This is old news actually that I commented on on Twitter when it blew up a few days ago. They reworded the vendor qualifications months ago because of an incident in Nashville where a vendor went berserk on several Creation employees when they asked the guy to take down his Supernatural Monopoly games which Creation sells also. The wording on what is allowed is now crap because of this one asshole who wasn’t used to selling at Creation. Basically, it boils down to this: Creation wants to be the only one selling licensed Supernatural merchandise (with the except of ConQuest Journals for reasons I won’t go into). This affects a few vendors that bring licensed Supernatural merch to sell, but they are mostly people that are not on what we affectionately call the #vendorsquad (the few of us that follow Creation to almost all Supernatural Creation shows).
Creation also doesn’t want unlicensed merch at their shows, meaning rip off merchandise with photorealistic faces on it. Again, at Nashville, there were several instances of vendors printing off fanart and other various images online and just slapping it on easily made merchandise. Other cons are FULL OF THIS STUFF even when they, too, have told their vendors not to bring it. Other con companies care less because they themselves generally aren’t licensed for direct sell like Creation is. Creation, to protect its license (because booths are sometimes checked by the studio), heavily screens and enforces their rules, which protect copyright infringement and Warner Brothers’ intellectual property.
I’m an independent artist. I technically fall under “unlicensed craft products”, but what they really mean is stuff with photorealistic images of the characters and their names. No one can put Dean, Sam, Cas, etc on their stuff in any way, shape, or form. This, however, leaves some leeway in the form of minimalism like with Atomic Bombshell’s pillows, or the Mad Hatter Designs’ posters. It also presents leeway on things that Supernatural itself has borrowed from like existing lore irl. Creation has the final say on these things tho. Normally, when something is questionable, Creation just asks you to remove it and there is usually no fuss. You are asking for a seat at their table and you must play by the rules.
My stuff is completely compliant. If it isn’t, then I don’t bring it and sell it online only instead. Independent artists are fine for the most part. I myself am booked up until Hawaii atm. My stuff has been fully inspected by almost every member of Creation and the studio. I don’t have any issues! Basically, Creation wants vendors that bring merchandise that isn’t in direct competition with theirs, that doesn’t violate copyright on the studio or other artists, and that these vendors stay at their booths for the entire course of the con. I hope this answers the questions and clears the confusion!