Brony Vendors Pen Anonymous "Open Letter" to BronyCon - a List of Grievances

The following is an open letter to the staff of BronyCon, which took place several weeks ago, supposedly from a group of anonymous vendors, who have a list of concerns that they feel have not been addressed. The contents of the letter have not been vetted or altered by the Horse News staff in any way.

To whom it may concern;

This is a letter from the vendors of Bronycon that are too afraid to tell you this directly. This letter is from the vendors that know this con is too big a part of their livelihood to rock the boat by being honest. This letter is from the artists that are afraid of you.

You need to be aware of the issues that the decisions have made worse rather than better.

Bronycon is, without question, the biggest con currently in this fandom, and that is an amazing achievement. But, no great thing can exist without its share of difficulties, which is understandable.

The problem then, is not that there are said difficulties, but that those in charge are not recognizing them. The staff and management, have without a doubt, done an amazing thing by bringing this convention into existence - for which we thank you. However, that is, in part, why it is so disheartening to see the convention representatives fail to recognize or outright ignore the issues that are hurting everybody.

No one wants to hear about their issues or failings, but we are writing you in order, and in hopes that we all might help make Bronycon even better. That we might fix this for everyone’s sake.

As artists, creators, and salespersons that do what we can to make new and interesting work and products for this amazing fandom, the work we do is very intensive and all-consuming. Often times, the work done is in conjunction with day jobs many of us keep to support the passion of the work we do.

No matter what the labor, it is always been a labor of love.

So, when the price gets jacked up to the ridiculous degree it was for this year’s con, we artists despair.

Factor this in: while we may make a respectable profit for the time we are at con, one must also must factor in cost of travel, hotel, product creation, and potential manufacturing costs, on top of the cost of table. Many pieces have several months of personal time put in to prepare them. No artist thinks of con as solely the three days we are there, but the months upon months of work beforehand to prepare.

Turn these factors, deducting costs, into an hourly wage of what was made over those days and it is almost guaranteed no one who vends makes above minimum wage.

Therefore, the greater table price for most of us was a harsh blow in our expenses.

Bronycon’s solution? Shrinking the vendor hall after last year’s complaints of lack of sales. We understand the attempt to help, that vendors clamoring about lack of money is a concern, but shrinking the vendor hall was absolute madness.

Any vendor that had a hard time knows that the nature of the folks buying from them is very tricky. What sells well at one place will not sell well at another. So while we understand your attempt to help, shrinking the vendor hall and jacking up the price is the exact opposite of of what you needed to do.

Instead of creating a greater demand for what there was by limiting vendors and vendor types, you forced almost every single vendor to pull double or triple duty by hosting other veondors who didn’t make the cut, or bringing thier art and salling content that wasnt theirs.

Of course, any good artist knows there are ups and downs when it comes to vending, so the response to lackluster earnings last year should never have been shrink the hall and increase the price. It only caused greater complications to cut the cost of the table for vendors and made us struggle harder!

And this doesn’t even cover the shameful state the artist alley was in. Those in the artist alley lacked proper lighting, organization, poor tables and floors,no organization, all in a space shoved away from the majority of the hall. It felt less like a convention hall and more like a disaster shealter!

Many a vendor’s experience also included the setup, which was extremely mismanaged. None of the staff could seem to direct vendors to where they needed to go to get checked in. many of us were directed to the regular check-in, the registration hall itself, or simply told “Sorry, I don’t know.

When a staff member who is supposed to be knowledgeable and trained to know these basic facts shrugs and shoos you away, what is the point of having staff? We all understand If someone doesn’t know something, but not even trying to find out? Not knowing who to ask? Nothing? just a shrug and a blank stare? Why are they even on staff then?

That brings us to the teamsters.

No one AT ALL knew how to direct anyone to the loading dock. The directions were vague or non-existent. At some points, some of us were told, "Find the entrance, and just drive around underground for awhile. It is not hard.”

