Free shipping for U.S. orders over $200 Free shipping for U.S. orders over $200

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Shipping
Customs and their willy-nilly rules
Trouble with my order
Special requests
About porcelain
About BADbandanas
About apparel
About silk
About shower curtains
About Skedaddleosaurus bags
About puzzles
About prints
About the team
Hey, Don
Contacting us
Unpredictable future

  

Shipping

Why are your shipping rates so high? It’s the weight and dimensions. Porcelain is heavy, so it is shockingly expensive to ship. But for a treasured heirloom that may last generations, perhaps you can justify the expense.

Most of the other products are lighter and ship at a reasonable price. You will usually find that you have shipping choices when you order, so you can pick the shipping method that suits you best.

Here's an idea that might work for you, though. You could try creating two orders to see if that reduces the shipping cost. Many of our porcelain products, and some of our print products, ship in their own boxes, which makes them less expensive to ship because they don't have to go in an outer box. But when you have multiple products in your order, then everything has to go in one big box, and those big boxes can sometimes drive up the shipping cost. So try splitting your order in two to see if that helps.

Why do you only ship to the United States and Canada? It's super complicated. We wrote a blog about this mess. You can read about it here.

Sometimes shipping to Canada costs more than the product itself. How can I afford to buy your cool stuff? Maybe it's time to move? We haven’t been able to find any practical way to make the costs of Canadian shipping disappear. Heavy objects shipped long distances and over borders is costly.

What is Route Package Protection? We offer Route Package Protection on all orders. It adds a little to the total cost but ensures that you’ll get easy replacement or a refund if the courier bungles their assignment. Shipping insurance like this is ideal for people who live in neighborhoods surrounded by package rustlers, have had bad luck with delicate shipments, or are pessimists about the trustworthiness of courier services.

Route is turned on by default, but you can turn it off. But if you choose to skip package protection, Calamityware will not refund or replace stuff that is lost or damaged during the journey to your house.

Route Package Protection gives you tracking tools. If you think your order is lost, stolen, or damaged in shipment, they have tools to make filing a claim easy. You can get the full story of how to use Route here.

If I ordered something for "overnight delivery", will I get it tomorrow? Depends. Orders that are received before noon on a business day usually go out the same day. If your order is received after noon or on the weekend, it won't ship until the next business day, so you won't get it tomorrow even if you chose overnight delivery. But once we hand it to the couriers, anything can happen, and the timing of your delivery is out of our control.

What service do you use to ship your products? You will usually find that you have shipping choices when you order, so you can pick the shipping method that suits you best.

Do you ship 365 days of the year? Good question. No, we do not. If our fulfillment center is on holiday, or the carrier is on holiday, then your order will be delayed either in shipping or delivery. Please see our annual list of holidays that affect shipping and delivery times.

Can I have my order shipped to more than one address? Unfortunately, no. You will need to create a separate order for each address to which you want to ship.

Can I track my order? Yes. Watch your email inbox for a shipping confirmation and tracking number. Don’t just assume the package will show up at your door. Track your package daily to make sure it doesn’t get hung up in the system and returned to us. Shipments have a way of getting stalled, and monitoring the status of the tracking number allows you to intervene promptly. If you didn't receive a tracking number, check your Spam or Promotions folder. If you still can't find the tracking information, email robot@calamityware.com.

What if you shipped me the wrong thing? We're all fallible human beings, right? Accept our apology, and alert us right away at robot@calamityware.com. Send pictures of what you received and provide your order number so we can research the mistake for you, and send you the correct item.

Do you have a Shipping Policy? Yes. Visit here to read the boring stuff.

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Customs and their willy-nilly rules

Will there be customs fees on Canadian orders? Who knows? We have no way of predicting if they’ll apply to your shipment. Customs inspections are very arbitrary and willy-nilly. Some packages sail through without any duty, but many are selected by chance and the recipient gets hit with a duty fee.

Do you cover the customs fees for my Canadian shipment? Unfortunately, no. Sometimes, packages slide through with no customs fees applied, so you’d be paying for an expense that never materialized. However, we do offer a shipping method, “Canada Duties Paid”, where you can choose to pay up front for duties.

