I do not own any of the characters. I am simply a fan putting out merchandise I've drawn.
Please do not re-sell my art with an up-charge or steal the designs, thank you!
FREQUENT ASKED QUESTIONS
Let’s talk about artist online stores:
How do you open a store?
You open one! Pick tictail, storenvy, etsy, bigcartel, or anything and get started.
How do you stock up for a store?
Either you hand make the product or you get it printed via a company, typically overseas when it comes to smaller merchandise.
How do you stock up for both an online store and convention?
Ideally you would have separate stocks— one for conventions and one for online, but this is costly. Stocking up for charms alone per convention costs me upwards of $400-600. To ask me to have a special separate stock for my online store is a total of $800-1200 that I don’t have the money or storage space for.
Aside from this, I will say that sometimes I deliberately overshoot my quantities if I can afford it and leave some at home and call that my online stock. That doesn’t account for every single item in the store.
How do you know how many products to bring and leave home?
Simple answer, we don’t. We don’t have a marketing team we can only gauge what the attendees will be interested in and leave excess back at home. The numbers will always fluctuate depending on the city the convention takes place in and the demographic of this convention — nothing is ever clear cut.
What happens if someone makes a purchase on a product online that you are low stock of when you get to con?
It depends on the circumstance. Conventions are typically fri-sun, and we typically will pack up our merch Wednesday & fly out Thursday to set up for the convention. If you make the purchase Wed-Sat, usually I’ll remember to separate your order from my con stock and essentially “reserve” that merch, bring it back home, and pack it ASAP for you.
However, if you make the purchase Sun-Mon and onwards — I will be unable to reserve for your order and the low stock product will probably have sold out during convention. In this scenario, the best I can do is let you know & start a re-stock order. Communication with Chinese manufacturers isn’t always easy, and shipping time can take 2-3 weeks to get to me depending on the product.
Why can’t you just mark the product as sold out if you know you’re sold out at a convention?
This is a solid plan, and usually we do. But please understand I have so many charms & other merch that I literally have to stand up the entire convention weekend in order for customers to see me — therefore keeping track of everything does become tricky. Remember that every con is packed with its own stresses and we do an average of 18-22 cons per year. If it happens that I sell out of a product I forget to mark as sold out I will at the very least let the buyer know and offer them a refund if they cannot wait for the restock.
How is your flight schedule?
When we do back to back cons typically we fly home Monday. We have Tuesday and Wednesday at home and fly back out Thursday. Typically I do my orders in those two days, but the flight home is roughly $250 and the flight back out is another average $250– total of $500. Because of this we figured it would be economical to fly directly to our next location which would save us $250 for every convention. This of course means we forego the two days in between I would otherwise have to pack orders. In those circumstances, it causes another week of delay until we head home.
Why can’t you pack orders while on your convention?
Conventions, by themselves, as many other artists will tell you, are already very stressful. We work long shifts, sometimes 10am to 11pm, and sometimes the con is 24hours. Our set up requires us to stand, and we do our best to be sociable and offer good customer service. This is already taxing for us, but keep in mind our inability to leave our booth for that length of time and the limited water and food supply we have. After convention, typically we will be tired and starving, and order in. Ideally I’d like to have the energy to pack orders, 1.) that’s not healthy 2.) how can I print ~90+ shipping labels at a hotel or Airbnb? 3.) How will I drop it off at the post office? 4.) I have to have enough energy to last me 3-4 days of con + travel.
2.) Uber to fedex and try to print it there — counter: so I’ll pay a fee to drive to fedex, and pay extra fee to get my labels printed on top of my $15 monthly fee from stamps.com + ~$3 per domestic + ~$14 international ? Sure, but now I will have to bump up my shipping cost for everyone.
3.) I will have to return back to the hotel/Airbnb to tape the packaging labels on, so then another Uber cost to go back to the room, then Uber to the nearest post office, and another Uber cost to go back to my room. Sure, but now I have to increase shipping to 2-3x the current amount and I don’t think that’s fair to any parties.
The only scenario this would work would be if I were staying with a family friend who would be willing to drop off the packages for us & has a printer or a car. This only ever could happen if I were in Ft. Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Seattle, or San Antonio. But please understand there are many things that can go wrong too like ordering packing tape, clear sleeves, and drawstring bags, and poly bags on amazon prime now, we will have to choose the least amount of packaging quantity possible to make sure our luggages don’t become overweight when we fly home. This means there’s still a chance any of these items to run out before we complete everyone’s orders (our average is 150-200 orders per month). No matter what, even on our best scenario, some people will have to wait.
Why can’t you just close your store during conventions?
I could, but plainly put, I need money to help my brother in his school, help my parents with repairing the house, my bills, a cat, a senior dog and my sister’s senior dog that she left behind, plus actually living. Plainly put, I can’t afford to close my store for long periods of time. If anyone has scheduling suggestions please let me know.