Most vendors just skipped it in frustration and dragged ALL of their gear down the stairs. The fact we were all FORCED to pay a huge amount more for a service most of us didn’t or couldn’t use due to lack of communication and direction, is a massive and completely rectifiable issue by simple means, such as having someone actually knowing the direction, signs on the street, or a handy guide or map rather than spending half an hour trying to find a place and then giving up all-together. In the case that directions were in the e-mail, clearly they were not clear enough for this many vendors to experience the same issue, and having additional or printed information for those that cannot access e-mail on their phones would be of use.

The big complaints, although not limited to these, by vendors are as follows;

table price spike

smaller vendor room and space

abominable artist alley conditions

lack of communication among staff

the unusable loading dock

confusing or lack of directions on several accounts

and the forced payments for electricity and loading dock most did not, or could not use.

Add to the above, the vendor and artist selection process. Almost all other conventions do not pick and choose like Bronycon appears to do. Which leaves vendors terrified to tell you what we really see as a problem. The ones put through the experience of going through the application, acceptance, information, registration, loading, set-up, three-day vendoring, tear-down, and load-out, because we know you can and will just drop whomever you see as a potential ‘problem vendor’ for doing nothing more than trying to improve a convention we work so hard toward and love so dearly.

The fact vendors have to feel this way, this fear and anxiety, and the fact that so many issues are omitted on the survey in order to try not to be blacklisted for next year is inexcusable.

All of us, every one who is on this letter lied their teeth off on your survey. That sucks.

Many of the vendors have also toured other conventions- not even specifically pony. Comic, anime, sci-fi, even furry conventions have always seen the con provide a con suite with at least basic food for both staff, guests, vendors and often attendees, and an area for those hard-working individuals to be able to catch a breather no matter the attendance size.

failing this, at least a con suite with food for staff, panelist, musicians and vendors is crucial.. A majority of other fan-classified cons have this service. Why must Bronycon the exception to save a few bucks off the budget on tickets costing some-odd 60 bucks for over 11k attendees and even more squeezed out of vendors? Most of the vendors, panelists, musicians, etc. ’s time is spent trying our best to provide the attendees with the best time and product possible. By days end we are starving, exhausted and a place to catch a breath, a bagel, coffee, water, or anything basic would be heavily appreciated.

As a side complaint, whoever the staffers were screaming over a bullhorn at the vendors to get out needs be re-evaluated heavily. It was extremely unprofessional. Vendors all put in a grueling day in the vendor hall, barely able to get away to take a bathroom break and grab a snack and water (in which a side area or con suite where vendors could do so would be awesome) all we wanted nothing more than to get back to our hotels, eat something and pass out. Staff screaming over a megaphone every 5 minutes to leave was doing so much more harm than good. How about, instead, notify vendors when they need to be out by, then kindly ask if they need any assistance, or state you will check on them again in 10 or 15, rather than scooting up and down the aisles screaming? All that achieves is further irritation, lack of focus and a slowed exit due to the distraction and annoyance and stress of someone on your tail when only 5 minutes have passed and you have another 30 to actually be out of the hall for close.

Bronycon is a great con. Everyone who goes gets to have the time of their lives. This is not in question.

But thinking that just because it works, it doesn’t have problems is foolish. The more you ignore a problem, the worse the problem becomes. Please, as you read this, put your ego in your back pocket. Consider what we are saying to you as advice, as critique, as warning, not as an attack. most of us really want to keep coming, but are afraid.

A majority of us really want to keep attending year after year, but are afraid, both in the potential treatment we may receive, or that the convention will eventually fold in on itself when these issues self-destruct.

We want to be there. We want to create. Doing so allows us to participate and give back to a fandom that we have come to love and hold dear. Please consider these words. Bronycon has so much potential to be as amazing as we all know it can be. You have the potential and the ability to do so, all we ask is you listen, consider, and help us make the convention as amazing as we know it can be. To make everyone’s experiences, staff and all those involved in the convention, so much better.

Please, help us.


