Equestria LA – Vendors and a Short Editorial


djtetsuo. Performing at Equestria LA 2013

EQLA – The Editorial

My thoughts were filled with hopes that this visit to Equestria LA would be as good as last year. When I left, I couldn’t imagine how any convention could beat what I just experienced. It was an amazing weekend, filled with great panels, new friends, and the general badassery that is the pony community. Some of the best times I had in general are conventions, and this is definitely no exceptions. I’d really recommend anyone go to a pony con just for the amazingly humble experience that is us!

I had some awesome interviews, not with the show staff nor community guests, but with the vendors, I felt like they are a greatly under appreciated part of the con scene, and I want to shed some light on what it is like to make your way as a vendor.

Questions from anonymous, successful vendors

Is there any difficulties in being or starting out as a vendor you can specifically name?

One, definitely, is that I have a hard time picking the merch I want to sell at whatever convention I go to. This one is obviously an exception, but yeah, probably picking what I am going to sell.

Are there any tips you can give for convention vendors?

I’d definitely say to overstock, and bring more than what you expect to sell, and more than anything, work on promotion while you are on duty, give away business cards, or even free samples to show off your work!

Where do you make the bulk of your money: Etsy, or conventions?

Conventions, this is our full-time-job. We make and sell fan products at various conventions. It isn’t always the most glamorous lifestyle, but we get to travel, and meet some amazing people!

What kind of profits do you get at any given con?

Depends on the size; at a smaller con like this, we make maybe 1-2k in profits, at larger cons, like PAX prime, or Comic-Con, we can get anywhere from 10k and up.

Questions to Athena’s Wink

What is your most successful single product on the market?

Definitely our rainbow dash caps, they sell at every convention without fail.

What made you think of “Pony body butter”?

I had already worked with perfumes in the past, and felt like trying something new. It was originally intended to be a lotion bar, but we felt body butter is much more easily applied.

Questions to Sac Brony Expo

What was it like, trying to get your foothold in a niche con scene?

So far it’s been pretty tough, mostly getting the foot through the door. But we are progressing, and we hope to get there.

How did you come about the idea for “Sac Brony Expo”?

We had a meet-up at Sac Anime once, and it turned out to be a wild success, and took up quite a bit of space, so we felt we should try to make it our own!

Questions to Bronycon Head of PR, Logan Biscornet

How long have you been working for BronyCon?

I have been with them since shortly before Summer BronyCon 2012.

Are there any memorable events or happenings that you distinctly remember?

Yes, one time, we had a mentally challenged young man come to our convention, sure he had bought tickets to get in with he and his parents, but, it turns out they had not, and since we did not sell reg at the door, we had to pull some strings to get the boy and his family in. And after the convention, his parents came up to me, telling me I had given him the best time of his life.

How do you feel your staff handles situations at the con?

Well, our staff cleared out a building of 4000 people in a very short time, I think that all of our staff have been very well informed and trained.

How did the higher-ups at BronyCon deal with the rumors of Everfree trying to sabotage your con, and vice-versa?

Well, for one, I had no idea why or how those rumors had even started. But, we did handle them very nicely. They were quickly dismissed. They are on the opposite coast, we had no reason to be real rivals. Only a friendly rivalry, but either way, We would all love to see both cons be very successful and spread the love of pony around.

What changed when the fire nation attacked your con?


Questions to djtetsuo. (Twitter, SoundCloud, Facebook)

How did you get into spinning?

I wanted to do something different with my time. One of my old teachers, Laura, who still spins down, Pacific Beach in San Diego, taught me the techniques I still know now, and teaching myself all the digital interfaces and various equipment.

Why specifically did you choose to DJ for ponies?

Ponies chose me, after Canterlot, everything blew up, and when doing one of my routines at an anime con, Klisk looked at me and saw potential, and invited me to CG. I also feel that the fandom needed an experienced DJ, instead of a new producer, that can travel anywhere, and I want to be the fandom’s DJ. The rest is history.

Have you ever had a bad experience working pony cons?

Not at all, only minor problems. The only thing I can think of is at Big Apple Ponycon, my computer kept freezing up, nothing to do with the con its self. Word of advice for DJ’s: Use a mac if you need to do field work. All ponies love apples anyway, wink wink.

What kind of equipment do you use?

I used to use a Sony Vaio, Traktor S4, now I use a Black Mac Book, Custom Mapped Maschine, two CDJ 900, Traktor F1, and a DJM 800.

What is your favorite genre of music to mix?

I love to mix Nudisco, there are a lot of good artists for that particular genre, I also like to do a lot of Electrostatic and French House, as well, if I am in the mood, Trap.

What can we expect in the future?

Expect a lot of collaborations, lots of them, look for stuff with Silvahound, Alex S., and Additive Subtractive. At Fiesta Equestria Additive and I have an awesome set-list for all of you called Daft Pony!

LeekFish's vendor booth.

LeekFish’s vendor booth. Photo Credit: Everfree Network

Questions to Christina Cornford

How did you like doing official art at EQLA?

