How Two Best Friends Crafted a Love for Nostalgia Into a Career
Nostalgia pays off if you know how to market it. And Liliana Kligman and Christina Figliolia have figured it out. The best friends are the founders of Thats4Entertainment, a company that specializes in conventions and bringing fans together. Specifically, the women used their love for the 90s and for the holiday movie space to create Christmas Con and later, 90s Con.
Next month marks the fourth Christmas Con, set to take place in Overland Park, Kansas. But it was while coming up with their first-ever convention in 2019 that the women thought of 90s Con.
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“As 90s kids, we thought it would be such a cool idea to be able to bring together tv show, movie and music reunions that we all grew up with,” the co-founders explained. “We knew the key to 90s Con would be bringing together the casts that haven’t been seen together, many since the 90s. As we did with Christmas Con, we wanted to create an entire world that allowed you to step into the show of that specific niche. As we did with Christmas Con, we aimed to build a convention that we ourselves as fans would want to attend, knowing that there would be an entire fan base with that similar interest. We build all our shows as fans first.”
This year, 90s Con in Hartford, Connecticut sold over 13,000 tickets over the course of the weekend. Thousands of fans gathered to meet their favorites, whether saying a free hello or paying for a professional photo op or autograph. Prices range for the cost of autographs and photos — and talent is paid a good salary. (According to sources, some actors can earn anywhere from $10,000 to $75,000 guarantee just to show up.)
But the focus is on the fans, who can sit in on reunion panels with the casts of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Clueless,” “Full House” and “Charmed.” While an “All That” panel was set to include Amanda Bynes, she dropped out last minute and Kenan Thompson took a break from “Saturday Night Live” duties to show up for fans.
Creating the atmosphere — a convention center filled with 90s stars, swag, vendors and music, wasn’t an easy feat; building both Christmas Con — which began in 2019, and ’90s Con, were the first of their genres. “There was no other show for us to point to, to prove that these ideas would work,” the women explained. “When we started, we couldn’t even get a convention photography company to come on board, because they didn’t think it would be successful. Luckily, we proved them all wrong with our very first show.”
After getting companies on board, it was time to book guests. Celebrities joining something brand new was difficult, but once they managed to book Lacey Chabert for the first Christmas Con, the ball started rolling.
“We were fortunate enough that the Queen of Christmas herself took the very first chance on us and changed the game for our entire company. With 90s Con, similarly, we were fortunate enough to have an existing relationship with Melissa Joan Hart (through her appearance at Christmas Con), who was able to help facilitate a ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ reunion, which started the ball rolling for other shows to join,” they explained. “We are so lucky to have been able to work with many of our dream guests already.”
For 90s Con, the next is set to for September 15-17 in Tampa, Florida. The cast of “Boy Meets World” will reunite for the 30th anniversary, while the women who voiced 90s Disney princesses will also come together on stage.
Of course, there’s still one group that’s on their dream list: the Spice Girls. That’s how Kligman and Figliolia met, after all, finding each other at a 2007 Spice Girls concert. “Spice World” led to their company name, Thats4Entertainment
“Having one of the Spice Girls would truly be a full circle moment for us,” the women note.
While more conventions could be in the future, right now, the focus remains on the holidays and the 90s. It’s what they know and what they love.
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