Anonymous Vendors

Comments (50)

  1. Is a convention has no vendors, does it still make it a convention, or...

    1. Yes, the vendor part of the con is really more of a trade show.

  2. "Instead of creating a greater demand for what there was by limiting vendors and vendor types, you forced almost every single vendor to pull double or triple duty by hosting other veondors who didn’t make the cut, or bringing thier art and salling content that wasnt theirs."

    Calling bullshit on at least this part right here. BC in no way FORCED vendors to do this, they choose to do so and cannot, in anyway, put blame on the convention they decided to sell play host for other vendor's wares along with trying to sell their own.

    1. do you even understand how supply/demand works? yes. Bc did force them. the alternative was to tell the vendors not to vend.

    2. Do you even understand what the word forced means? No one was forced to do anything. Not all vendors made the cut and BC reduced the number, that is as simple as this story goes. Vendors choosing to sell for those that did not get a table is not on BC, it purely on the vendors for choosing to do so.

      Generally if one does not get a table at a con, one does not vend, calling it an alternative is redundant.

    3. This would never happen if I was still on con staff lol. Enjoy the sinking ship, fuckers!

  3. A sampling of costs for a single vendor hall table, including power.

    PonyconNYC: $150 (~700 attendees)
    AnthroCon: $175 (~6,000 attendees, 2016 pricing)
    BronyCon: $290 (~10,000 attendees)
    Equestria LA: $350 (~2,000 attendees)
    Anime Boston: $550 (~25,000 attendees, 2012 pricing)
    ACen: $750 (~30,000 attendees)
    Otakon: $1,100 (~35,000 attendees)

    I have never seen a more whiny group of people in this stupid horse fandom than vendors. Shut the fuck up and sell your copyright-infringing wares to the public while you count your jew shekels behind the table. You aren't entitled to special treatment just because you make or sell things.

    On BronyCon? The only valid complaint in the entire letter was the artist alley. They were kinda shoved to the side and they could've put it in a little more prominent area. Shit happens.

    TL;DR - Vendors, stfu.

    1. TL;DR try reading the post smart guy. bronycon took our jewgolds while jerking off the entire time. the price would be fine if they actually did anything other than nothing.

    2. @22:54 - Oh, here. Let me attempt to feel any morsel of pity for you because constaff weren't sucking your cock every twenty minutes and bringing around hot crab cakes on a platter.

    3. If you math out the numbers that 22:35 posted, then other than Ponycon NYC and Equestria LA, all of the other cons charge about 3 cents per attendee. Ponycon NYC and Equestria LA are both MORE EXPENSIVE than Bronycon for the number of attendees they have. The point is, Bronycon's current pricing is roughly industry standard for con tables, and well below average compared to either Ponycon NYC or Equestria LA.

    4. >EQLA
      >vendoring at $350

      Lmfao! What the fuck are even you doing EQLA???? You're like a small time con that went dead for 2-3 years? Then you decide to come back with THAT kind of price?

      Haha get the fuck out! Seriously you're fucking small time convention w/ 2,000 attendees. It's a wonder why BaBscon was created when you guys were gone.

    5. This , so much this.

    6. The pricing is an issue when you compare it to what ends up coming out of it. being charged for electricity, teamsters that you don't use? that's shitty. Imagine getting a bill in the mail for something you didn't buy, FROM YOUR JOB. How could you not be pissed off about that?

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. Why did you exclude cons like Further Confusion, Babscon or Trotcon? I guess because then it would show that Bronycon (and of course shit like EQLA) are massively overpriced. Nice cherry picking there. Also all those other cons offer additional services for free to their vendors. Like wifi, food, water and electricity. Bronycon actually charged extra for fucking electricity and didn't offer any wifi nor food or water.

    9. yeah, Price is no big if you get what you pay for. a artist alley they couldn't even be bothered to turn the light on for? Christ, that was a fucking mess!

      the letter doesn't even mention the leaking water from the ceiling! Second day, the was water pouring from a pip in the roof or a something. We were all lucky it didn't hit a booth or something, but can we maybe get a place that doesn't feel like a sewer?

