A few weeks ago, con chairman Samuel Conway wrote a Twitter thread about how a customer was stiffed by a seller in the Dealer's Den at Anthrocon.
OK, I just deleted a long thread where I detailed how an unscrupulous fursuit maker made Anthrocon look bad in the eyes of our friends in Pittsburgh. I intended to demonstrate that the whole "well, that's just how furries do business" affects ALL of us, not just one or two.
— Uncle Kage (@Unclekage) June 18, 2021
Bad business practices have been an ongoing issue in furry fandom. Taking the money and running is not only detrimental from a financial angle; it erodes trust in our fellow fans, and embitters the dreams of getting fursuits and art commissions. Since this frustrating problem has now reached a level where it's occurring within our Dealer's Dens, it also threatens to harm the reputations of the entrepreneurs who call those marketplaces home. If the fandom wants to secure the economic integrity of its spaces, new solutions will need to be developed to protect the honest exchange of goods and services.
Today we go over the harm that these situations cause, the extent and mitigation that furry fandom has committed already, and finally present a baseline of discussion for solutions to bring a sense of security back to the furry buyer.
A furry fan drew an inflated skunk embroidered with the emblem for the Industrial Workers of the World union squishing a hamster in a top hat with the caption of “squash the boss”. Such a piece is not anything too unusual. The oddity that caught the eye of the Daily Dot was that the union itself posted the piece to their Facebook page.
Soon thereafter, the IWW's Twitter account joined in. Though, for some reason, they quietly back out later, as the original Tweet referenced in the Daily Dot article appears to be deleted. (Its text remains in the article despite this – a feature of the standard embedding code for other sites. Tweeters, be wary of this.)
But has furry reached a point where we need to squash the boss and organize? Or are unions barking up the wrong tree? The answer, like the fandom, may be complex.
ArtWorkTee has been quite busy this year when it comes to their charity drives and other Kickstarter campaigns. At this time they are working on their third KickStarter for the year. The first was a calendar drive where fursuiters were pictured for each month. These calendars were sold with proceeds going to a shelter for young horses called Last Chance Corral, which was covered by Flayrah. The second was not covered by Flayrah and was a for helping a feline shelter, Flatbush Cats.
Using charitibility is always a good way to achieve positive marketing and brand recognition, particularly in the furry fandom. In fact, it was a suggestion I had made in regards to the failed ‘designer fursuit’ experiment Zweitesich that if they made those custom designer fursuits a few thousand dollars more expensive and donated those thousands of dollars toward a charity it would have made the fursuit a badge of honor instead of one of purely being a gloating of wealth, which tends to be seen as reprehensible in the fandom.
Now that ArtWorkTee had done these charity kickstarts, the third appears to be using a month drive as an opportunity to introduce a new line of T-Shirts from them. This time it looks like there is no organization that is being supported. Instead, ArtWorkTee is using the same marketing strategy in order to introduce a line of pride shirts based on promotion of individual sexual and gender expression. It mixes a furry character brought to life by LuhBraz Art, mixing the characters with the particular representative flag's color schemes.
There are only a few days left to secure a t-shirt from this initial printing. But they will be available for sale after the campaign at their website and at Midwest Furfest's Dealer's den this year. So what is the incentive for doing this Kickstarter Campaign? It seems mostly to gauge interest, and they will expand their line based on this interest. That's what we will be going over in this article.
A non-furry organization is asking the fandom to have a fursuit creator design a pair of costumes in time for Anthrocon 2020. This will be a commission for their cat mascot "Fiddlesticks". This feline character is used by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in order to inspire children with the beauty of music. They are looking for a pair of suits (copies) that can fit multiple performers. One will be for travel, while the other will be a home body suit. They'd also like to be able to accessorize, such as adding a suit jacket.
Those fursuit creators interested can find more information and apply using this Google Form. So if you are a fursuit designer in search of work, be sure to fill out their application. If you know one, forward them the form to fill out.
In Brazil in March 2019, a furry bowling event had gathered under the name Furboliche. In attendance was Crash Azarel, a popular fursuit performer who had been guest of honor at Brasil FurFest the previous year. At the bowling event there was also another group in attendance to take photos of the fursuiters, to show them wearing sneakers for an advertising campaign for Converse (a brand bought by Nike in 2003). These adverts have been recently released on their Argentinian and Australian sites. Crash shared the news of the marketing launch on his Twitter feed.
WELL CONVERSE-ALLSTARS's FURRY COMERCIAL IS OUT.
