Thursday, January 24, 2008

Regarding Shibaricon 2008

I am long overdue in addressing this matter. As most you already know, I and my company,, have been proud event sponsors of the Shibaricon rope bondage conference for the past two years. A lot has changed in those two years, as the event has grown, changed ownership, and moved host hotels. Through that time, it has been an honor to donate my financial, promotional, administrative and moral support to the event as it has evolved and grown.

We get approached by so many worthy organizations and events for sponsorship. It would be simply impossible to sponsor them all. Rather we work hard to pick and choose worthwhile events and organizations to lend out aid to. This can some days feel like a daunting task, so many worthwhile causes, and only a limited set of resources at your disposal.

Of all the lessons learned from the environmental movement of the past 20 years, “Think Globally, Act Locally” sits high on my decision-making process. The Seattle Center for Sex Positive Culture (formerly known as “The Wetspot”) has faithfully served the Seattle and greater North West’s sex positive community for over a decade. This is where I took my first rope class, where I sold my first piece of rope at one of their holiday vendor fairs, and where I have hung art in several of the Seattle Erotic Art Festival shows. The you know and love would not be here if it were not for this organization and the tireless efforts of its volunteer staff.

This year it is my plan to donate funds, in my customer’s name, to this organization. Thus, I am not sponsoring Shibaricon this year. It is my hope that by stepping down as sponsor, I can give another young entrepreneur the opportunity to go from selling to their community to becoming a sponsor of it.

I am sure this will come a great shock to some; I assure you that this decision has weighed heavily on me for several months. While Shibaricon is an excellent event and a great way to spend a 4 day weekend, the greater needs of our local community are just too pressing to not inspire one to action.

So what about those who won free passes at last year’s event?
As part of last year’s sponsorship agreement, several free passes to this year’s event were to be given away as prizes. Fear not, I have every confidence that the event organizers will honor still honor the agreement and will see to it personally that you get into the event free of charge as promised.

Does this mean you will not be hosting the Annual Rope Rodeo?
At the time of this writing, neither I nor my organization has been invited by the Shibaricon planning committee to make a repeat performance.

Does this mean Twisted Monk will not be selling rope at the conference?
To be honest, I really don’t know. As much as I love getting to interact in-person with my customers, show sales now make up such a small percentage of our overall revenue that I am hesitant to commit resources to many of them. While Shibaricon is a good event, it is also a long one. Requiring me to divert stock months in advance, transport, house and feed a multi person staff and shut down my shop for nearly 2 weeks, forcing good customers to wait.

I am waffling here on this one, dear readers, the constant cycle of preshow death march, show frenzy and post show crash has taken its toll on me. The goal of any business to build a stable enough customer base such that you don’t have to do this cycle over and over again. As a company, is at that point. With a global client base in the tens of thousands and more new customers coming in every day, I’m loath to want to subject my crew and my family to this kind of punishment.

The jury is still out on this one gang, I assure you that when I make my final decision you, my loyal reader, will hear it first.

Let me close this on this happy note, I am so proud of all the memories and people I have encountered as part of this event. Some of my dearest friends and leather family were first found here. Shibaricon is an excellent event and I encourage those who are considering going to not take my lack of involvement as a slight against the event or its planners.