Can you mark my international shipment as a "gift" so I don't have to pay customs on it? The platform at our fulfillment warehouse doesn't allow us to mark something as a "gift." Besides, Mom wouldn’t approve of doing this—it is unethical and illegal. Shipments are cleared through customs based on where the package is coming from, the item category, and the value—not its purpose. For centuries, countries have used customs fees to fund government enterprises. So if you're not happy with customs fees, you need to take it up with your government.

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Trouble with my order

Where's my *$#&%! stuff? See the note above about tracking numbers. Also, you can try checking with the courier. Make sure the address was correct on your order. And if you purchased Route Package Protection with your order, visit the tracking link in the email they sent you when you placed your order.

After I opened my order, I realized that my product arrived damaged. What should I do? If you added Route Package Protection to your order, click here to file a claim as soon as possible. Route will want to see photos of the damaged item and packaging. If you didn't purchase Route Package Protection, Calamityware is unable to replace your damaged item for you. See our Route policy for more information.

When the mail carrier delivered my package, I could tell it was damaged, so I refused the delivery. What should I do now? Go back in time and don't do that again. Instead, accept the delivery, take a photo of the damaged product, and file a claim with Route if you added package protection to your order (see preceding question).

I never received my order, so I just reported it to my credit card company. Was that the right thing to do? Not really. We wish you’d send an email to robot@calamityware.com and explain that you think a shipment is missing. If you purchased Route Package Protection, you should file a claim with them.

The tracking number says my order was delivered, but I never received it. What should I do? Most of the time, your kind neighbor accepted the package while you weren't home, and has completely forgotten to tell you. They probably have it. Send out a search party and scour the neighborhood. If the tracking number says it was delivered, it probably was delivered. Also, check your order confirmation. Did you enter your address correctly?

If no one seems to have your package, and you're certain you entered your address correctly, it's time to contact Route (provided you added this service to your order). File a claim with them here. If you didn't add Route Package Protection to your order, Calamityware is unable to replace your missing item for you. See our Route policy for more information.

What should I do if I realized I entered my address incorrectly? Please contact us immediately at robot@calamityware.com and provide us with the correct address. If you tell us pronto, we might be able to fix the error before the package ships. If your order has already shipped, we are sorry, but we will not be able to change it for you.

What happens if I entered an incorrect address and my order has already shipped? If you provide an incorrect address and your package is returned to us, we will refund your order for the cost of the product. You can then reorder to the correct address. If your package is re-routed during shipping due to an incorrect address and the shipper applies a fee, you may be responsible for this extra cost.

If you provide an incorrect address and your package doesn’t find its way back to us, we cannot reship your order. You will have to place that order again to the corrected address. In this case, if your order is eventually returned to us in good condition, we will refund you for the cost of the product.

I'm having trouble placing my order on your website. Can you help me troubleshoot this problem? If you articulate your problem in an email and send it to robot@calamityware.com, we can forward your issue off to the appropriate troubleshooter. Also, you could try some basic troubleshooting on your own. Refresh your browser. Clear your cookies. Try to order from a different device.

Why does the blue of the porcelain I received look different than what I saw on your website? Color matching through a computer screen is very tricky, especially if you’re particular about what you’re trying to match. In general, monitors and screens all display colors in their own way, and there are so many variables that will make a color look lighter or darker than what you see in person. This fact makes it very hard to convey exact color through a photograph viewed on a computer or mobile device. Unfortunately, we can’t control all of the variables that affect what you see through your computer. If you're unhappy with what you received, email robot@calamityware.com and arrange for a return.

Can I return my order and get a refund? Yes, within 30 days of receipt of purchase. Email robot@calamityware.com. Read our Return Policy for more details, including what happens when you want to return part of a discounted bundle. This also means that, in addition to telling us you'd like to return your order within 30 days of receipt, you must also ship the item back within that 30-day window.

To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it. For apparel, it must also be unwashed. The return must be in the original packaging with all original marketing materials.

What's your privacy policy? The short answer is that we don’t share your details with anyone, anywhere, for any reason. You can read the details in our privacy statement that is visible during checkout.

How do I use my digital gift card? You will receive an email with the digital gift card. You can then forward this email to the gift card recipient for them to use. You will enter the magical gift card code during checkout.