Oh gosh, it was amazing! It felt pretty surreal, actually; I guess it wasn’t until I saw my artwork mass-printed on the posters, shirts, and so on that it really sunk in, and even then I could hardly believe it! I probably seemed like such an excitable dork whenever I found my artwork somewhere or had someone approach my table for a signature. (In fact, I think that whole weekend I probably came across as an excitable dork. Sorry about that!) It was kind of mind-blowing to see so many attendees enjoying my work.

But yeah, it was really great working for EQLA and I’m super glad they’ve expressed that they’d like to keep me around to do more artwork for EQLA 2014; they really have a great staff and I got to have a lot of fun with the artwork I made for them, especially that poster! Actually, most of my assignments went through Karen (aka Glittering Pony, the con chair of EQLA) so I guess for some reason I hadn’t fully realized that the rest of staff actually knew about me, haha. Upon arriving at the con on Day Zero I was given quite the warm welcome and such positive words about the work I did for them!

How did you enjoy doing your first vending table?

It definitely had its challenges in regards to selling my work as well as its pros and cons (such as the opportunity to discuss my artwork with others vs. having to miss out on a lot of great events) but overall I thought it was pretty great! I learned a lot, met some fantastic people, and had a lot of fun.

Do you feel that there are any different strategics you can employ to be more successful, if so what?

I’m not entirely sure if I understand the question; my apologies! But I did learn a few things about pricing my work, what people like, which sorts of styles people enjoy seeing from me, etc. Working for EQLA and having a vendor’s table was definitely a great way to get my name out there and network with others, too!

Was there any bad experiences at EQLA, and are there any memorable good ones?

Hmmm… I can’t say I really had any bad experiences, honestly. There were of course moments of stress, things that went a bit wrong or simply not as planned, and instances that were perhaps less than enjoyable, but the memories that really stick in my mind are all overwhelmingly positive. Brenda Crichlow (the voice actress behind Zecora) especially made my weekend when she gave me particularly high praise and even asked me to sign one of the convention posters for her! I also had visits to my table from some other show staff guests, a “Psy-Pie” dance party at my table when I was cosplaying as Gala Pinkie Pie, and anyone following Cindy Morrow on Twitter probably saw the photo of us that was taken at the autograph session where she even wore my prop goofy glasses, just to name a few memories!

How do you feel the pony community has treated you?

One of my favorite things about the MLP community is that it’s so welcoming and friendly; I felt beyond honored to have the opportunity to create artwork that ended up in the hands of every staff member and attendee, and even more honored to see everyone enjoying it! Visitors to my booth were very encouraging, and I was totally floored by the positive feedback I received. I have to say though, even before I began doing artwork for brony conventions, I’ve found it really easy to make friends within the fandom (especially when cosplaying, haha!) So in short, I feel the community has definitely been nothing short of fantastic to me.

What other types of art do you do?(Painting, embroidery. etc)

Oh, goodness. Where to start? In addition to digital art I also know my way around traditional media to an extent such as markers and colored pencils, I create costumes, and I also tend to dabble in various other mediums such as sculpture and plushie making (though I certainly could use improvement with those…) As an artist I believe it’s great to not limit oneself to a single medium (don’t get me wrong though, specialization is good!) because a lot of mediums can sort of overlap at times and you never know what skills will be helpful.

Do you prefer digital or traditional art?

Digital art for sure! I love both, but I’ve always felt that I had a lot of freedom with digital media, and can experiment with new styles and techniques without the risk of completely destroying a piece thanks to that nifty little “undo” button! It doesn’t come without challenges, but there’s just so much I can do with digital media that it feels virtually limitless and I just love it to bits.

Have you ever thought about taking cosplay commissions?

Sadly, I haven’t; truth be told, I’m actually sort of a newbie to the whole making-my-own-costumes thing! Making my Gala Pinkie dress was my first time sewing at all, though she served as a crash course in sewing thanks to the help and patience from some wonderful friends of mine. And besides, I’m kept constantly busy with school, my job, and convention work that I hardly even have any time for my own projects!

  • Anonymous

    The whole vendor business is one of several things that turns me off to cons in general. Not just MLP, but it’s just weird to me that there’s a bunch of people who may or may not actually be fans (“We make and sell fan products at various conventions”), attempting to make money off the fandom by selling (often) unlicensed merch.

    I dunno, it doesn’t really bother me I guess, it’s been going on as long as conventions have been taking place, but it’s just one of those things… The vendors are taking advantage of the fact that everyone is giddy with excitement, surrounded by their favorite thing in the world, to get them to buy more/more expensive merch than they normally would. Especially if they say it’s exclusive to the con.

    But on the other hand, lots of people seem to love getting exclusive merchandise. So whatever. I just don’t enjoy being in that environment. I’m all for small-time meetups for fun, but large cons are just too commercial for me.

    • Sunshine Smiles

      I dont feel the same about it, the merch is RARELY more expensive than official stuff, and it is of higher quality, and besides, there is much more to do at cons than shop around, like panels or just plain hanging out.