    10. What, do you think the broken water was bronycon's fault? Think they sent someone up there to sabotage a water pipe in an effort to screw over vendors? No, that was the baltimore convention center's fault. It's not bronycon's fault their venue has shitty staff

    11. @01:44 Bring your own damn food and water, and have another employee their so you can take breaks. I know that means losing your precious shekels Mr. Goldstein but deal with it.

    12. The antisemitism! It's astounding! Bronies everyone!

      And they wonder why people hate them.

  4. Who the fuck wrote this shit? This was painful to read. Get a proofreader next time. Your grasp of the English language is atrocious.

    1. I have it from a vendor friend who disagreed with this letter and felt it was largely BS that Chocolatepony mod was the writer and that he honestly did not have as much backing to these claims from his fellow vendors as he implied in this.

      Now, I got that second hand form my buddy, and I am an annon on HN, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt, but I am 99% sure Chocolatepony wrote this manifesto and likely had only a handful of people backing him on it.

    2. That theory would explain why this letter is now public shortly after chocolatepony lost his bid for con chair of Bronycon. Now he's just trying to take it by force.

    3. Yeah, Chocobro is not someone you want running a convention. The fact he got involved with Seabronies is enough evidence he does not have the sound judgment to run such a large organization such as Bronycon. He'd probably bring Purple Tinker back into the fold along with probably a lot of other bad decisions and play favorites far too much, creating a cabal of yes men and removing anyone that questioned his decisions.

      Thankfully, Bronycon won't be burning down to the ground anytime soon, as people had the foresight to not give this guy any kind of authority.

  5. If you math out the numbers that guy posted, other than Ponycon NYC and Equestria LA, all of the other cons charge about 3 cents per attendee. Ponycon NYC and Equestria LA are both MORE EXPENSIVE than Bronycon for the number of attendees they have. The point is, Bronycon's current pricing is roughly industry standard for con tables, and well below average compared to the other big pony cons.

    1. That's some cherry picked numbers there tho. Babscon is way cheaper. Further Confusion is way cheaper. And they both offer way more for the vendor, like free food, free electricity, free wifi and free drinks. Bronycon actually charged additionally to the $290 a lot of money for electricity and 'union helpers' that were supposed to help set up and tear down booths. Just that this didn't happen. And do you think Bronycon had working wifi? lol nope. Free beverages or food for vendors? lol nope. All the other cons do offer that for their vendors.

    2. Hey, um, I was a vendor. I didn't see this letter before it got posted but most of it is true, and the above statement is true. The costs wouldn't have been a problem, I've paid far more for anime conventions, but only when the services they provided were actually something they delivered. The loading dock we were charged for didn't exist. We had to haul all of out stuff down a an escalator. And while that may not sound like a big deal, a vendor booth is a lot of stuff, it's not just a few boxes! we spent the better part of two hours hauling grid walls, prints, statutes, badging equipment, laminators, printers, chairs, banners, etc. down a single file stairwell with no help at all.

      So yeah, price is only an issue if the services paid for are services we get to utilize.

      We aren't crying and complaining when we say that there is a problem that we would all love to try and help fix.

  6. Inb4 POOPIE SCOOBIE! And possibly a long ass rant from PikaPetey about how pony conventions are shitty toward vendors and that anons are cowards who shouldn't be taken seriously.

    1. Im not pika but going to rant anyway. Vendor's didnt make the cut. Boo Fucking Who Bronycon gets to pick and choose what it wants for its venue and to the vendors. IT IS A FUCKING privilege, that you get to be there in the first place. Vendor's pay 2-3 times the price of a regular con badge and help the con make money, in return the con "tolerates" you selling shit. I mean if a con will put up with Purple Tinker reselling Hasbro merch at two times the value of retail stores, what makes you think they care about what you sell or even say. So long as it aint porn no one cares, I've seen anime vendors and furry vendors at ponycons and a dude who sells pony soap (This man needs a fucking medal sadly musky neck beards wont pay for his shit even if their wifu is on it!)

      Also here's a theory for ya Con sells lesser amount of space in a larger venue and charges more. Demand for this goes up with the price. Those who may think this isn't profitable will hesitate and be denied as they didn't get their vendor app in on time. This is how Bronycon can pull EQLA price for tables and still walk away with out looking like total jews.

