We did our best to try to set up a centralized distribution which would allow us to stick to the first-in-first-out principle that we initially intended to follow. Originally that was planned to be our US distribution center, but in May, as we did our first test shipments globally to understand what that looks like, it became clear that that will not be an option for a few important reasons.
Despite being promised otherwise by our global shipping partner, we were unable to reliably cover the import duties, VAT and other costs associated with importing to different global regions. This means that many of you would incur extra costs and have a hassle importing your Bird Buddy through customs, which is something we wanted to avoid. The partner responsible for global shipping also changed its pricing to later be based on volume and not weight, which made shipping prohibitively expensive.
Either of these things were impossible to overcome using the existing solution so we went in search for an alternative. With the size of the project and the amount of units that require shipping, this is not a trivial process. We finally had some luck in that our US 3PL (an entity different from the global shipping provider) was opening facilities in Europe so we ultimately decided to go with them. In the month of August, at the time this was decided, we started the process of obtaining all the required documentation to be able to import to Europe directly from China. As you can imagine, this is a lengthy process, and importantly, was out of our hands once we submitted the necessary information.
According to what we have now been told, this process should conclude either this or next week. While we did provide some information about this process in our past few updates, the unfortunate reality is that we are essentially subject to administrative bureaucratic processes that take time and the resolution time of which is unpredictable. It is for this reason that projecting time frames and providing a detailed timeline is incredibly difficult, especially since we do not want to repeat the mistake of sharing partial and unconfirmed information.
We’re in a similar process for Australia and New Zealand. We’re waiting for paperwork to complete before we can import units and this too should resolve in the next few weeks. Shipping times to Australia and New Zealand are much shorter and the volumes are smaller so our expectation is to be able to start fulfillment in November there as well.
We have options to get first batches to Europe in under a month and we’ll do our best to expedite that as much as we can. We have already booked a shipment for the units bound for Europe, in anticipation of the paperwork being approved by the time they arrive there in November. In light of this, we will soon be sending you an email to double-check your address with us, if you haven’t done so already.
With all of that said, we are very sorry for not being able to do better on this. We started shipping to the US from China months ago, while we were still expecting to do all fulfillments from there, we have a lot of inventory there that is costing a lot in storage fees if we don’t ship it out. While it’s incredibly unfortunate that this created an unfair position for those that supported us first but are outside US/Canada, it also didn’t seem reasonable to us to hold back shipping in that region just to maintain that order, delay shipping for everyone, and incur significant cost while doing so.
We’re still a startup, and building hardware is expensive, so we have to navigate these situations with cost in mind as well. We fully appreciate that this is a tough pill to swallow and a lot to ask of you after a year of delays but we are not far off from shipping to all regions. We’ll keep you posted on this as we learn more.
Thank you all for your patience and ongoing support.