How do I activate my physical gift card? Email robot@calamityware.com with the following information: gift recipient's name, super secret code on the back of the gift card, and sender's name.

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Special requests

Can I get a discount code? No, we don't have any discount codes available. There are websites out there that claim to have them, but the codes they offer aren't real. Don't fall victim to their scheme. 

Can I get a discount on my order? For bargain-obsessed shoppers, we offer pre-defined bundles of certain products including dinner sets, dinner plate combos, and playing cards. Sometimes, we have a promotion where you will receive a free gift or free shipping with your purchase of a certain amount. But if you're looking for a "blue-light special" sale, you won't find that here.

Can you gift wrap my order? We wish that was practical, but it isn’t. Our fulfillment partner (Fulfillrite) is fast and accurate, but our colleagues don’t have the skills to gift wrap to the high-quality standards you would want and add a gracious bow. So, for now, you’ll have to do your own wrapping. Sorry.

This order is a gift for my friend. Can you make sure that the price isn't listed anywhere in the box?  You’re safe. Nothing in or on the box is going to reveal the cost. So you are free to exaggerate the expense if you think that will impress your friends. EXCEPTION: International orders will have a customs declaration attached to the box, which will list a customs value that will be similar to what you paid for the product.

Can I add a gift message to my order? Yes, you can add a message to your order, up to 400-characters, that will appear on an insert in the package.

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About porcelain

What's the difference between porcelain and stoneware? Most of the Calamityware pieces are porcelain, except for canisters and cookie jars, which are stoneware. Porcelain and stoneware are almost the same material, both made from clay, fired at extremely high temperatures, fully vitrified, and water tight. Stoneware is a heavier material, and more opaque. More important, in the kiln, stoneware doesn’t shrink as much as porcelain so it’s a good choice for square shapes and shapes with tight-fitting lids. Like our porcelain, the cookie jar and canisters are food safe and dishwasher safe and contain no dangerous levels of lead or cadmium in the glazes. The workshop that makes the cookie jars and canisters is highly regarded and supplies high-end retailers like Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn.

How are the plates made? Don made a simple visual explanation of the plate production process. You can see and download the pdf here

How can I keep my plates in pristine condition? Caring for porcelain is easy. How much pampering you give your porcelain should depend on how long you want it to last. Don wrote a blog post that offers practical advice about living with porcelain. Read it and follow the advice if you want to keep your porcelain pristine.

What's the history of blue-willow porcelain? It started when Muslim traders introduced cobalt glazes into China, and Chinese potters started producing plates with blue, hand-painted scenes. When Europe started trading with China, this blue and white porcelain added ballast to ships filled with silk and tea. It was a hit with Europe’s elite and eventually almost everyone.

By the mid-1700s Europeans finally figured out how to make porcelain to challenge the Chinese product. Perfecting the technique of transferring images printed in glazes onto blank porcelain became an Industrial Revolution success story. By 1800, there were more than 200 potters making willow-pattern wares in England. Potters in Ireland, Scotland, Holland, France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Japan, and the United States jumped into blue-willow production too.

While designs varied, the favorites included a vaguely Asian scene with many of the same elements showing up again and again—pagoda, bridge, boat, willow tree, fence, doves, and exotic shrubbery. Usually in blue and white. 

While for 250 years the popularity of blue-willow has gone up and down, it has never gone away. Any design theme that ubiquitous is bound to be revisited over and over. Don's Calamityware designs are another homage to a robust classic.

What's the difference between in-glaze and on-glaze? Early on, Calamityware plates were produced using the on-glaze technique which means that the blue image sits on top and is permanently fused to the clear glaze of the plate. Those plates are now rare collectibles that are no longer available. Since early 2016, all the Calamityware porcelain items, including the reprints of the first four plates, are produced using the in-glaze technique. That means that the items are fired at a much higher temperature to allow the blue image to melt slightly into the surface of the clear glaze. This is the look of the classic porcelain items you see in museums.

What can you tell us about where the porcelain is produced? Most of the Calamityware porcelain is produced at the Kristoff workshop in Poland. They’ve been refining their techniques for more than 150 years. Kristoff is one of Europe’s largest porcelain producers and ships to customers all over the world. Kristoff is a perfect mix of old-world craftsmanship and modern technology, including new state-of-the-art isostatic presses that moosh clay into molds with impressive consistency. 

