Sunday, June 21, 2015

Update for June 21st, 2015

We have been reminded by a few of you that we are a little late on our update. The month of May has passed and we are now far into June. There have been a few more hiccups along the way. But both Jim and I want to assure you that we are working hard to move this process forward.

Again, we would like to ask that if you plan on purchasing anything at this time, that you read all of the posts concerning our current progress. We appreciate your purchases, they help us immensely in solving this problem, but we again want you to make your choice with the understanding that there will be a delay in the turn around. If you aren't willing to wait, please don't order. But also, by ordering now you will be ahead in the queue as we solve our production problems. Also, by ordering now you are helping us repair what damage has occurred.

Many people have suggested a Kickstarter to get us back on track. Both Jim and I feel that this might be something that we would be willing to visit in the future once we have again earned your confidence. In time we may open this up for discussion with the community. For now, just purchasing a mat or two would work in the same fashion. The profit we earn on each purchase goes directly to fixing some of the problems and in return you have invested in a future addition to your gaming table. Once we can repair what has gone wrong, the goal of course, is to turn our product out quickly and efficiently for the community. Also, again, we want all of you to understand that we have no intention of folding or running. This is our livelihood and we have much more in the way of product line that we want to share with the community, but first we have to fix this bump in the road. As we have said before, we are placing ourselves in the hands of the community.

Now, on to the update:
On the production side of things, we have gone seven weeks since our original post. In that time we have produced our way from May 2014 up to the middle of September 2014. Essentially 4.5 months in seven weeks. We have a few stragglers from all of the mentioned months. Mostly the resin orders. The temperatures in the month of May were erratic and without temperature controls in our workshop working with the resin has been hit and miss. I explained this in an earlier post. September is proving to be a little more demanding than I originally estimated due to a few massive orders. Also, in the month of May we ran out of some essential packaging materials which also slowed down our production process. Since money is very tight we had to make some painful decisions concerning the purchases of these materials. This has effected everything across the board.

On the shipping side of things, we are behind the production schedule. As we stated earlier the problems we encountered through last fall and winter assailed all aspects of our finances. Because of this we have had to balance production, with shipping, while paying the customers who've requested refunds back. This has slowed down the shipping end of things. But fear not, if you're a June or July order and you still haven't received your mat, you will very shortly.

Some of you asked for pictures, so we're dropping in a pic of some packages ready to be shipped out.

Best wishes always!
Kevin and Jim.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Update as of May 16th

Well, here we go folks. The resin shipment came in last Friday. I've been putting in about 4-6 hours a day on resin, but the weather has not been kind here in New York. On Friday through Sunday it was in the high eighties—basically cooking the interior of the tin roofed resin workshop. We haven't been able to run the air conditioning unit because of the cost, so we are having to work when the temperatures are naturally cooler (Early morning – late at night.). Essentially, the resin we use will boil when mixed at temperatures above 80 degrees. Things are moving along a bit slower than we would like in that department. From Wednesday to Friday the temperatures outside have been too cold. Thursday night the temperature was right at freezing. Again we can not run the electric heaters, too expensive when we have no cash flow, so we must wait until the temperature climbs in the workshop. (The resin will be gummy and break like poorly baked cookies if the temperatures are below 69 degrees.) But onto more positive news.

On the production side of things, concerning the mats, August is nearly finished and we will be starting September soon. I believe September will be a smaller month as far as orders went. On another positive note, as listed on the ZUZZY store page, we can now send out orders in these sizes—2X4FT. and smaller mats within our normally stated time frame—probably sooner.

We have used half of the latex we received two weeks ago. Normally we would order more at this time, but cash is tight so we will not be doing this at this time. We'll see how the can bounces as we kick that one down the road a bit.

On the shipping end of things. We have experienced a few bumps in the road. We are trying to resolve those problems. So, June and July customers, if you haven't received your packages yet, don't panic, they will be on your doorsteps soon.

Also, at the beginning of this upcoming week we will start paying back the customers which wanted refunds that fell outside of Paypal's charge back policy—starting with June. We will be contacting each of you in email and then be sending a check in the mail. This, also, will be a slower process than any of us would like.

And, a few of you have asked for pictures. Jim and I are still discussing this and perhaps in future posts we will put up a few to go along with the updates.
The battle continues . . .

Best Always,
Kevin and Jim

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mid-Week Update

On the production end of things: June is finished for the most part. All that is left is prep and packaging for a few stragglers.

July was started on Monday, as far as production goes. The mats are also mostly finished. Again, they will be waiting on prep and packaging.

