Sunday, August 21, 2016

The BlytheCon Debacle

Art by Cat Maske

BCSF: My Story, Part 1

I think that I owe the Blythe Community an explanation, so this is my statement.  This is my perspective of my experience.  I’m sure other team members have their own.

About me:  I have never considered myself a major player on the Blythe scene.  I collect with my daughter, and we attend the BlytheCons together.  We have attended 6 US BlytheCons: Portland, Dallas, NYC, Seattle, Chicago, and SF.  I have made large donations to the goodie bags for most events: a sailor dress and accessories for the raffle in Portland, 150 headbands for Dallas, 150 crochet flower hair clips for NYC, 150 tulle underskirts for Seattle, and the Keane cards for SF.  My daughter has buttons and candy to pass out randomly.  And she has a wubba chicken shooter that she fires off, so if you find a wubba chicken on the ground at a BC?  Yeah, that’s an Easter egg gift.  I usually bring swaps to exchange, too. This is something the Girl Scouts do.  We make little things to exchange in friendship.  Some may remember me, because I won the costume contest in Seattle with the zombie Dorothy.  And I was on the BlytheCon San Francisco planning team.  Or at least, I thought I was.

Team Roles:
  • Carrie: Lead
  • Jonathan: Vice Lead & Financial
  • Blanca: Donations
  • Cat: Art and Digital
  • Ion: 3D Art
  • Patty: Photos
  • Lizzie
  • Cara: Workshop & Demos

    I was at odds with my team.  We started as a group of friends.  Now I am not even their friend on FaceBook.  I fought for and was continuously voted unanimously against on:
    • Mugs
    • Canvas bags
    • A gift for each attendee as opposed to raffle, like BlytheCon Chicago
    • Make & Takes or craft tables/areas
    • Shirts (for dolls and humans)
    • Eliza Rickman

    If you want to see the details about all of this, see my next post.  I wanted to post a shorter version first.

    Because so many people have asked for a financial statement, I have pieced one together.  As an outsider on the team, I was never privy to the financials.  But I have pieced this together to the best of my knowledge.  This is done from estimates that I pulled up online and a few posts to the planning group.  I will not be getting a cut of the profits.

    BCSF Financial Estimation
    Tickets Sales:
    250 x $80 = $20,000 Regular/Adult
    31 x $25 = $775 Helper/Child
    31 x $40 =  $1240 Vendors
    ($300 est.) Video Crew from Hasbro
    $22,315 Total

    $2,500 Venue
    $150 Additional Audio Fee
    $4,000 Lunch
    280 x $0.55 = $154 Lanyards
    $134 Bags
    $176 Stickers
    $67 Postcards
    $68 Buttons
    $100 Posters
    $76.50 Raffle tickets
    $66 Premeet venue
    $100 Premeet umbrella
    $50 Clubhouse for Goodie Bag meeting
    $647.14 + 93.6 = $740.74 Paypal fees (2.9% + $0.30 per transaction)
    (Ticket Buyer pays Brown paper bag fees)
    $275 Demo Room
    $78.30 Demo Fees ($32.42 Hair Raffle Basket & $45.88 Juki shipping to SF)
    (Printed Pattern Handouts provided by Momoko)
    (Hair clips and brochure provided by Christine)
    $163 Donation Raffle (Ashley’s Secret)
    $206 Costume Prize (Sally Salmagundi)
    $178 VIP #1 (Check It Out)
    $178 ChinaLilly (Check It Out to customize for raffle)
    $900 Kenner
    $1,705 Monkeys
    ($?) Photo Ops
    $12,065.54 Total

    So there it is, but really anyone could have done this.  So why now?  My reason is not to stir up trouble.  I want to start a real conversation about where we are going with BlytheCon.  Technically, Mara did not steal from the hobby, at an inopportune moment her funds were seized by the IRS (and not even for her back taxes but for taxes owed by a husband that she was divorcing).  It was really bad timing for the community.  She was planning on building BlytheCon.  Maybe we could have had a steering committee, like BCEU.  But she was excommunicated, drummed out of the hobby.  And we are left with this rather disconnected form of BlytheCon, where we are forced to rely on individual ethics, and the convention itself does not seem to grow creatively with additional fun events and activities.

    Two BlytheCons since BCNYC have been planned for profit, profit for vendors and profit for planners.  And that seems to be great for the people making the profit.  But what does that mean to us as a community?  And is this the direction we want BlytheCon to go?  Because, let’s face it, when events are planned for profit, corners are cut.  

    Options have been discussed, like the bigger Blythe Meet in Vegas suggested By Lisa Marie Pinto of BlytheWorld.  No selling, or just room sales but no “convention floor.”  Though, I myself would obviously prefer a more child friendly location than Las Vegas.  But this idea could be expanded to include all-inclusive resorts, cabins in national parks or cruises.  We could DO things together: photograph, knit, craft, enjoy friendship.

    I think it is time to have an open discussion about what direction we want our hobby to take, rather than just blindly trudging onward with no map nor guide.


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      1. I did not remove this comment. It was removed by the author of the comment.

      2. From here on out, all comments will be moderated. All previous anonymous comments will be deleted, and future anonymous comments will not be published. I welcome comments and criticism. But you must own your comments, as I have done. Lynch mobs in white hoods will not be tolerated.

    2. I feel bad that you feel this way. We all love Blythe, why can't the hobby just be about that?!

      1. I wish we could all just play nicely, too. I really, really want that. But not talking about the bad stuff doesn't make it go away.

    3. πŸ‘€ Where your Part 2πŸ‘€

      1. I planned and even wrote the next part, with evidence to back it up. But I decided not to post it after the response that I got-- so many people saying that there is no need to explain or blame the planners.