An excerpt from an article I wrote for Maisonneuve:.
Here, the small producers are always at the mercy of the larger fan machine. Melanie Audet, who stands behind a wall of handmade stuffed monsters (creations from her company Curious Little Bird) thinks that this year’s event layout has hurt her sales. Attendees have to pass by the cheaper, mass-produced merchandise before heading over to the Artist’s Alley, where smaller creators are set up. “The toys made in China, that shouldn’t be the first thing people see,” says Audet. When fans make their way to the Artist’s Alley, they’re thrown off by the price.
Adria Lynn Filion of Wasteland Artisan—whose primary wares are handmade leather masks, sometimes featuring long, Venetian-style noses or Cthulu chin tentacles—was happy to be placed in the vendor’s section instead of the Artist’s Alley. “Nobody sees you back there,”she says. But even still, she wishes there was a separation between vendors who resell purchased merchandise and those who, like Filion, make their products by hand. Customers come to her booth and ask her why her wares cost so much. The answer? “Well, because I pay myself almost minimum wage.”