Some items are made in the Czech Republic, Thailand, and China at workshops that are specialists at shapes that are unavailable from Kristoff. These other workshops also meet our high standards for quality, craftsmanship, and consistency. This is the good stuff.

Check the product page to find out where each item was made.

Is Calamityware designed to be matchy-matchy?  No. The designs of the plate borders and central image of each Calamityware plate are different. If you appreciate the notion of “eclectic,” you’ll be delighted. But if you are a perfectionist about matching, you should order enough of your favorite Calamityware plate all at one time so all your guests have the same design.

The color may also vary slightly. That's because the items are made in different workshops at different times using vitreous glazes that vary because of temperature, time, and humidity. We like this naturally occurring feature that makes every piece unique.

The blue will likely not match your recollection of your grandmother's Blue-Willow plates, either. That's because Grandma's plates could have been made by any number of Blue-Willow porcelain makers over the last 400 years. But it all looks good under meatloaf.

Does the porcelain contain bone ash? No. These plates are just minerals—feldspar, kaolin, quartz. Combined in the right amounts and fired at high temperature, they turn into a sturdy, white porcelain. Did we mention this is the good stuff?

Do I need to worry about heavy metals? (Prop 65) No. These glazes are specially formulated to be free of cadmium, lead, and other potential troublemakers. The workshops that make stuff for us use lead-free clay and glazes, their pigments are lead free, and everything is fired at very high in-glaze temperatures as an extra precaution.

Could an XRF gun reveal lead? Doubtful. But lead is a naturally occurring mineral so some low levels could show up if you blast your plate with a X-ray fluorescence gadget. It would depend upon the calibration and sensitivity of your gun. Industry standards consider lead free to be less than 100 parts per million which is a level so small that it’s difficult to detect. We meet these levels. But if you are a fanatic and want zero parts per million, you might be disappointed. That’s because lead and cadmium are everywhere on our planet and trace contamination from air and water is inescapable.

What if I want to hang my Calamityware plates? Hanging Calamityware is an excellent way to enhance your domicile. Don uses invisible plate hangers that glue to the back of the plate and can be removed later by soaking. These big yellow stickers are completely invisible behind the plate. He uses the 100mm size. You could probably build your own with duct tape if you prefer DIY.

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About BADbandanas

Where do you have your bandanas made? All the BADbandanas are produced at Carolina Manufacturing in South Carolina, U.S.A. We use them because they have a duplex printing process that prints dye onto both sides of the fabric simultaneously. The result is a very rich color image that will last. This is the process used to produce the traditional bandanas Don grew up with.

We hate the inferior silk-screen process that produces bandanas that are printed on one side only with color soaking through to the opposite side and leaving a milky-looking side. Plus, silk-screened bandanas are ridiculously stiff.

Why three BADbandanas in a package? We have a strong belief that three is a good number for bandanas. One BADbandana to use. One BADbandana to give to a friend. And one BADbandana to frame or stash for your daughter’s trousseau.
 
 
 

Will the color bleed? Bleeding hasn’t been a problem in the laundry at Don's house. Colorfast dyes are used. But to be safe, he always washes new bandanas in with dark clothes the first time. Just in case. So far, he's had no problems.

How should I launder my BADbandanas? We recommend laundering products in cold water (with cold water detergent), with like colors and line drying. Whatever you do, do not bleach. And don't commercial launder. Be careful with the red ones, as some surface ink may wash off. And note that some shrinkage may occur.

My bandanas are stiff. Will they get softer? After multiple washes, your bandanas should start to soften up. But they will never be like the material of your favorite t-shirt or feel like your kitten's belly.

 

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About apparel

Are your t-shirts any good? There are three tricks to making great t-shirts. Use the right cotton. Accommodate cotton’s natural tendencies. Cut out the pieces and sew them together with precision. All the Calamityware shirts and hoodies are manufactured by Bella+Canvas, based in Los Angeles, because they know how to make great shirts—soft, consistent, and long lasting.