So far only in Australia and Argentina, but coming soon near you! XD on their site and on their shops! pic.twitter.com/TMdbVWmCkG
— Crash Azarel (@Crash_Azarel) July 13, 2019
Afterwards, some furs began to be critical of the collaboration, concerned about using one's fursona for the profit of another, and fears of corporate culture and marketing infiltrating the fandom. True to its brand name, the shoe being worn by the furs of Brazil were starting a conversation on outside marketing within the fandom.
Update 7/27: Brasil FurFest has announced a sponsorship by Converse since this article was published.
Zweitesich, a fursuit "designer label", released their first line of partial fursuits to the general public on April 16th. The three available designs are currently being sold for $6,000 apiece, and were advertised in a similar way as designer clothing brands Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger. The product launch, like that of a large sea-faring vessel, ended up with a lot of shattered glass on the ground, as many in the furry community did not receive the promotion fondly.
The Zweitesich brand name is a German compound word that means "second self" (zweites + ich). At first there was speculation that the price and advertising schemes were so tone-deaf that it was coming from an outside group, looking to cash in on fursuit fans. The ads were being done through a new social media account that hid its ties to whoever the designer was. However, the speculation was proven wrong when the actual fursuit creator stepped forward and apologized for the marketing mistakes. It turned out to be AlbinoTopaz, whose previous fursuits had broken records at auctions, like "Lavender Corgi" which had sold on FurBuy for $8,025 in 2014.
4 problems the list of problems Futurism has with Musk's furry curiosity has - as written by a furryPosted by Sonious on Sun 14 Apr 2019 - 20:23
It all started when SpaceX and Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk made a strange tweet that was but one simple word. With that one utterance people started talking in the furry fandom. That word was “fur-curious”. A neologism that indicates that one is interested in fur activities though may not be one themselves. This came up when Elon was discussing a tweet about an article revolving large red squirrels found in India.
The furry fandom’s reaction was as mixed as the backgrounds of people that comprise it.
There are furries who are definitely Tesla fans and would more than likely welcome Musk with open arms: such as the lead administrator of SoFurry and this mouse guy name Twig who proudly shows himself plugging in his Telsa Model 3. However since they’re a Telsa employee, it might make it difficult to use the fandom as an escape from the grind if the boss dives into his hobby.
Those who are not interested in the eccentric billionaire were far more vocal in their concerns. Some of these are furries may have strong misgivings about the CEO’s behaviors surrounding labor unions. Or they may criticize appropriation of government funding for private ventures such as the Tesla solar facility in Buffalo, NY at the tune of 750 million. They also may have been put off by his brazen behaviors regarding a certain Thai rescue mission. Where Elon smeared one of those that rescued kids trapped in a cave as a pedophile when the British man who was able to save the children jibed at Musk who was “overthinking” a rescue solution. Detractors saw Elon’s child rescue plans as a publicity stunt for this company rather than a true act of altruism.
However, far more interesting was the reaction of one individual in the futurist community to Elon Musk’s furry fluff tweets. These communities are very eager to get into space, to plug their brain into the matrix, or maybe just having a world where renewable energy is the norm would be nice. They usually idolize their technology industry gurus. But furries are not space.
So they had one message for Mr. Musk: Get back to work.
YouTuber Keemstar of the channel Drama-Alert, with approximately 4.5 million subscribers and covers topics of controversy on the platform, found himself in one of his own involving the furry fandom this week. On his twitter account he made a quote of saying that furries “must be deleted” and that he wished to make a video game in which you hunt and kill furries.
Furries are the biggest threat to the gaming community. They must be deleted. pic.twitter.com/eyFzicdbKD
— KEEM ???? (@KEEMSTAR) February 26, 2019
When doing business with an individual over the internet, things can be quite precarious. A lot of trust is being put forth by both parties. The one buying is trusting that they are putting their money toward a quality person and in turn their product. The one selling their service and skill is putting faith in their customer to not yank their money under false pretenses.
Furry sellers as of late have been dealing with some unscrupulous customers. These tend to be those that are younger and may not have their own credit-line or PayPal account as of yet, and so they utilize their parents' accounts to acquire money to purchase what they wish. Some scamps may decide to do this without their parents knowledge. In these cases the odds of an unpleasant surprise for the seller is almost inevitable as the irate parent flags their offspring’s charge as fraudulent. This can leave the seller in the cold as money is taken from them and their product is kept by the little thief.
Today we look at some options that crafty crafters can use in order to deal with these issues, and other options that may show themselves in the future.
Looking to buy yourself furry merchandise, but unsure of what to buy? Fear not! There are at least three furry subscription box services on the internet for you to choose from. Boxsona, Fur Delivery, and Furry Mystery Box are all ready to deliver furry merchandise direct to your door.
If you haven't heard of a subscription box service before, it's a recurring (sometimes monthly) delivery of niche products. More well-known examples include Loot Crate (nerdy products) and BarkBox (products for dogs). It's like someone took the idea of loot boxes from the gaming world and put them in real life.