An aside note: Preparation involves cleaning, cutting, and trimming the mats. This process can take some time. We don't use any machinery to do this. In fact the only one that can do this process is Jim. The man has the hands of a surgeon—or perhaps even better. Each mat that you receive has been hand trimmed by him. I have never met anyone else that can do what he does. (It is impossible for me to do, due to an illness from childhood that left me with shaking hands.) After the prep they are packaged and sent to the shipping department, where I box them up.

Back to our update:
Most of July should be ready to go out by the end of the week and the beginning of next. August production will be in full swing by the weekend. As I recall August is a fairly large month. It most likely will not be as quick a turn around as June and July. They had mostly been finished when all hell broke loose back in November. September through December purchases dropped four fold, so production on these months should also be relatively quick. But I will revisit this in the days to come.
To get this far we have used one quarter of the order of latex that arrived last Friday.
I should be giving you another update at the end of the week.

Thanks again for your patience.

Best Always,
Kevin and Jim

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Update For This Weekend

We received a full order of latex Wednesday afternoon. Two days sooner than the supplier promised! You should also know that late winter was very harsh on us this year, and all of our resin stocks were destroyed. The replacement for the resin will be on order this Friday.

This weekend ZUZZY will be focusing on finishing up the month of June, 2014. There isn't much left to that month and those of you that have been stuck out in the ten month zone will finally have your issues addressed. If there are any that still have refund requests in that month or before we will contact you very soon.

In the fall of last year, we had been sending out June, July, and a few August orders. July of course will be next. For expediency sake the smaller orders will be going out first, while we weave the larger ones into the docket.

Again, although we are filling the mat orders as quickly as possible, we are waiting on our resin replacement. This can not be ordered until Friday. It will take a few days before it arrives.

Best Always,
Jim and Kevin

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ZUZZY comes clean . . . an open letter to the community

Greetings ZUZZY customers, gamers, crafters, general hobbyists. Thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of your hobby experience. It isn't often that we get a chance to communicate so directly, but today, we have been given a moment in time to address the community with truth and directness.

Please allow us a moment of your time to apologize for a few things.

1. For our failure to meet your expectations . . . expectations we generated by a promise to deliver our product in a timely manner.
2. For our failure to communicate adequately.
3. For waiting so long to do so.

The reasons are many and convoluted, fraught with twists and turns, and unexpected pitfalls. The results have been unbearable for you the consumers, and also for Jim and myself as the producers. We promised the product within a four to twelve week period depending on location and items ordered. We have failed for many of you, and we are sorry for your inconvenience. That failure at this time has translated to a ten month wait for some of you. Many of you have decided that is too long.

Over the past seven months you expressed your concerns. Early on we regularly corresponded in emails. We made promises and predictions which we truly believed were accurate. Throughout 2014 unexpected events took place, causing us to stumble. They were personal events that had injurious effects on ZUZZY's production. The word went out that we were ignoring you. And our silence generated distrust. Many demanded their money back, and rightly so. Payments came in, payments were withdrawn. Jim and I tried to pay back as many as we could, promising delivery to those willing to wait.

Unfortunately our word was undermined by unforeseen events in our lives. It appeared to the community that we were scoundrels. This has brought us to this juncture. Now, we willfully place ourselves in a light that most are not willing to stand beneath. The judgment of the community.

You are the reason that we can exist at all. This we are quite aware of. We do this work because we are one of you. We are gamers—not unscrupulous individuals planning our next heist. We are just two guys, artists, that had a vision. We implemented that vision and then faced some very awful personal tragedies that we will not discuss here. These hazards are the reason we put forth our apology.

Today we will discuss the crazy uncle, chained in the attic, that no one really likes to talk about. Everyone metaphorically has someone or something in their lives that brings this shame. It can come in many guises and try as we might, hiding it away only creates larger and larger problems for the individual. So, today, since we have time, this will be the second point of our entry.

ZUZZY Miniatures is struggling. Yes, there it is. The truth and our shame—Kevin and Jim are exhausted.

Your responses may be as follows: Who cares! I ordered my stuff 10 months ago and I still don't have it. You took my money 10 months ago and I still have nothing! My son's birthday is tomorrow—I ordered this two weeks ago and I expect this on my son”s birthday table! My store ordered seventy mats from you two weeks ago and my customers want their mats! I am spamming your email every two minutes until you answer why my mat is not sitting on my front door! I ordered a month ago it's not here and I expect your answer immediately! All of these complaints are valid.