Cotton is a natural fiber that grows in a field, not in a laboratory. So, before making thread, it is smart to comb out all the impurities that occur naturally in the great outdoors. At the same time, Bella+Canvas eliminates a lot of the short fibers leaving the long fibers that make superior cotton textiles. These clean-up steps reduce the yield of fabric from a field of cotton, but are the key to making soft, durable textiles.

Will my t-shirt shrink? Twisting cotton fibers into thread tends to stretch the fibers. That’s why all cotton textiles will shrink somewhat when you launder them and run them through your dryer. To reduce shrinking, Bella+Canvas adds some heating and fluffing steps to coax the fibers back toward their original shape before cutting the fabric and turning it into garments. Bella+Canvas shirts may still shrink up to 5 percent. So, if you want to avoid a snug fit, order one size larger to keep things loose.

To enhance performance, some of our shirt designs (heathers and sweatshirts) use a blend of cotton and polyester. You’ll see the blend proportions described on the product page.

At Bella+Canvas, robots, not fallible human beings, cut out the pieces that are assembled to make the shirts. That precision means there is remarkable consistency and no need for fudging to sew the pieces together. So, your shirt will probably continue to look good on you long after you grow tired of the weird design.

How should I launder my shirt? Take off the shirt. Turn it inside out. Machine wash in warm water with garments of similar color. Use only non-chlorine bleach, if needed. Tumble dry low. If you plan to wear it to a job interview or wedding, iron on medium setting. Avoid ironing the graphics. Do not dry clean. Use the money you save for a giant coffee.

How are the designs printed? We use the experts at Commonwealth Press in Pittsburgh, PA, to screen print our shirts and hoodies. There are many different ways to print designs on a t-shirt. Discharge printing is our favorite and the technique we choose for most of our shirts. The result is super soft because there is no obnoxious build-up of pigments on the surface. Since discharge is a dye, not an ink, your design will fade some from normal washing. We think this effect is charming, and we prefer the softer feel of the design.

We try to avoid making shirts where the image is stiff and rubbery. That happens with plastisol pigments that are thick, opaque, and ooblecky. The only excuse to go that way is when a design has no big, solid areas of color and the fabric can’t accommodate discharge printing.

Why do I see a subtle hint of a square on my t-shirt? Sometimes when you receive your shirt, you might notice a rectangular shape surrounding the design. This “ghost" is where the squeegee presses down on the shirt during the screen printing process. It will disappear and fluff back to normal as soon as you wash the garment. Magic. 

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About silk

What’s the story about silk? Silk is the most luxurious natural fiber with a long history. It appears that silk has been in production in China for 5000 years. In addition to the glorious, smooth finish, silk has a wonderful affinity for color dyes. So printing on silk is a delight. Our scarves are a light silk habotai. A smooth weave originally developed for kimonos and now used for scarves and lingerie. The pocket squares and neckties are a heavier silk twill with a fine woven surface texture. The edges of the scarves and pocket squares are hand hemmed like the goods you find in the finest shops.

How should I care for silk? You can find lots of information about silk care online, including ways to wash it at home instead of sending it to the dry cleaner.  

With a little care, your silk can last a very long time. Here are some things to avoid. Don’t spray your silk with perfume, deodorant, or hair treatments. Never bleach silk. Don’t store your silk where it is exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. Minimize exposure to water and don’t wring silks dry. Never torture your silks in the dryer.

How do you produce your scarves, neckties, and pocket squares? Our silks are digitally printed in China where silk originated.

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About shower curtains

Caring for polyester. Wash polyester separately in cool or warm water using a gentle machine cycle. Hang it up to dry. Don’t bleach. Don’t dry clean. Don’t iron, since high temperatures may result in color transfer and melting of fabric. Ouch! You can extend the life of all fabric shower curtains by using a shower curtain liner which also allows the sea monsters to hang outside your tub.

Is a curtain liner required? We recommend a liner since that extends the life of any shower curtain and it allows the sea monsters to hang outside the bath tub while the liner stays inside. The polyester isn't waterproof so you can't use it to make a wading pool. But someone who hates liners could get away with just this curtain.

Why didn’t you choose metal grommets? We like these simple button holes better. They are so simple and clean. Plus they make it easier for someone to adapt the shower curtain for use as a table cloth, beach blanket, or the foundation of an impressive Halloween costume.

