What Happened to the Majors Deck:
We have had to discontinue production of our Majors only deck, instead offering all who previously ordered this in Kickstarter and our shop a voucher to receive the full deck completely for free when it’s released.
We are deeply saddened and disappointed in the printing and distribution company, especially since this project is something so dear to our hearts. We hope that, by sharing what happened with perfect transparency, it will allow all you wonderful members of our Barkana family to stick by our side despite this setback.
Here is what happened that, eventually, led to the inability to fulfill the printing of the Majors only deck. We will, around late 2020, be printing the full deck (this project is not over, by any means!).
Early December, 2018:
All official art files were compiled and finished and sent to the printer for the first prototype. Prototype came back with off center backs and in need of some color adjustments, and on a thinner stock than ordered.
We made the color adjustments and the printer confirmed that the final decks will be printed on their highest quality (16pt) paper stock. They also stated that they will do a second prototype run, with our new color adjusted file, on their better machine to stop the “bounce” causing the off center card backs.
Late December, 2018:
New prototypes arrived and the backs were centered (yay!). Colors looked great too. The stock was still thin, so we confirmed again that the full 500 deck print run would be on the correct stock. After getting this confirmation, we gave the okay for the full print run to begin. We were told this would take 10 days.
After not hearing anything from the printer, we checked in again that they had started the full production. They said they had not seen our email (which was in the same thread as earlier) to start it, so we confirmed again that we would like the 500 decks printed.
Then they started it, although it took 18 days to complete, rather than the promised 10. This set us into early February, behind our schedule. Given that these things can’t always be predicted, we were clear with our community and knew it was a relatively minor delay.
We sent the spreadsheets for shipping over to the printer/distribution company, clearly stating all the art prints and service dog fact cards to be sent with all orders. This had been confirmed three times prior, as well.
Early Bird Kickstarter backers soon received their decks, most people reporting large errors on their decks. No one had received the service dog fact cards or the art prints they had ordered (which we had clarified with the company that they would send with all orders).
The decks had these errors:
All were printed on the thinner stock, not the high quality we had confirmed three times at this point.
Corners were improperly cut with paper tabs or rough edges
The Devil card was replaced (due to them printing from an old file that wasn’t properly sized) and this was cut differently to the other cards in the deck, making it clear which one it was.
Some people reported numbers on the cards being cut off, despite confirmation from the printer these were properly in the safe area that would not be trimmed (and that they were fine in the approved prototype)
The backs of the cards were off center, despite this also being resolved in the approved prototype
Late February, 2019:
We gathered pictures and details about all these errors and sent them to the printer. The printer/distributor acknowledged they had printed on the wrong stock and completely forgot to send the art prints and fact cards.
The solution we decided on was an entire new print run for free, with double acknowledgement that the backs would be centered and it would be on the correct stock, with no numbers cut off or rough edges. This would be shipped directly to us, rather than re-distributed by them.
They also provided the art prints and envelopes for them, so we could hand check every deck and package them with the materials. We didn’t feel comfortable leaving it to chance that an Early Bird backer could receive another mistake deck if we didn’t personally check and ship each one.
The new print run commenced, along with the on demand art prints.
We received the art prints in the mail and all looked good. We started packaging these while waiting for the decks to arrive and be checked.
We then received the decks the next day and opened each one throughout the next two days, checking for quality. Unfortunately, this round still had huge errors. We had accounted for a few misprints (~2% having errors), since that is normal for even great print runs, but assumed the large majority would be of quality.
All decks were still printed on the wrong (thinner) paper stock, even after confirming this 5 times at this point. Only 9% of the decks we received were remotely acceptable (small enough errors that, although we wouldn’t send them to backers in a perfect batch, they were of decent quality in comparison to the rest).
Here is the breakdown of the decks and their errors:
Off center backs only: 34 (smallest error measures at 3mm on one side to 5mm on the other side)
Mistakes on card fronts only: 4 (includes cut off numbers, the illustration not printed properly despite all prototypes and the previous print run never having this issue)
Poorly cut only: 4 (Includes decks with one corner not rounded, paper tabs on edge instead of smooth shaving/cutting of rounded corners)
Poorly cut and off center: 7
Poorly cut, off center, and mistakes on front: 5
Off center and mistakes on front: 50
(We received 115 decks, not all 500, since we just wanted to re-ship to the Early Bird backers)
After receiving these, it is clear that this company cannot provide a deck of suitable quality and has breached our contract many times. We are currently pursuing a full refund and, although we do not have the means to refund all our backers/shop orders, we will be offering a free full deck ($60-70 value) when that is printed around late 2020 (please note this is an estimated date).
If you have ordered a deck, via Kickstarter or our shop, and did not receive an email by March 30th, 2019, detailing our offering to make amends, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the sake of transparency regarding why we cannot provide refunds to our Kickstarter backers, here is the breakdown of our financial loss due to these issues with our printer:
$1750: Cost of the actual printing (will likely be refunded)
$3000: Cost of labor
$350: Customer satisfaction related costs (offerings in place of the decks, like free art prints)
$100: Additional shipping costs
$2250: Estimated (based on projected income) loss of revenue from selling decks post-production
$1440: Estimation of offering full 78-card decks to all customers (calculated by taking the difference between that full deck’s predicted cost and what the cost per deck of the Majors was)
Total financial loss: $8890
Some people have generously offered to help us recoup our financial hit—and if you would like to do this, we would absolutely love if you purchased an art print or piece of original art from our shop here.
(There is absolutely no pressure to do this, but we wanted to add on a note on this since we have had several people ask!)
We would prefer not the publicly share the name of the company we have been working with, but if you are a deck creator and would like to ensure you don’t have the same experience, feel free to email us to inquire about the company.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this. We truly appreciate all kindness and understanding and hope you feel we have done everything we can to amend this situation. We love you all and hope that you stay with us, even through this major setback!
With so much love,
Arien & Bael