The Changing Landscape of Conventions

2015 saw a huge change in the way we as an industry, and those outside of it, saw vaping and specifically vaping conventions. What once was our little secret events that drew the attention of very few outside of our world - have now begun breaking mainstream media... and it is mostly bad.

We went from having our own inside jokes - to being made fun of on national television shows. Shows where rooms of comedic writers would take the time to actually come up with jokes about who and what we are as an industry. Sure - this means people know we exist.. but it's the light in which we've been shown in that makes this a very bad thing. We can thank ourselves... but more so the people in the industry without couth, manners, or a level of respect to consider the rights of others - even in the face of the very real shadow that our rights could be taken away at any moment thanks to the Supreme Furher FDA.

One of the biggest travesties of 2015 - was the huge growth in non-professionally ran conventions, meets, events, and trade shows. I understand that most of the people in our industry were not some sort of expert in the same fields prior - but there's a staunch difference in working to become a professional - and just doing something because you think it's worth the money for little effort. You'd be wrong. That, and you are going to ruin it for the rest of us - those of us who's families are fed, who's families suffer time away from us because this is our full time job x10 - those who carry these things on our back for hours upon hours a day for months to make sure the show goes on with out a hitch. For us - you are going to ruin it - and for some you already have.

Vendors are going to be much more inclined in 2016 to frequent less shows - both from the lack of attendance seen in some conventions around the country, and the pure over-priced / under run shows we've seen such as NJ. I speak to hundreds of vendors frequently - and there are many who have expressed fear because of the things that happened at shows like that one, and many others. Conventions thrown by a local brick and mortar owner - when they really don't have the time to facilitate that. Those who think it's all glamour and negate the work necessary - which leads to controversies such as law breaking (NJ I'm looking at you again).

It has to stop - we want the competition! We want to win Best of 2016 like we did in 2015 - but we want the competition to be real. We want to see conventions that people slave over - as we slave over ours. You voted ... our conventions spoke for themselves. We have never and will never grand stand that or shout look at us. Our reputation carries itself - and we are so very thankful for that.

We aren't in this industry to hit it and quit it - if the ship is going down then I'm going down with it kicking and screaming until the last minute, and then past that minute by a day. I have already seen prominent companies, people, vapers jumping ship or openly questioning their options on social media because of the looming regulations - and to you I say good fucking riddance. You didn't believe in what we do - you didn't put your full effort to fight along side of us - so good... get the fuck out. You would have just brought us down anyway. Why do you need a group of vapers to validate the fact that you aren't willing to FIGHT for what's yours? Fuck. You.

The FDA may very well ban us out of existence. It's a very real scenario. We may have just 2-3 years left in this industry. But until that goes into affect and it becomes illegal to do what we do - we will continue hosting VaperSlam and VapeMania - and still give people a place to find hope - learn about advocacy - and join the fight. If in the end we lose, we can at least stand proud knowing we did our part to grow this industry in every realm, from financial, to professional, to economical.  The fight isn't over - and it wont be for a long time.

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The Freeze is one of the team members behind VaperSlam and VapeMania - his views and opinions are of his own and not shared with the sponsors, vendors, or attendees of the conventions. His opinions are not shared with The Vape Association, LLC or any other entity. Copyright 2015.

Chris Winfrey