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About Skedaddleosarus bags

Where are the Skedaddleosaurus bags made? Both the tote and duffel bags are made at Bella’s textile workshop in China. They print the cotton fabric with our crazy patterns and quilt the material. Then Bella’s team assembles the bags and adds pockets, zippers, and straps. 

How should I clean my Skedaddleosaurus bags? These bags are machine washable. First, remove your stuff and the bottom stiffener. Then, machine wash in cold water on gentle cycle with mild detergent. Dry flat. Do not bleach. Do not iron. Then put the stiffener and your stuff back in.

Can I buy a bolt of fabric with the Skedaddleosaurus patterns to make my own ball gown or suits for my minions? We offer several of our nutty patterns, including this one, through Spoonflower. They will offer a wide range of different textiles and wallpapers with our patterns. This is the way to go if you want Calamityware patterns for your own projects.

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About puzzles

Who makes your puzzles? All our puzzles are now produced at Sarah's XZY puzzle workshop in China. (We know XZY sounds like a made-up name, but it’s real.) Sarah’s team prints our image and adds a matte varnish to the sheet before mounting it to specially made, heavy-weight puzzle board (to prevent delaminating and reduce paper dust). Then custom-made brass dies cut the board into 1,000 pieces. Next those pieces slide down the chute into a plastic bag. Then the bag is sealed and nestled in a robust two-piece box with an image of the finished puzzle on the back side, and a half-size cheat sheet is included in the box.  

What if a puzzle piece is missing? Look under the sofa and on the floor near your chair. It is nearly impossible for a piece to go missing during manufacturing. But experience has shown that it is very easy for a piece to disappear at your house. Please, take another look under the furniture and interrogate your cat before you accuse us of incompetence.

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About prints

Who produces your prints? All Don's letterpress prints have been produced by Bryce Knudson of Bjørn Press in Provo, UT, U.S.A. The prints are on Crane’s Lettra white—an acid-free, 100 percent cotton, 300 gsm sheet produced by the same paper mill that makes paper for U.S. bank notes. 

I was visiting a friend, and he had one of your prints hanging on his wall. I don't see it on your website. How can I get one? When a limited edition letterpress print is gone, it's gone. But sometimes, the print design might inspire another product, like the Sea Monster jamboree shower curtain.

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About the team

How big of a company is Calamityware? How many employees do you have? Ha! Here at world headquarters, there’s just Don, Lynnette, Jack, Brandy, and April. We each have different roles. Basically, Don takes naps and adds to his sketchbooks each day and Lynnette, Jack, and Brandy do all the hard work that Don prefers to avoid. April folds and stuffs things that need to be folded and stuffed.

Don is supposed to design new products and write and illustrate blogs. Without the help he gets from Lynnette, Jack, Brandy, and April, there would be no Calamitywarezip. He would have given up the whole effort long ago. You'll find a mini-biography of Don here.

Lynnette takes care of accounting, taxes, insurance, inventory, importing, vendor management, and a vast amount of tedious paperwork. Lynnette also attends to some customer service issues. Basically, she's the boss.

Jack makes sure the on-line store works so orders go out fast. Jack’s a writer and designer who makes charming marketing materials, emails, packages, inserts, and videos. He also finds manufacturers, prepares production files, and coordinates suppliers, and helps Lynnette and Brandy with customer service issues. So busy!

Brandy brings her own flair to handling customer service conundrums, which includes figuring out how to accommodate the odd requests we get and how to solve the peculiar problems that materialize. It is amazing how many things can go wrong each week. Brandy copes with each exasperating puzzle with an astonishing level of patience and empathy. She babysits our social media channels and helps with a myriad of other tasks. 

April is a hard worker, meticulous, neat, organized, and a great quality control checker for the products she prepares for selling.

Don, Lynnette, Jack, and Brandy had the good fortune to work together for many years at the communications planning and design firm, ThoughtForm Inc. They are vastly more technically savvy than Don, so they fix it when the acrimonium isn’t syncing with the foggywebnet.

Incidentally, Lynnette and Jack are married. When we meet at their house, Lynnette makes the cookies and Jack makes the coffee.