      Oh and for my final note if you buddy up with someone else, NO SHIT things wont go as smoothly because people want BMW quality for Hyundai prices, when in actuality its vise versa, and then you have some dude slammed into your booth who's out to make a quick buck.

      TL;DR Vendor's stop bitching and learn how basic fucking economics in our modern world work, THE PRINCIPLES ARE THE SAME!

    2. TL;DR BronyCon staff trolling the comments much?

    3. BronyCon is a business. If the vendors' sales are down, there's less reason to give them space. If they're going to take up space that could be used for something more profitable, they need to pay more for it.

    4. I personally find the vendors complaining about not making sales laughable.
      At least their craft makes some sort of profit to be sustainable.
      Y'all should do animation for a con, you don't see us bitching and moaning. We're happy everyone enjoyed it.

    5. Oh we've seen you bitch quite a lot actually...

    6. Yeah, Pika, _their_ craft does make some sort of profit, and is sustainable. Because they're not retarded fart lovers who make poor life decisions. At the end of the day, these creators have some money to live off of, and their customers have neat things like plushies and prints and props. That's not laughable.

      Being the guy who will be remembered for posting "Poopie Scoobie" is.

  7. Lol, I like how everyone is crying about prices and 90% of the letter is mentioning not about costs, but just how much the con sucked. I was a guest and I can vouch for this, they did not have their shit together at all, and I didn't even pay for it.

  8. I like How much this letter sucks Bronycons' dick. I've had better times at furry cons for fucks sack. If a pack of furfags can get their shit together better than ponyfags, there is a pretty serious problem. I can't wait to watch this fandom self-destruct and end up in the proverbial ball-pit.

    1. Furry conventions started 26 years ago with ConFurence in 1989. That's 22 years before the first brony convention. They had problems like this as well and are still around. The brony fandom will survive.

    2. The furry fandom isn't centralized on just one show though. I don't see Star Trek only conventions around here and I am sure once the show goes many may jump ship.

    3. "If a bunch of furfags" lol furry in denial. Every time I see curries and bronies compared to make the point one would be different and better than the other, I have to laugh. Having been in one fandom since '01 and on the other since '98 I can tell you they're the same in every last sordid little detail. Even the drama like this

    4. Typo's typo's everywhere. *furries and *'11.

  9. tl;dr le happy merchants outjewing each other for more shekels

    1. Ha Ha, seems like the streetcorner merchants are mad cause the jew overlords are asleep more or less. good job horselords.

  10. Another fun fact:
    Hall C & D (Vendor hall in 2014) total 55K sqft. Hall E (Vendor hall in 2015) totals 62K sqft.
    Even if you include the little 5K area it's still 2K less.

    1. What point are you trying to make? That the room was bigger? Even if the room was bigger, they put less vendors in Hall E than in Hall C & D (heh)

      2014 Vendors: 208

      2015 Vendors: 173

      17% less vendors in 12% more space

    2. Everyone is forgetting the fact that at least half of these Vendors (in all 3 years in Baltimore) also shared a space with another vendor, and at least a smaller portion shared with 2 other vendors. That increases the number of Vendors who 'actually attended' the convention as vendors/dealers.

      In 2013 there were 140 Vendor spaces available, 68 less than in 2014. We shared our booth with 2 other artists, one of whom was doing several panels but who was not accepted as a dealer. At least 1/2 of those vendors attending shared with someone else, so 140 + 70 = 210 Vendors, which is just 2 Vendors more than the spaces available in 2014. AND...that does not include any spaces where vendors shared with more than 1 artist, like we did.

      So, in 2014 the space amount was comparable to the number of total Vendors, including the ones who shared, to the number of spaces available which was 208 and the Vending Hall size was increased.

      Now, on the average, at least 1/2 of the 208 Vendors from 2014 shared a space with someone so that ups the amount of Vendors who actually attended to 312 approximately. That number ironically coincides with the 300 vendors that BC said they would have like to have had for the 2015 convention, however they went to a smaller space.

