Update #7: Happy New Year! (Western and Chinese!)

Hi Folks,

Things have been cranking along here in the High Roller Labs, and while January is usually a notoriously slow month, this year it’s gone by blindingly fast with tons of work being done in the background.

First, let me wish you a Happy Chinese New Year! Did you know that yesterday was the start of the Chinese New Year? Either did we until recently. This is one of the things you find out when you’re working with Taiwanese partners and they mention that they’re taking 10 days off for New Years. Turns out ALL of the Chinese and Taiwanese do this and go back to their home towns for New Years. Evidently it is the largest annual human migration on Earth. The upshot is that the whole country shuts down.

Luckily we were able to make great progress with our manufacturer before the holiday and we’ll be able to use this time to refine our design and processes.

If you’re wondering why we’re using manufacturers in Taiwan you can check out the explanation in the blog on the main site.

Here’ a summary of what we’ve been up to:

Done:

  • Established a solid relationship with a new manufacturing agent in Taiwan. (After a year of work together, our first agent opted not to continue with the project, leaving us in the lurch. Starting over with our new agent, the relationship is everything the first one should have been.)
  • First round of quotes were received and reviewed.
  • Spun off High Roller USA LLC as a real live manufacturing company. This has tax and insurance benefits.
  • 3D models are complete which are then made into manufacturing drawings, and can be modified rapidly.

Next Steps:

  • Clarify specs, materials, dimensions and tolerances 100%
  • Kickoff the tooling manufacturing (all the molds, jigs, stamps, and bending forms that will make the frames and wheels).
  • Get 1st manufacturing sample made and shipped over for review.
  • After changes are made (and there will be changes/improvements/etc.) produce the 2nd sample. This should be the “Golden Sample” that all the final production models will be compared against.
  • Once approved, we’re go for full manufacturing.

If all goes well, we should see first deliveries about May-June. When people say things like “if all goes well” or “in a perfect world…” or “best case scenario” it means they’re about to launch themselves into an endeavor with a great amount of optimism and only about 80% of the information they need. Fact is, this is a development and manufacturing project with associated risk. If all doesn’t go exactly well, we’ll roll with the punches and take care of the issues as fast as humanly possible, keeping you informed every step of the way. Here’s a sobering account of what can happen during manufacturing by the creators of the Pen Type-A. It’s a great but harrowing story of expectations, cultural oddities, communication, and unrelenting dedication to exceptional results. All that being said, rest assured we are 100% committed to completion and any other result is unacceptable.

Rewards:

In the frenzy of the last couple months in trying to get the manufacturing on rails I failed to get your thank you gifts out in December. Fear not, we’ve got our graphics ready to go and shirt and jacket orders are imminent.

Women's High Roller T-Shirt
Women’s High Roller T-Shirt
Men's High Roller T-Shirt
Men’s High Roller T-Shirt

Additionally:

Here’s things we still have to do that you may not really care about but will take up a big portion of our brain time:

  • What is a 1099-K? Work with CPA to determine tax liability of Kickstarter funds. (All this is so new, it’s the wild frontier out there)
  • Create manufacturing budget and forecast.
  • Arrange final packaging and boxing requirements.
  • Get UPC codes.
  • Determine proper Harmonized System codes for import duties.
  • Arrange freight, import and customs clearance.
  • Establish a warehouse location that can do final kitting/assembly and order fulfillment.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to drop me a line.

THANKS,

Matt