Do you have office hours? Because there are just five of us, we don't have an office, so we don't really have office hours. But in order to maintain a good work-life balance, if you email us after 5 p.m. E.T. Monday through Friday, or anytime Saturday or Sunday, you may not hear from us until the next  business day. But it's likely you'll hear from us sooner.

 

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Hey, Don

How did you get into crowd funding? I use Kickstarter to find support for my designs. It is a perfect tool because it allows me to describe an idea and rally support without making a big up-front investment. If I can’t get enough support for an idea to justify a production run, the project crashes and no one owes anyone anything. 

If you want to do a crowdfunding project, I urge you to...

1. Study and support some projects to understand how they are managed. Pay attention to what you like and don’t like about your experience.

2. Study all the support materials available on the platform you choose. Kickstarter has a lot of great resources.

3. Don’t expect your project to succeed. About half of them don’t hit their funding goals. You can always refine your idea and try again.

4. Crowd-funding is not a charity. Remember, sponsors expect to get rewards for backing you. Big, juicy rewards are best. I think sponsors prefer something rare, new, or unusual. If your project could be the basis for a lunch-table conversation with peers, you’re probably on the right track.

5. Set your goal as low as you can. But be careful. Prepare a detailed budget and make allowances for all the expenses you are going to have. There's no opportunity to ask for more funds once the projects starts.

When did you become an illustrator? I’ve always enjoyed drawing. It was a signifiant part of my professional life as a graphic designer. But I started to get serious about drawing each day in 2008—at the start of the great recession. I needed a mental health activity to stabilize me as the economy tanked. 

What's your favorite thing to draw? I often draw faces, letters, old cars, creatures, objects, and patterns. I love to visit an art museum and draw the objects that I see. A good museum always has some delightful artifacts in a dry, warm, quiet space with decent food nearby. Maybe that’s what heaven will be like?

The drawings I like best make me laugh. I’m still exploring what makes a drawing funny. For me it is still hard work, but gratifying when I succeed. 

If I pay you lavish commissions, will you do a special drawing for me or create a unique piece? No. I’m an old guy and my time is running out. So I need to focus on completing my own bucket list of projects before I’m evicted from the apartment house of life by the burly landlord of fate. 

I've got some great ideas for new products you could design. Are you interested? What curious mind wouldn’t be interested? People often send me emails with their ideas and I enjoy hearing about them. But my bucket list is already dangerously long. So, there’s not much chance I can do anything with your idea for a calamity plate based on your ex or a wading pool that looks like a giant chili bowl. There‘s just not enough time for all the world’s good ideas.

Can you design some t-shirts for my bowling league? No. For 40 years I had a job designing things for clients. I enjoyed some amazingly productive collaborative experiences with a lot of brilliant people. That was enough. 

Maybe your bowling team can find a shirt they like here in the store. Good luck. I hope you make it to the league finals.

Where can I see more of your drawings? Don posts a new drawing of something almost every day on Flickr.  You can also see some of my drawings on Instagram

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Contacting us

How do I sign up for your email list? Easy. Follow this link. Share your email and you’ll be added to the list. Shazzam. You can expect a simple newsletter every week with a few blurbs about what we're thinking, what we're doing, and what Don is making. We won’t share your details with anyone else.

I would like to unsubscribe from your email list. How do I do that? Easy. At the bottom of each email newsletter, there’s an unsubscribe button. 

Can I call you to talk about my order or questions I have about your products? If we were a business juggernaut, we’d probably have a phone. Instead everything seems to happen with email. We like email because we can record what we said when answering a question. 

If you have questions, complaints, or issues with anything, write to robot@calamityware.com. Please be kind.

If your question is about design, inspiration, drawing, or have lavish compliments for Don, write to bigfish@calamityware.com. But please don't bother the big guy with customer service issues. He's not going to be able to help you.

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Unpredictable future

What's next on Don's bucket list? It’s a long list. Part of the fun for Don is that he can decide what to work on and change his mind at any time. Any prediction he gives will probably be wrong. Regardless, each year in late December, we'll post his ideas for new projects for the upcoming year.

How can I see the progress of all the projects that are really in the pipeline? Visit this Coming Soon page to find out when it will be available on the website.

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