How has partnering with Andie affected the store?
Good and bad. I love working with my GF, but she has her own products and we have been cleaning out her products that she cannot quickly restock so as to not burden customers with long wait times but it has been a difficult year with manufacturers running out of business or increasing their prices. I admit we have more to work on in terms of our ability to be efficient together but that’s something we continuously talk about and improve on and are aware of.
What are most of the cost breakdown for product and packaging materials?
Charms bulk: $400-600
Lanyards bulk: $150-300
Heart button parts bulk: $300-500
Shirts bulk: $700
Packaging Tape: $5 or bulk $20
Clear packaging: (s) $11, (m) $9, (l) $40
Stamps.com : $15 monthly
Labels: ~$2.60 domestic, ~$13 international, not including extra weight
Print tubes or envelopes: ~$2 per piece
Logo stickers: $90 per roll
Not to mention the cost of storage for all of these to remain as organized as possible in our house & the time/labor to package.
Even if you’re purchasing one sold out product, a charm for example— it isn’t realistic to ask my manufacturer to print out just your charm and ship it to me immediately. Not only would I have to stock up on that charm, meaning 10-15pcs more beyond your order, but I would also need to stock up on other charms I’m low of, because shipping becomes cheaper per piece if I order more quantity. 10-15pcs would be roughly $40 shipping cost. It makes more sense to pay $60 shipping cost for ~60 more charms. This means the production will be slower and there might be cause of delay in case any of the other charms get misprinted/misoutlined.
What are real life examples of delay?
1.) the address is written wrong by the consumer, so it has to travel nowhere and come back— then we have to ask the consumer for a new address etc
2.) the consumer purchases the wrong thing and asks us to amend it for them, which tictail can’t accommodate us with, so sometimes miscommunication happens and the wrong order is shipped
3.) consumer needs an address change which tictail can’t accommodate us with, this causes us to slow our process to make sure everyone in the 150-200 monthly orders are accounted for
4.) shirt manufacturer shrinks our design
5.) manufacturer’s machines break and puts us on a long delay
6.) charms manufacturer prints our charms with the wrong size or flips backwards or has damage to a small quantity of them which would mean a delay for anyone who is affected
7.) stamps.com crashes and won’t let us print our labels
8.) printer runs out of ink or breaks down
9.) out of state, packaging, and we run out of tape
10.) sometimes people’s packages actually just get lost in the mail
11.) our manufacturer mysteriously disappears and can no longer take our orders and we have to find a whole new manufacturer that can communicate and be punctual while we struggle with the time difference and language barrier of companies based in China
12.) without notice, our manufacturers will have a holiday off due to a national day in China that we have no idea about so we won’t hear back from them for half a week to a week depending on the holiday
Wow that’s crazy, how do you deal with that?
If it sounds crazy, it’s because it is. Artists put up with it because we need money, and because ultimately we love doing what we do. But sometimes that means dealing with craziness, working around it, and hoping for the best. So you can imagine that impatient, angry customers that want constant updates are just another stress on our shoulders while we try to push orders out as fast as we can.
Have you ever not shipped out orders out of personal reasons such as depression or any emotional state?
No, not at all. We have always understood that this is our means of living, so when we have the capability to ship out an order, there is no hesitation. So please understand that if we haven’t shipped it yet, there’s an actual reason.
Is that why you’ve tried to give automated responses to update us of a best estimate of dispatch?
Yes, the intention has always been to keep customers in the loop, because I want them to know they’re not forgotten. Majority of the time everyone has been understanding but there are a few really angry customers who use our updates as a chance to voice demeaning responses and that’s really unfair to us with everything we’re trying to do for the store. If you’re dissatisfied with the wait time, it’s fair to cancel your order or to ask us politely for a refund, there is zero need for attitude.
Why do we get asked by tictail to rate the store and a product we haven’t received yet?
That’s something tictail does to pressure stores to ship out products as fast as possible. If there’s an option to skip the rating before you received your item, we would appreciate it. Rating us and especially voicing angry comments before consulting with us about your product is absolutely rude when you don’t give us a chance to let you know what is going on.
What is the best mode of contact for Kohi and Andie?
1.) Tictail messaging is best.
2.) If you absolutely have to, please email us at email@example.com with the subject “Tictail order concern”
3.) Worst case scenario, DM us on Twitter, specifically @officialbleeply for specific order updates or questions, and as for suggestions or concerns DM @kohichapps. Feel free to DM us both at once so we can both be on the same page about your concerns.
When is your busiest times of the year? June-September is the biggest bulk of cons for us.
I want something that is sold out on your store, what do I do?
Inquire about it on tictail! Usually, if the product is not marked as discontinued, I can restock it and let you know when I can place an order with the manufacturer.
