- General fulfillment delayed until Sep 25th – We are in China doing quality assurance of our largest batch of products
- We’re creating a daily vlog to bring you into the factories (POV style)
- Your Nomad E order has not been cancelled – just deleting the duplicate orders created during the Shopify import process
- Nomad [E] mold files have been fine tuned, sample PCBs were finished Sep 15th, EVT samples have been produced
- Creator Micro fulfillment delayed by 2 months (at most) for the sake of not cutting corners on quality
- Creator Boards are being shipped with the Micros so will be delayed by 2 months as well
- Keycaps shipment has been flagged by customs for inspection (delayed until early October)
We started 2023 with the goal to make our operations scaleable. This meant two things. The first being we would need to find reputable ODMs (original design manufacture) in China to handle the full assembly and packaging of all our products (instead of us doing it locally in Canada – slow & expensive). The second being making sure we have the demand to meet larger ODM MOQs (minimum order quantities) for them to take us seriously as a client and not just some hobbyists making keyboards online. In line with the second point, you might have noticed we’ve started growing a lot faster on social to acquire more marketshare via improvements to our marketing strategy. The first point however is less obvious to see progress on from the outside, so let me explain how we are achieving this.
Finding new manufacturing partners is always a weird dance of trust. Overseas manufactures often have the best intentions, but refuse to be held financially accountable if something goes wrong (see last Christmas’ Fallout batch “surprise”). To make matters worse, most will not ship your product unless it’s paid for in full, meaning your business needs to assume all the risk of even their possible mistakes (how do I sleep at night, ik right?). It’s risk you need to accept when you are small… but that being said the financial risk is also small, relatively speaking. Except this time we aren’t talking about a little run of $120K keyboards like last year, this time we are talking about a batch with months of logistically steps and a value of $1,300,000. Needless to say we aren’t going to place a blind bet and hope for the best, we have too much responsibility to you, our backers, who have placed your trust in us.
All this to say, both Mattia and I have taken the month of September to fly to China and personally audit each of our current manufactures’ facilities. With the specific goal of showing them how we expect the products to look/feel/function before they seal them up in our new packaging and ship it by boat to Canada for fulfillment.
This came at a cost of course, mainly in the form of time. We needed to coordinate the trip to coincide with the production of the current Creator product line items (keycaps/keyboards/macro pads), and the first of the Nomad product line the Nomad E to be able to see/film as much as we could in that single month. This means that we won’t be able to fulfill orders until September 25, and we needed to delay the final stages of the Creator Micro production (2 months) so we could be there during the assembly/packaging phase. For clarity the window of 1~2 months is so big since we need to run the packaging production, then have them do the full assembly, and finally it needs to be shipped by boat instead of air this time due to the volume. The alternative would be save 1~2 months, but risk needing to ship back the product to fix whatever mistake occurred, only to have it shipped back to Canada again – all at our expense. One of my favourite expressions is “do it nice, or do it twice”… and I sure as hell don’t want to have to send out an update with a 5 month delay because we cut some corners to save a bit of time.
I know that was long, but for those of you that wanted an explanation to why your order is taking long to ship, now you have one in great detail. We want to “do it nice”.
Nomad [E] ⚙️
We’ve had to modify the top housing with extra ribs to produce the best results for injection molding, but we think we’ve got the final version now. We’ve also been working with a new keycap manufacturer to produce our keycaps. We’ve made test molds on the space bar, and the 1U keycaps. They feel *great*, can’t wait for you guys to feel these! We’re aiming to have the final molds produced next month.
Software development for Input has been coming along. That being said there is only so much you can test without having the prototypes on-hand. Our developers will be getting functional unit soon to be able to start testing with Input. We’re hoping to be able to show you something working for the next update.
Creator Micro ⚙️
I know you guys have been waiting long for this batch. Getting the new packaging just right. On top of personally flying to china to teach the manufacturers how we want the product to be assembled and finished was a very time consuming/big job.
Our standard of quality is a literally dying breed with everyone pushing for cheaper and faster productions. Low cost comes at a price… One that is very hard to reverse once established.
If we aren’t strict with our standards the first time. They will teach everyone who touches our products this “relaxed” attitude of quality, and it will rot us from the inside out.
I’m willing to risk a few chargebacks and bad reviews about shipping times for everyone who has ordered and will order to benefit from good standard operating procedures, which will lead to quality products made quickly, once streamlined.
This is our first mass market production, it’s not the time to be cutting corners – we owe you that.
Creator Board ?
Very proud to say we are on our 5th batch of Creator Board due to their popularity. That being said their fulfillment will be delayed in tandem with the Micros, since they are being shipped from China together. The good news is that they’ve already been produced and just awaiting shipment.
At the beginning of the summer we switched our keycap supplier for our backlit caps. This was a very difficult process, but it’ll be worth it. We’ve got around 2000 keysets on the way from them. These keysets include wrk Icon, wrk Daily, wrk Legend, wrk Num (the numpad keyset). We were supposed to have received the batch by now, but customs wanted to inspect the shipment, so it will probably arrive early October.
That’s it for now!
Co-Founder @ work louder inc.