Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Still Flyin'!

I got confirmation from Freeman that my crate of shiny stuff is indeed in their hands today and should be waiting for me when I arrive in Atlanta for Dragon*Con Thursday morning. (oh, hey, that's tomorrow!!)

I'm glad to have all my stuff there, for sure. But as a bonus for those of you attending, because of the whole customs debacle both FanGirl at FanDone and Geek2Chic custom tees shipped in extra goodies to fill the booth. THAT means-- tons and tons of pretties for the Browncoats who choose to peruse the dealer room! I hope we have room for it now! We'll hang it all from the ceiling if we have to!

Since I'm departing for the deep south later this night, I will not be on the cortex for about a week. Rest assured that all reports will be documented here-- I hope they're all good reports! (After the customs fight, I've earned them!)

Until next time:
"Anyone we walk away from, right? I call this a win!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And We're In!

Got the call from the transport company today- the Firefly Cargo Bay items are on the US side and should be in Atlanta tomorrow! *sighs huge sigh of relief*

I am so worn out already, and I'm not even there yet!! All this hassle has left me feeling like the Reavers have had their way with me. But it all gets better from here,'eh? (I hope so anyway. Do you know the customs broker actually had *us* call the Hanes' manufacturing plant in Honduras to find out HOW *they* make their shirts?!?!?!) What we went through to get our stuff across can not be normal operations. It just can't be. No one would put up with that on a regular basis. What really kills me is two separate items. First, most of my suppliers are in the USA, so the stuff I got was already cleared to enter the country from other means before. And two, and this one hurts the most, The first customs broker was based in Detroit and after 3 days of answering his asinine questions we were passed to a broker in Buffalo. The one line in the email said, "textiles do not need to be cleared if coming across at the Buffalo station." or something like that. That didn't stop Buffalo guy from starting back at aquare one with all of the questions however.

ANYWAY! It's over and done with an me and my stuff WILL be at Dragon*Con- open for business in the Marriott Marquis International Ballroom starting at 1 pm on Friday. Come on by and say Ni Hao! (and if you leave us some cashy money that's okay too!)


Until next time:
"Do we even care? Are we caring about that now?"

Friday, August 22, 2008

Never Again with Cows

I knew getting my stuff to Atlanta for Dragon*Con would be difficult. I had no idea it would be the rutting problem it has become!

Short version- my crate of stuff was supposed to be at Freeman's warehouse yesterday. Today we discover it hasn't even left Canada! It seems US Customs wants to know a few things about the items inside. Fair enough, we thought, until we heard the questions.

For instance, regarding the knitted jayne hats, they wanted to know where they came from. When we told them a woman knits them here, they wanted to know where the yarn came from. We said, Walmart. They said, "Where did they get it? What is the country of origin?" Um... isn't that Walmart's responsibility to find out? Apparently not. What else did they want to know? Well - My husband spent the day on the phone getting the addresses of fabric manufactures in Hong Kong who make the fabric used in making the flags that I buy and have silk screened. Never mind that I bought the flags from the "US Flag Company" (seriously)- the US Customs people want *us* to track down where THEY got the fabric to make the flags. Also, where the paper parasols came from and the address of the manufacturing plant in Honduras where Hanes makes their T-shirts. Never mind that I bought the T-shirts from Cafe Press which is based in the USA. An entire day. Taken from his real job, to spend on the phone calling overseas for bullshit. My suppliers are responsible for making sure their products came into the country legally, not me. US Customs doesn't seem to see that logic.

We're just a little business trying to survive. The US economy is not going to crumble by us sending $5000.00 worth of merchandise into the States from Canada. Hey, Customs, 95% of my suppliers are in the States. I bought all the supplies from the US and paid all duty and taxes on every last fucking item that I brought across the border from the States. Now, I'm taking the very same items back across the border and I really don't think it should be suspect as illegal or dangerous or contraband simply because it spent a few months in Canada. Guess what else, Customs., I'm bringing it into the States to sell and when I do that I HAVE TO COLLECT AND PAY 8% OF WHATEVER I CHARGE TO GEORGIA IN STATE TAXES. Yes, US, you are officially getting more of the money from any of my potential sales than I myself would be. Let's see, add that to the cost of the supplies that I paid to the US companies where I got the items and then take out the duty and taxes... Hey US, I'm actually PAYING YOU with these items.

That is, if you ever let me take them into the country at all.

Oh, and since the stuff was supposed to be at Freeman's Thursday and is still sitting at the border, Freeman is going to tack on a fee for the crate getting there past the deadline. That is (say it with me) if it ever gets there at all. Set up is Thursday. Even if it ships out Monday it'll only GET there Thursday. It might not be taken to the hotel until Friday. Did I mention Dragon*Con starts Friday?

So where are we at now? Well, Firefly Cargo Bay has a table in the Marriott Marquis International Hall. My sister has some stock with her that doesn't have to cross the border. I have a few items coming in my suitcase. The Bedlam Bards will have their cds and shirts and other items. Geek2Chic has sent 85 shirts down to the hotel for sale at my table. Fangirl from FanDone is bringing lots of shiny items to peddle. So, we'll have stuff, I just don't know how many items at this point. (And don't worry, I won't boost my prices to make up for all these extra fees Customs is causing me-- I know I can't possible break even at this point so I'm not gonna try.)

What will happen now...? Watch this space for updates.

Until next time:
"I'm a businessman, see. Roots in the community"

Monday, August 11, 2008

Well, That Makes More Sense!

We called the Dragon*Con dealer people and it turns out I'm not at booth #64 like it said in my letter. I'm at space number G4. It seems someone doesn't print very clearly and the G looked like a 6. It happens.

More D*C related stuff: There will be some Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog items for sale at the table. If you want them while you're there you'd best snag them when you see them. Once they're gone, they're gone forever! Cafe Press got a letter from Joss' lawyers saying, basically, cut it out, and pulled all designs related to DHSB. Quite officially too, which was surprising coming from Joss. He's always been supportive of the little guy and turns a blind eye to the freelance stuff. But I guess now that his own personal money is involved it's a different story.

I don't blame him or anything, and can understand that he wants to pay his crew and cast and all that and fair's fair. But he should know by now that people that love his work go all piratey and bootleg and yet still shell out every last dime they have for the official stuff when it's made available. We create a lot of "buzz" (as cafe press terms it) for his work and are a very creative bunch. So he should work with us instead of hushing us up.

I guess what it really comes down to is that I wouldn't mind being shut out in favor of the licensed merchandise if THE OFFICIAL STUFF DIDN'T SUCK SO HARD! It's really boring mediocre, first draft idea stuff and many of the designs and ideas on the sites on cafe press (and elsewhere) were much better.

I'm just sayin'.

Oh, and Adam Baldwin cancelled his appearance a D*C again this year.

So, I think that covers all my rants for the moment (I have a huge one with Canada Post right now, but it'd get banned from the internet if I printed in the language I want to use at the present time. Let's just say, that scene in "The Message" where Womack wants to light the postal clerk on fire? - I can relate!)

Until next time:
"Let's hope we got some funny hats, too"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

No One's Gettin' Left

Hello all!

We're back after 10+ days of no internet access. So... what did I miss?

I got my letter from Dragon*Con . Firefly Cargo Bay will be located at table #64 which helps not at all, as there is no 64 on the pdf of the dealer room map on the site. So many bugs to work out before the end of the month (yikes! less than 23 days away!!)

Other than that, I'm just going to spend the next few days catching up on what I didn't do without a computer and readying everything for the big D*C!

Until next time:
"Hey. Doctor. Glad to have you back now. On the ship."