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Andra

Ren fair etiquette? (Re: exclusives)

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Why do competing car dealers set up beside each other? Because they can piggyback on the advertising for the other dealer. Two vendors promoting shows draws more participants interested in similar things. My only complaint would be if the booths were beside each other. I have often seen 3-4 vendors at the same show where chainmail or chainmail jewelry made up about 6-8% of the booths in the main exhibit area.

 

I believe the only way a vendor should have exclusive rights is if s/he is a sponsor of the event and pays a very significantly higher price than any other vendors. Would they ban all other food vendors because there was one guy selling pretzels?

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I hate to say it but as a vendor the options are limited when a show restricts your merchandise.

Your best bet is to work this out privately with the other merchant. Pointing out the differences in design and stock may help.

With the contract you do have legal recourse for litigation againt the venue but that really only works if your willing to quit the show.

That sead haters are going to hate regardless what you do.

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Sounds to me the only reason he's getting his way is because he's making the most noise. Next time it happens inform the committee you consider them to be in breach of contract as you're packing up your goods. That's usually enough to scare them off.

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If it states in your contract that you are selling chain maille items and that is the contract that is approved, then that's the long and short of it. Keep a copy of your contract with you and if it comes up, pull that bad boy out. If they try to argue it aftwer that flat out tell them "This is a legally binding control and I can take legal recourse if the terms of said contract are broken." because that is the truth. If he's going to whoop, hollar and whine to get his way and try to ruin your sales, let him, you have a pretty strong case right there in that paperwork.

Edited by Blind Maille

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I`d us an argument, that if the other vendor is so desperate, so he must go with such lame excuses and tries to push you out of the market, so probably his wares are far worse in quality than yours - and if administrators want their event to be associated with bad products and bad reputation - so be it.

 

Leveling everyone down to the lowest, so everyone has "equal chance" and is equally miserable - that`s communism, my friend.

Unfortunately many westerners - and to my surprise academics - are in love with those ideals, mainly because they have never experienced them working in real life.

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Hello, surprise political rant! What the vendor or faire is doing is not, somehow "communism", but simply money making aka the free market aka capitalism. Just like what inspired Darwin in the 19thC to form his survival of the fittest theories. So, fight back! Someone is being an a***hole because it's getting him $ results, no matter what his wares are like, so use the provided tools of the industry to make noise and get what you want.

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Unfortunately, I have since discovered that it is less communison or capitalism, and more nepotism.

 

He's good friends with the folks running the fair :/

 

The "reason" we have been given for backing his complaint is that since he is exclusively a chainmail vendor, and we are technically a clothing vendor who also has chainmail and bead work, he wins.  That said, I'm pretty sure that the reasoning they gave screwed up his plans, because there is a jewelry vendor who is selling chainmail in fine metals and I don't think they have a leg to stand on to stop them lol

 

Also, when they moved the entrance on opening day, they put it right next to our booth, and his booth, which is where the entrance WAS, is now effectively in the back of beyond.  So since I can still sell scale, AND I'm situated next to the only entrance/exit and in front of the main stage, I'm pretty sure that I still win lol  Especially given that I got my first invite to a fair all by my onsies because my scale is so obvious when it's not surrounded by chain :)

 

I'm just bummed that the other mailers in my booth are S.O.L. at yet another fair because this guy made friends in high places *sigh*

 

He just doesn't get it.  We don't have our own booth because we can't yet swing the fees on our own.  if he'd leave us the fook alone, we might be able to have a chain booth rather than piggy backing on our extremely generous friend's clothing booth.  She actually said last Sunday that with the trouble she's having keeping stock in the tent because of all the custom orders she has, the tent looks more like a jewelry tent that also sells clothing more than a clothing tent that has jewelry lol

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I'd fight the f*** out of them and him. 

 

I'd first be nice about it and make the contract arguments mentioned above.  If it still goes on... well....

 

Someone wants to play asshole with me, they better bow down, baby, cause I'm the king.

 

I'd get a bus load of senior ladies and give them free jewelry to go pester the crap out of him and try to haggle him down to $2 or $3 per item.  In droves. 

Every one I knew with a toddler, I'd send that way too. 

Creep staring guy? Yup, sent him.

Smelly BO dude.  Only cost me a six pack.

Stuttering Arguing Historical Nerd?  Yup, he likes my dice bags. 

 

I'm coming, and hell's every annoying show character is coming with me.  Expect us.

