First, some important news:
For a quick synopsis, Mayfair Games no longer owns the rights to Catan. Asmodee now owns the English rights to Catan.
Last week I met with the US Director of Catan, whom I still have a great relationship with, and had a really positive conversation over lunch. It was very nice to regroup and reconnect with him after all the negativity with Mayfair. We both felt relieved to be able to just start right back up where we left off. I'm so glad that our team encouraged me not to go public with the details surrounding last year's issues out of respect for Catan and their team. It allowed us to start over from scratch and leave the past in the past.
It will be a bit of time for the transition from Mayfair to Asmodee to occur, so it will be some time before we obtain a licensing deal with Catan but I'm hopeful that we'll be able to work with their new team to create cool new products and improve the distribution of our current products. It still kills me when I get emails from fans in Australia and the UK who want to purchase our products and can't because international shipping is so expensive. Hopefully in the future that won't be an issue.
Our wooden Collector's Series production has been abysmally slow for the month of January. Some progress has been made, but compared to the previous rate it feels like virtually nothing has happened. There were several delays in meeting with him and after meeting with the manufacturer on Thursday, I sat down with him and had a frank conversation regarding the slowness and the source of it. He was pretty honest and said that he got discouraged late last year and basically lost all motivation to manufacture. After a productive conversation he asked me to let the backers know that he apologizes for allowing himself to be discouraged and that he will be working every day to complete the fulfillment. I will be driving in to meet with him every other day or so to hold him accountable and ensure production is moving forward.
All other Kickstarter Production
All other Kickstarter production will begin after we complete our BackerKit process. Seafarers production will actually begin before we complete it, since we're finishing up our core business production for Amazon next week. We will be using BackerKit to formally unite both of our Kickstarters and make our fulfillment process simpler and more efficient.
During the BackerKit process everyone will be able to do the following:
1. Update your shipping address
2. Add-on additional pledge rewards. We'll have the following products available as add-ons:
Resource card banks
Seafarers Catan Board
Catan Board Gaming Bag
Knight of Catan T-Shirt
Important Note: We will not have any of the Collector's Series products available for sale again until we have a firm deliverable deadline from our manufacturer and are confident that delivery will be on time.
3. During the BackerKit process, you'll see what products you have coming your way. Those backers who pledged greater than $100 during the first Kickstarter have one resource card bank set coming. We've postponed this shipment until after the BackerKit is complete for simplicity.
However, any backers of the first Kickstarter at greater than $100 levels who are international backers will receive a $10 refund because the cheapest international shipping available for the card banks is $15, so it doesn't make sense for us to do that. If you are an international backer at the $100 Complete level itself, you'll still receive the card bank set because it will be included in your Seafarers Board Box.
4. The BackerKit will be sent out February 8th and will last one week. This will allow us to streamline that process, and begin production as soon as possible.
I should also note that I no longer read Kickstarter comments, as they've become a place to feed on negativity and I don't have time for negativity. Thanks for understanding.
Core Business Update
We've decided to transition to an Amazon-only fulfillment, which we're very excited about. What this means is that all of our products will eventually be available on Amazon Prime. This is good for a lot of reasons.
1. Free 2-Day Shipping!!
2. Amazon simply provides a superior customer experience. Amazon has fulfillment and customer service absolutely dialed in, far better than we ever could. During this past Christmas, our fulfillment provider Shipwire experienced order turn-around delays of up to 9. Days. During Christmas! This was of course completely unacceptable. We were able to meet every Christmas Eve deadline for those orders which we promised Christmas Delivery but sometimes it required manually shipping extra boards overnight in order to make sure they had a board during Christmas.
3. Much simpler business processes. We'll now only need to ship to Amazon warehouses. Amazon's inbound shipment processes are extraordinarily simple and streamlined, so this will ensure our inventory levels are matched to demand more effectively.
We're looking forward to 2016, it's set to be a great year. :-)