t look at the camera.
People dressed up with their family and friends in coordinating Sanrio character inspired outfits, handmade costumes and a lot of adorable outfits from JapanLA and Hello Kitty bows all over from IamChubbyBunny. It was so adorable to see so many life-long Hello Kitty fans in the same place. Everyone was very excited.
Some of the highlights for me (in no particular order) were:
- Target Presents: The Adventures of Hello Kitty and Bullseye – This hard to get into room was worth the wait. My daughter really loved the music game where you hit the flowers to create tones. One of the Target staff guys adorably helped us play. The animated gif photo booths were totally fun as well as the video games! I won a Target pink bullseye plush and a Hello Kitty iPad mini case.
(The two photos below with big thanks to Shannon Cottrell.)
- Hello Kitty Cafe Food Truck – This adorable pink truck was the precursor for the coming Hello Kitty SoCal restaurant! They had wonderful Hello Kitty inspired donuts, macaroons and petit fours! I’m definitely looking forward to the coming full cafe.
- Lovely Kitty Wonder – curated by Stephiee Nguyen of JapanLA! Gorgeous and imaginative Hello Kitty inspired couture dresses! Metal corsets, laser cut dresses and mermaids…! Some of the talented designers were Mother of London, Ophelia-Overdose, Creatures of Habit and Fiori Couture!
- Super Supermarket – A lot of awesome Hello Kitty stuff I hadn’t seen before and some awesome exclusives for the con! I immediately ran to the JapanLA booth to try to get one of the limited pink Hello Kitty Kaijus they were selling. (Only 9 a day!) They also had limited Sephora makeup collaborations, beautiful Loungefly bags, Hello Kitty/SPAM musubi kit, super cute Bedhead Pajamas and adorable toys.
- The JANM Hello Kitty Exhibit and Gift Shop – The exhibit was really gorgeous (and is open until April!) Lots of vintage Hello Kitty items, but for me the real treat was the imaginative artworks created for the show. I especially loved the Hello Kitty godzilla-like kaiju, the Hello Kitty “cake” and the giant Tokidoki Hello Kitty Egyptian statue. The giftshop had a lot of beautiful items with the Japanese Kokeshi Doll inspired Hello Kitty logo. There was a Precious Moments HK Kokeshi, large plushes, bags and bobble heads, all very well designed.
- I also loved seeing the very first Hello Kitty item ever made, a small coin purse! It really gave perspective to how Hello Kitty has grown. They also had a giant coin purse you could pose inside! There were other fun backdrops to take photos with, too.
There were also fun food and tea events at participating local restaurants for Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt and a few celebrities and famous folks showed up at various times over the weekend like Yoshiki, Misako Aoki, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Katie Perry!
I hate to say this, since I love Hello Kitty so much, but there were definitely issues with crowd control. Perhaps “you can never have too many friends”, but it was too many friends in a small space. Many activities or features seemed designed for children, but the crowd issues made it very hard for children to actually participate. For instance it was impossible for me to have my daughters get a photo with any of the “walk-around” Sanrio characters because they were in crowded areas that we couldn’t even reach with the stroller. There were no queues to take pictures with them. There was no place to leave the stroller either, not in the Geffen or the JANM and some areas were so crowded that the girls could have been trampled easily if they were walking. The Target/Hello Kitty room only had room for a queue of about 10 people, after that you were not allowed to line up, which made it extremely hard to do that very fun event. I went back three times to try to get in line for a custom sign board from one of the Sanrio artists and was told I couldn’t line up each time. Hopefully if they do it again (and I hope they do!!) they will have better line and crowd control since Hello Kitty is for people of all ages and it’s very hard for children to wait in line for 3-5 hours (which is what the line for one of the shops was…!) The actual events and activities were well done and awesome, though. Many of the staff went out of their way to try to help us with the crowd issues, too, which I really appreciated. Everyone was very nice, it was just too many people in a small space.