Our 5 Year Mission - Celebrating the end of an incredible journey
Dearest Star Trek Family,
It is with great sadness, but also with great pride in all that we have accomplished, that I share our difficult decision not to renew our Star Trek™ license with Paramount. Our contract expires at the end of this December (2022). Based on the terms of our agreement, we can--and will--continue to sell Tribbles through the end of March 2023, in what is known as a sell-off period.
We have been in conversation with Paramount regarding the app. I can happily announce, after receiving word yesterday, that Paramount agrees that the app needs to continue to be available to our fans and customers. We are working with them to finalize a maintenance agreement. Our primary concern right now is taking care of the customers who have supported this by fans, for fans enterprise (see what I did there?).
Ours has been an incredible 5 year mission. We took the first prototype, one that we built from electronics components and a microcontroller in our living room, to a toy manufacturing consultant in 2017. They put us in touch with a manufacturer and advised us to contact companies with existing Star Trek™ licenses about partnering to produce the Tribbles. Through another licensee, we landed a meeting in 2018 with the Star Trek™ licensing director, to whom we are eternally grateful. She saw something in our Tribbles. When the other licensee decided not to pursue the Tribbles, CBS awarded the license to us. We, Jay and Kayleigha, somehow managed to get a Star Trek™ license.
We founded Science Division in 2019 and we've been making, and surviving, trouble ever since. Our first Tribbles arrived at the start of a global pandemic, halting our plans to bring Tribbles to fans directly via in-person conventions. We shifted to an all-online business model. When we saw that folks needed places to gather virtually, we organized two online conventions, the CONnected Community Con and the Vendors' Haul.
So many things came out of those conventions that we never imagined possible. We interviewed Star Trek™ stars (Alexander Siddig and Armin Shimerman and Kitty Swink!), discussed Tribble biology with Dr. Mohamed Noor (a real-life science consultant for Star Trek!), and forged virtual friendships which have only grown stronger as we have had the opportunity to meet many of you in person upon returning to in-person events. We also made some really funny videos with Tribbles guarding pizza boxes. We still can't believe that we, just a couple of fans, had all those opportunities.
We've weathered delayed shipments, shipping cost increases, and two massive mergers. We've managed to sell fluff balls online from a tiny website no one had ever heard of. Most importantly, we've met people who will be our friends for the rest of our lives.
We do not make this decision lightly. We are a tiny business in a tumultuous economy. Production, import, and shipping costs have risen. After the CBS merger, first with Viacom and then with Paramount, licensing costs have also increased--although the folks at Paramount indicated that they were willing to make some concessions due to our small size. The bottom line is that Tribbles are about to become much more expensive to produce. We are not comfortable passing that cost on to our customers.
Science Division has never been about making money. It's been about sharing the Tribbles that we made with others in the fan community. We have done our best to keep our prices as low as possible, while providing the highest quality Tribbles and ensuring that the app remains available and functional for free. Every single Tribble that any of you has ever received, Jay and I unpacked, inspected, hand-combed to make sure that no fur was stuck in seams, blow dried, then carefully re-packed prior to shipment. We have poured our hearts and souls into these Tribbles.
Time is another factor. All that unpacking, combing, and re-packing takes a lot of energy. It has been our great privilege to do that work for the three years since our first shipment arrived in early 2020. Jay and I have done all of that while maintaining our full-time jobs. We've had an amazing time fulfilling orders, attending conventions, and entertaining you all with original Tribble content on social media. It's been rewarding and exhausting work.
This is not a failure. This is a conclusion on our terms to a fan story that we never imagined would be possible. We are so proud of what we have accomplished. When we released the original tan Tribbles, we had no idea that they would be successful enough to allow us to extend our license to create a second color. We are humbled by the positive reception both the tan and silver Tribbles received. You are all amazing and we love you.
Thank you for being part of this journey. We couldn't have done it without you.