The Joi of Ponies
I’ve mentioned before my friend, Joi, who makes these fun rag doll ponies. She makes them from scraps. Her rules are that she only uses fabric from scrap bins, remainder piles, and thrift stores. So she finds fabric and says, “Oh, that would make an interesting Twilight Sparkle,” or what-have-you. She makes ponies based on characters in the series, or on original characters (by way of commission), and she makes ponies based on other things. I’ve seen her make a pony version of Carl Sagan, the classic Roman poet Virgil, Neil Gaiman’s Death, or the Mars Curiosity Rover. And she sells them online at Equestria Rags.The first pony I bought from her wasn’t for me. It was a pony version of Mayor Mare from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series. I had to plead a bit, because it was one of her early models where she was still figuring out how to make ponies, so she hadn’t started selling them, yet, and hadn’t planned to offer it for sale. But I really wanted to give it as a present to my husband, and I talked her into it. We’ve bought more ponies since.
A few weeks before the convention, she posted pictures online of a new pony she had just finished: Applejack made from gold lamé-style fabric.
Of the characters on the show, Applejack is my favorite. Or most-favorite, since I’m the kind of person who always winds up with about five or forty favorite characters in any book or series that I get into. Anyway, of course I wanted to buy Applejack in shiny, shiny gold! Who wouldn’t?
But she was one of the ponies Joi was making explicitly for the convention. To be a successful vendor at any convention, you have to have a variety of stock. Since these are handmade (hand cut, hand stitched, hand painted, et cetera), each one is a serious investment in time. Since she makes them from scraps, that means it is very unlikely she’ll be able to make multiple ponies exactly the same.
I wanted that gold Applejack. But I also wanted her to have a successful sales experience at the con. So I had to wait until the convention to buy her, and technically I had to wait until the Dealer’s Room opened.I had planned to just stand in front of her table starting a few minutes before the room opened (since I would be inside setting up my own table), just waiting there with money to hand her. This was before we discovered that we were at adjacent tables. Because of where we were, getting in and out from behind our table meant climbing over other people, so it would have been a bit awkward. At the two minutes ’til ten a.m. mark, I asked her if she was going to make me go to the other side of the table. She laughed and said we could just do the exchange now.
So for the rest of the day I had my golden Applejack on my table as a second mascot and to show folks. I had to tell several people she wasn’t for sale, but that Joi had lots of other ponies right there, and she takes commissions.
While sitting at my table, getting some writing done and occasionally selling buttons and pony toys to people, I kept watching a cute version of Derpy Hooves (a supporting character from the cartoon series) that had a squeaker. The squeaky fruit bats and ponies that Joi had were very popular. People kept squeezing them to show their friends while deciding which one to buy. I had already abused my position as a Vendor to buy one of her ponies out from under customers. And she was selling well. I figure the more people who buy her things and tell their friends, the more business she’ll get online, right?Michael and I also already own a lot of plushies: scores of teddy bears, tigers, otters, ponies, and so on. We didn’t really need more, right? But when I asked Michael in the evening whether it would be okay for me to buy another pony to take up room around the house, he said fine. So the second morning of the con, when I saw that Squeaky Derpy was still there, I asked if I could buy her. Which meant I had two Derpies as mascots on the table Saturday.
It’s an addiction, I know. But I ain’t going to rehab! (And these are just the ones I’ve acquired. My husband also has several!)