Your demand for this product has outstripped our ability to produce it on a timely basis.

The logical response to this is: Well, you should be so lucky! Who bemoans or complains about such a boon?

So, before I continue, let me say this: In our seven year history, we have never taken someone's money and willfully not supplied them with the product they purchased. Our crime is that the customer had to wait until we could produce it for them.

Yes, let me be clear. The customer had to wait until we could produce the product for them.

In the early days, we had a surplus of every item. But as time went on, our surplus was depleted. And today, there is no vast warehouse where our mats and resin pieces reside, waiting to be hand-picked off the shelves for our faithful customers. Like many small businesses, we have become a product on demand operation. This is due to four factors: demand, space, time, and human labor. And this has been our crime—our inability to immediately meet demand. (And today, being unable to answer all of your inquiries.) In our wildest dreams we never knew how much of an impact our product would have on the gaming community. Up until now it's been a powerful, wonderful experience, and we love you all for it.

But today everything must change. Our gaming family needs to understand what we require from you as a customer, so no more injury can be incurred by either party. You or us. Success can be a tenuous thing, but success laced with practicality makes for a stable foundation. We need your help in order for us both to thrive. What we require is simple. We truly know what you require from us—a wonderful product delivered to your door when you need it. In the latter we have failed and this is where we need your help. We require your patience and understanding, and most of all your forgiveness. We truly do want you to have the best experience from ordering our product, after all, it's what benefits us both.

And here is where we come clean: At this juncture, if you order our product, you must understand that we can not provide it within a few days. This has become an impossibility.

Our policy is 4 to 12 weeks. This already translates to as long as three months wait time. We've always been straight forward about this. And in the past we've been able to meet that proviso with a few bumps along the way. But today, right now, things have become more difficult for us, and as many of you know, to our chagrin, you are having to wait longer. We are sorry for this, and as always trying to work on this problem and solve it forever. But like anything worth waiting for this too will take time.

Our promise to you: We will fill your order. At this time, you will have to wait longer—perhaps a few days over the proviso, perhaps a few weeks, perhaps a few months. If you can not wait please do not order. When a time arrives when we can fill your orders faster, we will let you know this, by expressing this on our media outlets. Until that time, understand that you will have to wait. We have no choice in this matter.

For those that can not wait and have moved on, you require your money back. We also promise that we will return it to you. We want you to be happy. But because of our current situation, this will also take some time. If you feel you must bring legal action against us, that is your choice. You have every right to that action. We want you to be happy. You are the community that made us.

Now again what we ask of you: Patience, and understanding, for this condition we find ourselves in. Please do not order and then pull your money back out. You can not imagine how much damage this causes. Only order if you love the product and can wait for it. Please.

Again, what we can promise at this time:

  1. To continue producing ZUZZY mats and accessories.
  2. To solve our production problems as quickly as possible.
  3. To notify you weekly on our media outlets where we are in our production schedule. (This will include regular updates on Facebook and our other websites.)
  4. To do our utmost to get those who have already made purchases their product. And resolve any outstanding charge backs by disgruntled customers.
  5. To usher in a new era for ZUZZY and its valued customers.

We fully understand the commitment you have made by entering into a purchase contract with us. Your money has been hard earned and you've chosen us as part of the joy you receive from your free-time and entertainments. You have earned this and you have earned the best possible experience for your labors. And this is why we want you to enter this fully knowing our commitment, what we can do and what we can not do. So you can make your purchases from us in an informed manner.

It has been a joy being a part of the gaming community and being allowed to participate in its ever growing expansion. We hope to be able to participate for years to come, and appreciate greatly all you have done as a community by welcoming ZUZZY within it.

Best Regards Always!
Kevin and Jim

Saturday, June 14, 2014

DM Kaydon's Castle

DM Kaydon over on YouTube, as well as being a close friend of ours, is an avid roleplaying game terrain builder. And he now has his own YouTube channel. be sure to check out his videos. Link and one of his videos below.

DM Kaydon's Castle

Monday, December 16, 2013

Broken Blacktop Painting Tutorial at Studio Hobby Thumbs

Ross Oancea (AKA CubanNecktie) over at Studio Hobby Thumbs has just let me know about a tutorial he's put up on his blog on painting up a ZUZZY Broken Blacktop gaming mat.
Great tutorial, with lots of photos. Well done.

It's a new blog, but it already has quite a few posts.  Lots of conversions. Currently all Warhammer 40k stuff. Definitely worth checking out.

We've also added a link to it on our tutorials page, where you can find links to more tutorials as well.

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