 

(Last time someone really ticked me off, it was by being a dick to people on Facebook.  He's got a side BBQ business.  But neglected to register his domain name.  :)  Ooops.  )

Edited by PlutoniumX

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Plutonium, that is the win right there. I do agree that the nepotism sucks. But, as a person who crafts for minor profits currently, wear the chainmaille. If you are wearing it and people stop to talk about your scale and other wares, then you can add in that the other is for sale too. I often have people walk up and ask how much i paid for what I make and I say I made it, you want to buy it? Gets some sales on simple jewelry, which is nice, but when they ask about my shirts/vests they are a little apprehensive. I have yet to see any vendors doing full on chain or scale at my local ren-fair so no-one has anything to compare my prices to.

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PlutoniumX, I like your style. I've been known to do similar to people who are assholes, though I of course make sure they never know it was me, it can be fun to watch everything fall apart around them and them have no idea why they are suddenly getting all this 'bad luck' their way. Of course, such actions are oft times reserved for the worst of people. Hey, maybe having their faces pressed into the dirt with teach them how it feels when they use other people as rugs.

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So now I understand, but aren`t they breaking an already signed contract ?

Shouldn`t they renegotiate it - like relieving you from some of the faire fee ?

 

If they are playing dirty, I think it allows some retaliation.

 

Like StanleyIndraven said, you could be selling chainmail while not selling it - you could be wearing your own, while making your chains for other projects in front of your stall.

And if a customer asks you about it, you could say a story about how you couldn`t sell because there`s other mailler who`s a friend of people running the faire and he was afraid of your stall so he asked friends to forbid you from selling your stuff.

People don`t like such tricks, and you will just be telling the truth.

And literally you would not be selling - I suppose they can`t forbid you from doing your "hobby" while waiting for customers.

Just keep it calm, it might not work fast, but finally he will get his karma.

Edited by RAdesign

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PlutoniumX, for the win! Definitely dig your style. But I've got to disagree with you Blind Maille--having the party in question know it was you has got to be at least half the fun. You wanna battle me? Fine, but 'cha better know I'm not going to lay down and take it.

 

That being said, I'm actually a pretty easy-going guy, just don't F*** with me!

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XD It's likely because I see it as a game Madd, I'm one of those types who does like being a bit stealthy with stuff and when someone messes with me they become a toy so I just kinda get back at them in a way I enjoy.

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Like one poster said, the squeakiest wheel gets the oil, and if he's friends with the organizers then you are SoL. I've went to ren fairs in two states, and they always have duplicate merchandise in terms of type (they were both very large ren fairs though), so I'm not sure why they aren't allowing it other than being really unfair to their merchants.

 

Are any other merchants having these problems?

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Andra, which Fairs are you going to?  I have yet to see too many maillers here in CT, though we only go to the fall fair in Hebron, where there are 2 booths with mail.

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We do the Hebron fair every year, but I'm fairly certain it's one that we got barred from selling mail at, yet again *sigh*  I think the last sales oportunity I have in the area this season for sure is the Enfield fair, we are considering doing the CTRF fall fair, but again, it's one we are certain we won't be allowed to sell mail at.  I MAY be able to squeak my scale by, but even that has been barred at other CTRF fairs this year for this exact mailer/reason.  

 

I just wish the guy would let us alone.  We don't make enough sales to be a true competitor, and as I was told by FAIR STAFF at the fair I started this thread about, my mail is 100% different than his.  True, my co-mailer, the guy I taught, does a lot more of the anodized aluminum stuff, but again, he tends towards 3D mail projects and a completely different style of decorative coif than this guy does.  The only thing he does do that's similar is that he makes bras and armor pieces, 'cause frankly, I don't have that kind of patience lol.  There is no rational reason to bar us.  It's all fear of competition and/or elitism because we don't have our own booth yet. We do other CTRF fairs that he doesn't do, and we are ALWAYS allowed to sell all of our chain and scale merchandise.

 

 

Correction:  I just remembered, we've been skipping Hebron because the lady who runs our booth was a teacher and a fall fair was not feasible.  That said, we USED to do it, and we are seriously considering it this year as it has moved practically into our back yard in Norwich :)

Edited by Andra

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And this is why I don't vend MFRF anymore. I did it a few years ago, when it was MMRF (on the farm) and it was cool.

Now my application is auto-rejected because I'm not the friend guy. Here's a partially redacted conversation with the owner via FB.
 

