For 2019, the Anthrocon Dealers Room will be selected by curation. I know folks will have quite a bit of questions about the process! We'll break it down into the core questions: What, Why, How, Who, and When.
What does curation mean?
The Dealers who will be approved will be no longer selected by a First-Come First-Serve (FCFS) process. Instead, they will be selected based on various merits of their Dealership. It's also referred to often as a "juried" or "judged" system.
Why are you shifting to this system?
Anthrocon has been pondering a curated system for quite a while, as our Dealers Room sells out faster every year despite price increases. We offer a wonderful environment for our Dealers to make their sales and enjoy their time doing so. Word gets out, and the competition to get a table begins to grow once we surge past capacity.
In 2013, the room sold to completion in 100 days. In 2015, it took 17 days. In 2018, it sold out in a day and a half.
At this pace, if we kept FCFS, we'd be measuring the sellout time in hours, and soon enough minutes. This is where FCFS no longer benefits the prepared, but those who can afford to take the time off from work and are ready to hover at their keyboards. In 2018, we saw the rush to fill out an application result in mistyped information and browser autofill failings. We need our dealers to fill out information thoroughly and with care.
Other large furry conventions such as Midwest FurFest, Biggest Little Fur Con, and Furry Weekend Atlanta have gone to a curated system. We've seen successes and mistakes of their systems, and we hope we'll be able to incorporate the best of them to create ours. We know the system won't make everyone happy, but we're going to do our best to make a fair system that makes an excellent Dealers Room for all our Members.
We are likely to make mistakes along the way, and we'll try to fix any of them for 2020 and future years. Feedback is always welcomed.
How will the curation be performed?
We're going to consider each Dealership based on a variety of factors, which include:
On-Topic: How much of a dealer's wares relate to furry fandom, or other interests of typical Anthrocon Members?
Quality:, Is the Dealership selling quality goods that will interest our Members and make for good sales? This may be based on a Dealers website, prior years in the Dealers Room, and/or additional information.
Variety: Are there many or few Dealers selling product of this type? Are you filling a niche other Dealers will not be?
Prior Status: Have you been a Guest of Honor or Charitable Organization with Anthrocon before?
After thorough consideration, we'll select a first round of Dealers for approval and payment, and place all others on the waitlist. Filling from the waitlist will be done similarly as to prior years, individually as openings occur.
Who will be doing the curating?
The Dealers Room staff, currently consisting of eight individuals including the director, will be handling the majority of the selection process. Other Anthrocon staff may be involved in minor fashion.
When are the important dates?
October 6th is the planned opening date for applications.
October 31st at 11:59pm, EST, will be the final date for applications.
Our plan is to make selections in November, and begin contacting approved Dealers in late November or early December. Quite a few of our dealers may be attending Midwest Furfest, and we know they may not be able to communicate or pay during that time; we will schedule with that in mind.