South Tampa News
Fetish conference about having fun, making money
By Howard Altman | Tribune StaffTAMPA - Sex sells.
Published: August 4, 2012
Published: August 4, 2012
At least the people at Fetish Con 2012 hope so.
Despite the whips, toys, omnipresent videos and performances too risqué to describe in a family newspaper, the conference celebrating all things kinky is a trade show, where people from as far as South Africa and Australia have come to the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Tampa to sell their goods and, in some cases, themselves.
"This is great," said Christina Carter, who, dressed as Wonder Woman, goes by the professional nom de plume Christina Carter. "I'm selling a lot of DVDs."
Carter, 36, has been to every Fetish Con since they began in 2001, in the dark days after 9/11. Originally from Ohio, she said she did standard modeling until a manager told her about a client who was into bondage.
"I love bondage," she said, standing amid a flowing crowd of fetish enthusiasts dressed in outfits ranging from very little to full-body latex. "So I agreed."
One of the best parts of Fetish Con, she said, is networking.
"I find a lot of new girls for my videos," she said.
As she spoke, videos of her performing played on a big screen in her trade booth. The video business, she said, has changed dramatically in the past couple of years.
"It used to be that everyone sold videos on their own website, but now people make their videos but upload them to Clips4Sale.com. It's like a giant mall."
Delfino said one of her biggest money-makers is videos she makes for people who send in scripts. A 10-minute video is $500 and a half-hour could run up to $4,500.
Not everyone at the trade show was doing as well.
"On a scale of one to 10, I would say this has been a six," said Pam Camille, a manager at The Shoe Guy booth, which offered footwear ranging from outrageously high high-heels to red and black leather stiletto knee-high boots costing about $225 a pair.
The conference grew from a small gathering of about 500 people in post-9/11 New York City to an expected 10,000-plus this year, said Genesis Lynn, one of the promoters.
This year's event began Thursday and ends today. It features offerings as Kinky Karaoke, hands-on demonstrations and even business seminars.
The fetish industry, Lynn said, is small slice of the overall sex market, but still lucrative.
But like any other industry, it has been buffeted by the recession. "Can you afford to spend $300 on a corset?" she asked. "That is what people are asking themselves."
Alisa Farrington, 30, a fetish model from Atlanta, was dressed Saturday as Super Girl in a red cape and blue tights with a big red "S." She said that she had two rules for the conference.
"Number one is to have fun," she said. "Number two is to make money. I am definitely doing both."