      That brings us to 2015, last year. The 173 Vendor spaces for 2015 was upgraded from an original 150 available Vendor spaces (decreased 58 Vendor spaces from 2014) which was down from the 208 available spaces for 2014. This was due to artists complaining, some of whom have been vending since the first BronyCon in NY.

      What a lot of people don't know is that many and I mean MANY vendors who were selected to attend the 2015 convention had ALREADY made plans with OTHER ARTISTS to SHARE their space IF they were selected to attend as a vendor. So, a lot of those vendors planning on sharing didn't bother to apply because they were already lined up to share with someone who had applied.

      Then, vendors who were selected and who actually knew vendors who weren't selected graciously shared their space with not just 1 vendor but several. So, if you use the 173 spaces that BC made available in the end and...

      divide that by 2 so that at least 1/2 the vendors were sharing with others that brings the total to 260 vendors AND...

      ...when you estimate that at least 1/2 of the 1/2 hosted 2 vendors that brings the total number of Vendors up to 303 AND...

      ...that does not include any of the 1/2 of vendors left over from the first division of 173 vendors who already had/may have had someone lined up to share their space PRIOR to being ACCEPTED.

      In the end, BC says that they had at least 300 vendors they wanted to have, but couldn't because of space. However, they had at least that amount via shared booth spaces in 2014 and 2015, so they could have, and can, easily accommodate 300 vendors without wreaking havoc among everyone! How?

      A large majority of the Vendors do not need a 10x10 space but more like a 10x5 w/an 8' table (this is the size we had in 2014 - In 2013 all of us had a 6' table which would also work). That gives a vendor enough space to add a small 4' table on the end, still have room to enter on the side, AND an area directly behind that will accommodate the wire stacking cubes and still leave room for to move/sit in your chair AND at a cost that is more affordable to artists who DO NOT HAVE A NORMAL JOB. That also eliminates anyone needing to share a space unless its specifically a draw artist who only has a small amount of artwork with him.

      There are so many other ways that BC can accommodate artists and plush makers who can't or aren't chosen to attend the convention by utilizing one small area where flyers, brochures, business cards can be left with commission info, and for a very small $15-25 for the entire weekend. And they only need 1 or 2 staff members to organize and maintain this area of information.

    3. I forgot to point out that the space in 2013 was SMALLER than the space in 2014, which 2015 space was said to be SMALLER than in 2014.


  12. Con vendors are so weird to me. For any con really, but pony cons in particular. Maybe some of these complaints are valid (sounds like the loading dock thing was a real issue), but the complaint about not making "minimum wage" is fantastically stupid. This isn't a job. No one is forcing you to do this. You're supposedly doing this because you love the show and love to make art right? No. You're all* just greedy fucks selling copyright-infringing (or at least copyright gray-area) art, taking advantage of the stupid masses with expendable income (or their parents' income in many cases, especially with most of the cons now trying to present themselves as "family friendly")

    I can't say I blame you. If I had the artistic talent to draw/make plushies of other companies' copyrighted characters *and* the time, I would definitely try to gouge the hell out of other people to make some extra cash. But to think you're entitled to fair treatment and pay, as if you were an employee of a company, is laughable.

    *Not ALL vendors are like this, but from what I've seen the majority are. If cons are your primary/a major source of income, don't expect ANY guarantees of "rights" or fair pay/treatment. Congrats if you've made a living out of selling other people's intellectual property, but the fact that you feel any entitlement shows that you're really disconnected from reality. Note I have nothing wrong with, say, commissions. If you like someone's art style, feel free to pay them to draw whatever the hell you want. But the mass production and sale of art at cons, followed by complaints that you didn't make as much money as you wanted, is what kills me.

    And I'll say it once again: congratulations if you can make money selling your art at conventions. Clearly people are willing to spend ridiculous amounts of money on that stuff. But, don't try to sugar coat what you're actually doing. It's not a "job" and you have none of the protections that people with "real jobs" have.