A video released last weekend caught viral attention both inside and outside the furry fandom. In this presentation, a member of a rap group known as the Insane Clown Posse talked with his daughter about being swindled by an online marketplace selling inferior fursuit knockoffs.
Violent J of the ICP and his daughter, introduced as Ruby, discussed their personal experience with an online retailer of OISK, a seller on the website DHGate. The family-friendly breakdown goes over how the final product differed greatly from what was advertised on the site.
The well-produced skit is a good conversation starter, particularly when it comes to the topic of these organizations that would take advantage of the dreams of future fursuiters by siphoning money in return for low-quality costumes.
ABlueDeer is a gifted artist on Furaffinity, SoFurry, Inkbunny and other venues. He been a full-time anime, manga, video game, and anthro artist since 2007. Throughout his career, he has also diligently pursued a childhood dream to create his own ongoing webcomic series. With this goal in mind he created Dark Blue Comics, an illustration and writing production house a few years ago. It currently hosts The Depths, Moonlace, and Bethellium for free reading. Contributors to his Patreon page receive sneak-peeks of upcoming pages, high-quality art, pin-ups, scripts, and much more.
I have worked in the past with ABlueDeer and other professional artists as a writer and social media expert on several comic projects, including The Depths. With that I was fortunate to be able to speak to ABlueDeer recently about Dark Blue Comics, his artistic dreams, and plans for the future as an artist and a father.
Leilani: First, my thoughts and prayers to your friends and family caught in the devastating Mexico City earthquake recently. I'm relieved they're all safe and accounted for.
ABlueDeer(ABD): Thank you so much. Yes, I was able to visit mine and Shana, my wife's, families and check on them. There was another earthquake while we were there but luckily this one was minor. We also wanted to see if the houses had any cracks or anything. Apparently, most of the damage was done in the south, which is a little far from our families’ houses. Some areas had a lot of damage. Most buildings that went down were old and supposedly preserved because they were of Hispanic heritage, and they were in the very center of the city.
On January 26th Silver Eagle, who was brought on as a web developer for Fur Affinity, released a video posting his resignation. In it he talks about his experiences as a developer there, and all the troubles it has caused him emotionally and financially. Thousands of views later the video set off a firestorm of criticism in the direction of leadership at the fandom's most popular website.
Similar controversies have been played out many times before for Fur Affinity, but let's take a look at why this one has perhaps stirred more ire than others and why it has many furs talking about the impact our most popular website has on the lives of others. To do this, we must take a look at the background of the developer who came forward.
New powers to patent animals (including unrealized hybrids that populate furry fiction) burst into the news on 11/13/13, when activist organization Wikileaks revealed a draft of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Analysts have called it "a major power grab for large patent and copyright industries," with powerful implications for the future of intellectual property.
With a lead like that, I have to apologize for faking you out. I couldn't resist. Now let's do a 180, and turn back to the furry level of life, where copyright concerns are much more personal. Consider this scenario that happened to fursuiters Sakura Fox and Mercury on their trip to New York City:
You're walking through Central Park, and see some panhandlers begging for change. They're wearing badly made, unsightly costumes of Sesame Street characters. You shouldn't hang around them in fursuit, because a pimp Elmo might come smack you off his corner!
It's an unauthorized misuse of trademark for profit. It could make the copyright owners look bad, and they wouldn't like it. It's probably too trivial for them to hear about, or hire lawyers to stop it- but you never know. In a famous 1989 action, Disney forced the removal of murals featuring their characters from three Florida day care centers. It helped earn their "reputation as an extreme copyright hawk -- there's a reason 'Disney lawyer' is a term all its own". (On the more friendly side, consider Hasbro's relationship with Bronies.)
Have you noticed a trend of mainstream music videos that some call "pseudo-furry"? It might be a stretch to connect every video that has animal mascot costumes, but their frequency seems like no coincidence. They've been around for years but I seem to notice more and more. Newsbytes posted by GreenReaper and Sonious sparked my notice, and Flayrah's music tag has many more examples. What does this say about marketing? What does "pseudo-furry" imply?
What does the Fox Say?
Anthropomorphic art has been around for much longer than a dedicated fandom for it. Furry fandom didn't spring from an original concept in the 1980's- it's specific inspirations include golden age post-WWII animation, Disney movies and much more. Popular culture and it's gateways are an undeniably important influence. But identifying a trend for pop culture to re-absorb the Furry subculture that it helped spin off could make a good discussion about interplay. Is this happening because Furry is being accepted as a legitimate subculture, beyond a bastard child of the movies, shows, games and comics that furries enjoy?