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I will not deal with “consumers” anymore.

Date: February 20, 2015

I make and sell buttons and zines, and I enjoy how they spread awareness and start conversations. But it has never been a major source of income, and I cannot prioritize filling orders promptly like a business would. So I give this disclaimer on my online store:

Please understand that this is not a real business per se; it’s just one girl manufacturing and distributing her stuff on her spare time. Thus, it may take a while before your order can be shipped. If you are worried that I might have forgotten your order, feel free to check the status of your order by email.

On January 18th, someone from Fargo, North Dakota ordered some buttons through my website. I usually dedicate one or two days per month to filling orders that came during the interval, but I had just made a shipment so I held the order for the next “shipping day.”

Then in about ten days, this individual filed a complaint to Paypal alleging non-receipt of the buttons, triggering Paypal to withhold his payment. I replied citing my shipping policy, and promised to ship the next week. No response. Then on February 2nd, I did ship his order, and sent him a photo of the U.S. Postal Service receipt that shows a shipment to Fargo, ND. Again, no response. I waited for a little while to allow the delivery to take place, and once again I sent him a message asking him if he had received the package, and if so please withdraw the complaint. No response.

Finally, without any response whatsoever from him, and despite the fact I sent them the photo of the Fargo, ND receipt, Paypal ruled in his favor “after careful consideration” and took my money and gave it back to him.

The payment was small, so the financial loss is not that great. But it left me regretting that I did not simply cancel his order when he first filed a complaint with Paypal without any discussion. I sell buttons because I want to connect with other activists, artists, and scholars who share my values, not because I want to run a business. If this guy does not understand that, he is just a consumer rather than a colleague/friend/fellow activists and I have no desire to deal with consumers of my “products.”

So I decided: in the future, it will be my policy that, if someone files a complaint to Paypal without having any conversations with me first and do not respond to me after I explain my shipping practice, I will immediately cancel the order. I am not interested in having a business-to-consumer relationship over my buttons and zines.

Help Emi attend Color of Violence conference and avoid the evil overdraft charge [UPDATE: Goal reached!]

Date: February 11, 2015

[UPDATE February 12th, 2015] Goal reached! In less than 24 hours, I received a total donation exceeding my goal of $400. I will keep some of the surplus for food and printing costs, and contribute some to other women of color I know who are struggling to pay for the trip to attend the conference. Thank you everyone who contributed and/or spread the word! – ek

Original post follows below.


Short version:

I need financial help to get to Color of Violence conference. Please paypal or send check to Emi Koyama, PO Box 40570, Portland OR 97240. You can also support me by ordering my buttons and zines.

Long version:

Hello friends – I am doing two presentations at the upcoming Color of Violence conference in March, and about a month ago I posted a comment on Facebook asking for financial help getting there. But I didn’t set up any crowdfunding page or anything, because at the time I thought I could afford a large part of the cost myself.

Well, things have changed and I have less money now than I did, so I need to get more serious about fundraising to get there. The good news is that I got help with the lodging so that’s taken care of. In other words, I just need to raise enough money for airfare, ground transportation, and food.

The flight from Portland was super expensive (around $600), but it was way cheaper from Seattle so that’s how I’m going to travel. The roundtrip airfare is $362.20 (I’ve already purchased the ticket so it won’t go up, and my bank account is now dangerously close to overdrafting). For ground transportation I use ADA paratransit, which is $3 per ride in Chicago. I plan to go to a grocery store on the first day and stock up in my room to save money. So $400 total would probably work. I have received $40 from my previous facebook request, so my target is $360 which I think is possible.

Just so you know, the two presentations I’m doing are “Anti-Trafficking Policies and the Deputization of Social Service” and “Rejecting Victim/Survivor Dichotomy: From Individual Mandate to Collective Action.” In addition, I’m joining other women of color to do a workshop about critiquing media narratives about sex trade and sex trafficking.

I appreciate support from any of my friends, but I especially want white sex worker activists, anti-violence advocates, and scholars who use my work to support me now. I feel I’ve produced and gave away lots of materials for free that inform and benefit your work, and now is the time that you can help me connect and interact with other women and trans people of color so I can continue to do that.

I can accept Paypal (, Amazon gift card, or check (Emi Koyama, PO Box 40570, Portland OR 97240 – if you send a check, please email and let me know).

There are other ways to support me: you can also order my buttons and zines, or try to get me invited to your college or university if you are affiliated with any.

If I raise more money than I need for the trip, I will spend it on printing more zines and handouts to share at the conference, and/or give it forward to another woman of color who needs money to attend the conference.

Thank you for your help–and for reading the long version!