Heavy Demand for Voyager Merch?

With the early teaser for the Tom Paris Collectible Plate from Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 2: Episode 3 - We'll Always Have Tom Paris, Star Trek Unlimited has received an outpouring of requests for Voyager merchandise! Historically somewhat ignored by licensors, many of you took to Twitter to express your desire for more. 

Twitter Support for Voyager Merch

We want you to know that we're listening! If there's something specifically you're looking for, we will be setting up a formal product-idea submission process soon! But there are a few things you should know about product-licensing!

Crash Course in Product Licensing

Let's say you have an amazing idea for your favorite fandom. How can it get made? The first thing you need is a manufacturer who is licensed to manufacture that item.

Star Trek Unlimited, specifically its manufacturing entity Ukonic, holds several licenses including Star Trek, but we can't just make whatever we want. There are rules set up when we sign the license which we can't break. 

  1. We can only manufacture what we're allowed to. We have a license to make a lot of things including lights, home decor items, towels, clocks, bathrobes and so on. There are many things we are not allowed to make like pins, t-shirts, action-figures, and so on. Keep in mind if you suggest an item we cannot make, it's not because we just don't want to.
  2. Factories won't manufacture anything unless you make it worth their while. They make their money off of volume. If your idea is great, but we can only sell a few hundred, we might not be able to find a factory that can make it. Often times, if you can find a factory that can make that few of a thing, you'll pay an exorbitant amount for the privilege. We may not make something because the item will be too expensive or we can't justify making enough.
  3. Everything has to be approved. Sometimes an idea is great, but sometimes using an actor's likeness needs to be approved. Sometimes an asset isn't available for use. It happens, but when it does, our hands are tied.
  4. Shipping is expensive! Right now, freight from China is rising explosively! We're seeing prices to move a container from factories in China going up 300% to 400%! When that happens, even small runs of product become prohibitively expensive to make, and we're back to economics preventing us from manufacturing something.
  5. When everything comes together, it can still take several revisions to get it right. The fastest we've seen something go from idea to production is about 3 months, and that's pulling out ALL THE STOPS and everything works perfectly. That almost never happens. 6 months to 9 months to go from idea to sellable product is pretty normal.

When we can't make something you want, it can feel like we don't care. Truth is we do! We want to make weird and wonderful things just like you do! Between us and finished product lie bankers, freight forwarders, factories, licensors, and retail executives.  Everybody in that chain has to make money or the machines stop working. It isn't ever personal. It's business, and that can feel pretty cold sometimes.

Licensing is hard, but when you've got a team, like ours, who are enthusiastic about Star Trek and a great partner in ViacomCBS to help us, amazing things can happen. As we continue to develop items with the fans, we hope you'll take the above into account. 

Where does that leave us with Voyager Merch?

We'd love to make something. It'll be fun! Will it be a quarter-scale model of an Omega Particle Resonance Chamber that doubles as a night-light? Probably not right off the bat, but let's get the conversation started!