Thanks for being patient with us this last month as we've been working through the next stage of manufacturing. Our last update described how we were providing 3D printed models of each spoon to our factory so they could see exactly what design standard to manufacture the spoons to.
Our manufacturing coordinator received the 3D printed spoons late August. After discussing the design with the factory who made our first metal samples, we found they cannot produce the spoons as designed. Going to the lengths that we did to communicate clearly was a good thing, because we discovered that the factory wasn't planning on manufacturing the spoons as one piece. Even though they would have been treated externally to look seamless, it would have been a composite construction, which is what we are trying to avoid.
This was a bit of a blow for us, because it means we'll have to select a new factory to work with. The good news is that we already have two fantastic options right now, and our next samples are being made now. Here's where we're at:
Option #1 - New Investment Casting Manufacturer. This factory produces extremely high quality, detailed products. We know that they can produce our spoons to a very high standard (and as one piece!). The downside is that the cost per item is significantly higher than we had planned. If we decide to go with this option, the final retail price of each spoon would certainly be higher than our Kickstarter price point.
Option #2 - Forging Manufacturer. This factory would produce the spoons using a different method called forging. Forging is a bad-ass manufacturing method, and was actually one we looked in to extensively prior to launching our Kickstarter. Forging produces extremely strong parts, but often requires extensive finishing and polishing, because it produces a rougher exterior surface than if casting were used. The first quotes we received from this factory are very reasonable, which would keep costs down. However, the proposal has a bit of a "too good to be true" feel to it.
We have dealt with dozens of factories over the last year as we've explored proposals, and have learned that many of them are eager to declare their capabilities in order to gain a chance at the business. Once additional steps are taken toward manufacturing, however, sometimes they aren't quite as capable, or the price isn't as good as was promised (as we discovered with the last factory that sent us samples).
Since the Forging Manufacturer indicates they can get samples finished in less than a week, we've decided to see what they can do. If what they provide to us is high quality and cost effective, we'll place our order with them. If, on the other hand, the deal is really "too good to be true," we're prepared to place our order with the Investment Casting Manufacturer immediately.
Either way, we're committed to getting production going ASAP.
While we've been waiting for samples, shipping time, and proposals, we haven't been sitting on our duffs. Shawn Michael has been working on packaging design, we've been meeting and talking with potential retail partners, and working on the back-end of the business. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes from an administrative perspective, which is pretty boring stuff to talk about. But things like financial plans, business licenses, taxes, branding, marketing plan, and future product development are essential to laying a good foundation for a legit business. We've been immersed in all of that, and a lot of other boring (and not so boring) business development activities.
We've also been preparing our fulfillment strategy, so when we have our hands on our spoons, we can get them out to you as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
When our samples from the Forging Manufacturer are finished next week, we'll try to have them shipped quickly to us in San Diego for review, and will post another update as soon as we decide which direction we're going in.
Rachel Eva and Shawn Michael