All Kinds of Device News
In just a few weeks, it will be 2 years since we officially launched The Device, and 3 years since we first showed it publicly! This is a big milestone for us, and it comes with a few pieces of news we’d like to share with you.
NO MORE WAIT LIST!
That’s right! Now you can simply order your Device, and it will be custom built for you. Now, when you view the product listing, it will look something like this:
In other words, the product listing will show that the Device is back ordered, and will be custom built for you, and when you should expect it. If there are specific events by when we think it’s likely people hope to have their Devices, we’ll now also say things like:
“Orders placed today will be built for delivery at the end of August 2018. If you want a Device delivered in time for Spinzilla (the first week in October), you will need to order by 25 August 2018.”
Also of note: we’ve lowered the deposit amount due at time of order, to $499. More on this in a bit.
Some Key Dates For Ordering
25 August 2018: the cutoff for ordering if you want to receive your Device by the end of September, which is in time for Spinzilla or Rhinebeck (NY State Sheep & Wool).
25 September 2018: the cutoff for ordering if you would like to order a Device delivered at SAFF, or before the end of October.
25 November 2018: the cutoff for ordering if you would like to order a Device delivered by Christmas.
One thing we’ve heard a bunch of times: “I’d love to buy my loved one a Device, but I’m not completely positive on color selections, and it looks like I missed the cutoff for getting it by our anniversary | birthday | event.”
So, coming in August, we’ll be offering a variety of gift certificate packages, ranging from digitally delivered to shipped in an exciting, giftable package with some fiber to play with.
The Tough News
We’ll make this short and to the point: there will be a price increase starting 1 January 2019. We’re still running the numbers on exactly how much the price increase will be, and what we can do to keep it as small as possible. Two major things push this. First, we always knew we’d probably have to review prices somewhere in the 2-3 years in operation range, to account for general inflation and also for if our improvements to the initial product at release end up being more expensive than what we based the original pricing on. We expected we’d be able to make it to the 3 year mark before we had to talk about this, but something else has tipped the scale, and that is tariffs on metals, specifically steel and aluminum. While formal price index information on this is still being produced, what we’re initially seeing is that the steel for the July run cost us a lot more than in previous runs — and the costs have gone up really significantly since 2015 when we did our initial pricing. Overall, since 2016, our materials costs for Devices have increased by about 80%, which is to say, our materials cost has almost doubled — with much of that being in the past month.
We’re going to do everything we can to keep costs down for as long as possible, and it’s going to be mid-August before we can complete projections that will let us set pricing we think will last for at least another 2 years. So we wanted to give everyone as much time as possible to consider buying that Device you’ve always wanted at the present pricing, which will stand until the end of 2018. That’s also why we’ve lowered the deposit price, in hopes of making it easier to make that commitment sooner, which will also let us buy materials and parts at the lowest prices we can between now and the end of the year.
Look for us at SAFF in Fletcher, NC the last weekend in October! While we’re there, we won’t be answering email very fast, if at all, so if it’s the last week in October and you haven’t heard back from us on something, it’s because we’re at SAFF.
We also plan to close the shop from 24 December until 2 January 2019.
What is the wait list stuff a change from? How did it work before? What’s the history?
In 2015, we only had a few early beta Devices to show, and none were available to purchase. Heck, we didn’t even have pricing figured out yet! We partnered up with our longtime friends at Spunky Eclectic, who kept a wait list and, after our official launch in August 2016, ultimately retailed some Devices as we all worked through what dealership models could look like, how support would work, and so on. In early 2017, the wait list Spunky Eclectic had been maintaining came in-house.
How it worked initially: if you were interested in buying a Device once they became available, you would put your name on the list with no commitment to buy, and be notified of availability to purchase on a first-come, first-served basis. This more or less worked out, but at the time when we made that decision, we hadn’t factored in the idea that Devices would eventually have some possible customizations. The initial vision was that dealers would stock base model Devices, in black cases with black hardware and no other customizations, and that if people wanted customizations, we would build those for them directly. This turned out to make the wait list much more complicated than we’d anticipated. It turned out that emailing the next individual person on the wait list, saying “It’s your turn!” and going over options available, then waiting for a decision as to whether someone wanted to order from the upcoming run, and what options they wanted, meant it could take several weeks to get a run figured out so we’d know what exactly we were building. We also found we had situations where someone had been on the wait list for a year or more, having been first in line, and having to say “not this time” repeatedly — while there were also folks ready to order their Devices right then and there, to whom we had to say “It’s not your turn yet.”
So, in late 2017/early 2018 we changed it to a notification list. This meant that, when we were getting ready for the next build, we’d email the entire wait list at once (instead of individually as turns came up), saying: 10 spots available in the next build queue, scheduled to deliver the last week of X month, get your orders in and we’ll close ordering once 10 have come in. This change moved us from taking weeks to put together a run, to taking days. This meant we were moving through the wait list much, much faster, and the time from receiving a deposit to delivering the Device was shortened significantly.
There were a number of real advantages to working this way for the first 2 years! By building small batches, we were able to get a clear sense of the tech support load; we were able to make sure that we could roll out fixes and improvements in a pretty straightforward way, to a relatively small number of Devices; we could do rapid development and improvement on a batch-by-batch basis, incorporating feedback from new owners at every step. The big down sides were that it took a lot more administrative time to deal with, and when people asked “How do I get one of these things?” we couldn’t just point them to a place to order one right now. Which was okay for early release and trying to keep from building so many Devices so fast we couldn’t support them how we wanted to, but not really sustainable forever.