Half the time I actually do have the stock but forgot to mark it in stock, because I was trying to be cautious about what might accidentally sell out during conventions (typically berserk, shinji, naruto buttons, captive prince, some dc charms etc.) vs not wanting to deal with someone purchasing a sold out item.
You used to have helpers, what happened to them?
Those helpers were family members that needed money and I offered for them to work for me short term while I was away for cons. My mother was unemployed but now she’s attending school. My brother used to be at a lax elementary/jr high and wanted money to build his own gaming studio, but now he’s attending a prestigious high school and I don’t want to get in the way of his studies
I also don’t want to hire friends because it puts a strain on my relationship with them.
If I want this order for a birthday/present or a specific time, how can I go about that?
Thank you so much for considering our products as a gift! In that case scenario, I would advice you to put in the purchase note “This is for an urgent present for a friend/family/someone — if you can, I need it by ____ this specific date.” And we will do our very best to get that done as soon as we see your order and note.
How long will it take you to ship my order?
Pre-Orders have their own separate updates & time to be shipped out. That can take sometime between 1-2months.
Regular domestic orders, will typically take 2-4 weeks during off con-season which is October-May. During con-season, which is May-September, it will take us 6-8 weeks domestically.
For international orders, just imagine adding one more week to these estimates because you are overseas.
There will be times when we have delays, and that is not abnormal because of everything I have explained. When delays happen, you have every right to ask us politely for a refund or to just cancel your order, but please refrain from leaving rude and condescending comments and especially rating us without consulting us about your orders.
Who is running the shop?
Just Kohi and Andie for the time being. We are two girls who travel full time to do conventions simultaneously. Running the store isn’t necessarily difficult for us, we get things done as soon as we get home, but what does make it difficult are people who don’t at all take to consideration how individual artists have to run their stores.
I’ve sent you an email, when can I expect a response?
Emails take 2-3 days for a response. Please avoid sending multiple emails. We will see it. That’s why tictail message is available for you to contact us for a quicker response. DMing is also an option, but if your concern is urgent maybe don’t email at all because it WILL take 2-3 days and it’s repetitive to both email and send us a DM.
Which products are the most difficult to restock?
Shirts are difficult when we are out of state because we press the shirts ourselves at home.
Enamel pins are equally difficult because we find ourselves having to switch manufacturers frequently.
Pouches are difficult because they take up to 3 weeks to be produced.
What should we be concerned about regarding our order?
If we don’t respond within a week, you are free to DM us, there’s a chance your email or tictail message got lost in the notifications. If that were to happen we are very sorry and hopefully we can be in contact with you as soon as possible to resolve any issues.
If my order is damaged, lost, or missing items— what should I do?
If it’s damaged, feel free to send us a picture of it, and we can reship you a new package.
If it’s gotten lost by the post office, we can try to reship your package but you will need to pay at least 50% of the cost of your original purchase.
If it’s missing some items, please alert us immediately and we can send you the products ASAP!
I really like your art and your products but I am paranoid about online orders and check my order status frequently, what should I do?
We update our customers as much as we can without getting too repetitive about their orders. If the possibility of a longer wait time or a delay is something you personally cannot deal with, we would advice not to make a purchase with our store. As much as we would wish to be able to accommodate everyone within one week, it’s not always possible and in that scenario, maybe you could: 1.) wait until we are attending a convention you will be present in 2.) note your package as a birthday present (if it’s not pre-order).
I want a refund for my order, how do I go about that?
Refunds can only be given to orders that haven’t been packaged. In the case that it has already been packaged we can refund you the item cost, but not the shipping cost. If you’d like a refund please politely contact us and simply say “Hi, I’d like a refund for this order if that is at all possible.” There is absolutely no need to be backhanded about this.
Note also, we only take returns from items that are damaged or the wrong item delivered.
What’s the takeaway here?
We aren’t a commercial company, we aren’t really a company at all. We are two individual artists trying to make a living. It’s in my belief that if you’re purchasing from our store, you share a likemindedness with a lot of our customers— that 1.) you like a series we like 2.) you like a product we’ve made 3.) you would like to support us to make more of what you’d perhaps like or because you like us as people.
If this is true, we would appreciate levels of patience and understanding and tactfulness when coming to us about your concerns. Understand that there are many factors that can play into a delay, and that it’s not rooted in laziness or excuses. We will update you with your order as soon as we possibly can, and let you know of the delays that we come across. If it’s frustrating for you, it’s even more frustrating for us because we want to offer you the best but sometimes that isn’t fast enough.
Why is this FAQ so long?
Unfortunately this is the reality for a lot of artists. We are often belittled for the work that we do, and this extends to our customers and followers even if they don’t necessarily mean to. We want to be as transparent as possible to avoid any misconceptions about our store and the work that we put in.
This FAQ exists so that it now rests on the consumer’s responsibility to read it and be aware of what you agree to when you purchase from us.