The manufacturing process marches on and we’re making good gains. Last we talked, the first manufacturing sample had just arrived and we began the process of inspecting it. Right about then was also Chinese New Year when the whole country of China shuts down for essentially 2-3 weeks which slowed us down for a bit.
Around then we also departed for the International Toy Fair in New York City. It is a massive trade show for all things toys and games and takes over the entire Javits Convention Center (it’s huge). We took the sample High Roller with us and got to exhibit there. Of course, the High Roller was a hit and we even got an award of “Best of Toy Fair 2019” from GearDiary.com!
More importantly we also got to meet and talk with major players in the industry who were excited by the High Roller and offered their expertise and contacts to help us out. It was pretty thrilling and humbling to have VP’s of companies you all know giving us their personal phone numbers and the invite to call if we needed anything. (And we’re going to take them up on it.)
When the weather cooperated, the High Rollers were our main mode of transportation around Manhattan and it was absolutely amazing to ride the streets of New York.
It was good to have the sample with us at the trade show. It allowed us to unpack and repack it, do a full assembly, and literally stress test it on the streets of New York City. And while it looked good and rode well, getting up close and personal with it exposed some real shortcomings of the sample that weren’t to our specifications (the stem doesn’t have enough clamping force, the handlebars are too flexy, the welds are subpar, etc.). Since then we’ve done a full Inspection Report that we’re sharing with our overseas fabricators.
What it really exposed is that we’ve come to our limit of what we can achieve in manufacturing from 9000 miles away with just emails and phone calls. We need to get a new sample made that complies with our specifications, and we need it right away.
So this week I’m buying a ticket to China to visit face to face with our fabricators and suppliers. I’ll get to impress upon them why our specifications are so important for a quality product, and they’ll be able to educate me on what is and isn’t possible in manufacturing. We’ll need to stand firm where we need to and compromise where we’re able to in order to get an affordable, high quality product, in the time frame required.
I won’t lie, this is a daunting trip. I’ll be dropping into a place I’ve never been with a culture I’m not familiar with. It’s a whole different landscape with plenty of pitfalls for westerners. I’m going to be researching the business protocols to make sure I’ve got the best chance possible. Luckily, I’ve got manufacturing partners there that are eager to work with me and help the process along. They’re also eager for recurring orders which helps too.
Here’s some images of the first sample we took for our Inspection Reports.
We’ve got a solid baseline and just need to tweak the final details for the next sample. Then we’ll be go for full production. As always, if you have any questions at all, or would like to talk about your order, please feel free to give me a call anytime at 720-989-1969.
Designer and CEO