  • February 1
  • 369601_1442169083_648289091_q.jpg
    Bill McCall

    Hey - I'm interested in vending this year at MFRF - can you send me some details?

     
  • REDACTED

    sure thing

     

    def check us out, the only prob is that REDACTED CHAINMAIL VENDOR is our head of security

     

    so depending on what you're selling

     
  • 369601_1442169083_648289091_q.jpg
    Bill McCall

    I loved it when it was MMRF; I loved all the people and had a great time. If I remember right, REDACTED CHAINMAIL VENDOR was there when I was vending as well. I would, of course, be selling my chainmail. Personally, I know *I* wouldn't mind the competition (even though he blatantly copied my bikini top design) and I don't think that a fellow chainmail vendor being the head of security would be a problem for me.

 

 

That was the last I heard from the show, even after submitting an application.

Having done faires for ~15 years, there really is only one thing you can do, and that's pack up and go somwehere else. You want to vend at their show, you have to play by their rules. That's just how this game is played.

Edited by Chainmailbill

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Some places do have rules about competition. I know the fetish party I vend at Edwin goes out of his way to not have two of the same thing. So there's one mailer, one leather worker, etc. They could be trying to implement a simular rule. While some of us crafters can coe-exist together not everyone can. I know I've met a few who have tried to claim they "own" a weave and they "invented" it. To which I've answered with an eyeroll and pulled out my documentation since I do alot of historical items. 

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Firstly, I agree with the others, Plutonium X for the win.

 

Secondly, it just sickens me that this type of nepotistic attitude has become such a facet of the 'human condition'.

 

Thirdly, If I was told that I had to 'put away' some of my stock, my first question would have been, "Why?"  That's always a fun question to ask a lackey and watch them flounder with it. 

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It goes the other way too, though.  A lot of shows, especially the larger, more serious faires, festivals, art shows, galleries, and the like are juried: Artists are selected after passing a selection process usually made up by multiple judges, and only an artist's juried work is allowed to be shown at the show, regardless of what the artist is capable of producing.  Other shows (all of the major shows I do) require a pre-approved list of all products a given shop or vendor is allowed to present for sale, and any deviations from that list are in violation of contract - The person you ask "Why?" to might not be a lackey, but the person with the authority to say "Put it away or put it all away and go home."

Preapproved lists like this are kind of essential for the bigger shows - it prevents disputes from even happening, in most cases, and it gives the vendor coordinator/event planner a much easier task of trying to cover all the bases, if you will - For the medieval/ren faire trope, you need a glassblower, and a blacksmith, and a general leather pouches/goods shop, and a chainmail vendor, and at least 2 or 3 fancy women's clothes booths :) After that, the job is filling in what the market will bear, and a lot of shows try to avoid having too many people that do/sell the same thing to the exclusion of other things. Having 5 chainmailers at a show might be fine by me, but sometimes an event won't want that much chainmail, regardless of anything else involved like quality or quantity or style or price, maybe they would rather fill that space with a drinking horn booth or something. It's a bit protectivist, but planning an economy of an event/faire/institution is tough work.

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I was new to the maille scene this summer and attended my first convention with only a couple of items. I was very consious of the existing maille artisan there and specifically approached him about, "hey I'm new to the scene", "my kit is wildly different from yours". "Hope you don't mind..."    He was very accepting, very supportive, we actually hung out and talked shop for hours.   I think the crucial thing here is that your competition views this as a full time job whereas my friend and I are both folks who make some money on the side with something that's predominantly a hobby. Come between someone and their paycheque (particularly in this economy) and you're much more likely to raise heckles.     For whatever it's worth I find that word of mouth is a far better sales tactic than conventions. I'd recommend staying classy, vent here but stay civil with the organizers. Don't get in all out war and make your own business through other channels.

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So I am a primary Maille vendor and I have only done one major event, NewCon.

 

Now day 1 the vendor across from me never showed. I did REALLY well that day. Day 2 rolls around and the vendor shows. Now I LOVE her work and she is just like you Andra, she is a clothing/maille vendor. Now she did not do so well day 2 and decided not to show for day 3. . . which was sad. . .  I learned so much

 

Now I did not moan or complain that she was a part maille vendor. Hell I LOVED her works! Now she mailly stayed the Scale section with flowers and such and I did not have many of those my self so it was all good. I did learn a lot when it came to doing events and such from her since she has 6 years of experience on me.

 

I have found that each maille artisan does vastly different work. My huge draw right now are my scale ties while hers was the Steampunk look she finessed in.

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