by Patch O'Furr
Establishing a brand across many convention dealer dens is a big deal for the personalized, self-creating furry fandom. Artworktee has grown an impressive presence for serving furries with merchandise made within and representing them. It hasn’t always been smooth, but things are looking up.
“We’re not a 7-figure company”, laughs the new owner Raphael when I ask about the size and how many staff they have. “Well actually it was at one point when Neil ran it, but we’re reorganizing.”
Raphael is attentive on the phone, with an easy laugh and straightforward answers about business structure. He’s based in California and took over Artworktee in mid-2021, since the company went bankrupt after running for several years under original founder Neil Wacaster.
The 2020 bankruptcy followed losses from Midwest Furfest plans that went badly (that’s no surprise with the Covid-19 pandemic); and a “Kickstarter debacle”. Readers who follow the turbulence of social media may be familiar with controversy about Wacaster’s practices that had coverage here — (with some charitable understanding for staff and artists invested in using Artworktee) — but the bankruptcy and reorganization took Wacaster out of ownership.
- ArtworkTee issues and the heart of the furry economy (2018)
- A Tale of Two Kickstarter Campaigns, and the Selling of Identity by Artworktee (2019)