May Status Update
I began operating around two years ago, selling pre-built boards in small batches to be able to afford to go to college. I scaled up my operation, meeting or surpassing projected timelines. My primary goals were quick turnaround and accountability; I provided regular updates, and offered around the clock tech support via Discord.
I undertook my first large group buy for the Sofle during the first Covid shutdown. I initially planned on fulfilling all of the orders in 2-4 months. I had every intention, and expectation, of fulfilling the orders on time, and ordered additional parts to continue selling kits in the future. In retrospect, I was clearly overly optimistic about how long it would take for things to return to normal. I hadn’t realized yet, but I was in over my head.
Instead of receiving parts in a few weeks, it took upwards of six months to receive some components. I ended up having to source domestic replacements for parts and materials. Filament and acrylic massively went up in price - I lost money on every single acrylic product delivered.
I ship almost exclusively via USPS, which has had issues of its own. Significant numbers of packages were lost in transit, primarily internationally. Despite having shipping insurance, USPS says that the packages are on their way, until they are deleted from their system, and then I’m unable to file a claim. My initial strategy was to ship replacement packages, and take the loss. There are entire batches of international packages shipped in the summer of 2020 that are still unaccounted for.
Then comes 2021. I was sick, and got overwhelmed by messages. I’m effectively out of money, but I’ve been using my periodic financial aid money to cover shipping costs since late last year. There is no easy way out - I don’t have money sitting around to offer refunds, so I’m going to continue fulfilling outstanding orders. If I were a corporation, I’d close my doors and move on, but I’m a member of this community, and made a commitment to everyone when I took your orders, and I plan to honor it.
I’d just like everyone to know that my intention was never to take your money and run. Even while I was stuck waiting for parts, I was working on designing new products. I am continuing to ship orders when I can, and I haven’t been accepting new orders. I know that my reputation in the community has been damaged, but I’m not giving up, and I’m not yet calling this a post-mortem.
As much as I would like to interact with everyone on a daily basis like I used to, I can’t. For months I responded to dozens of private messages every day requesting status updates, but right now there’s nothing I can say to excuse the status of my business. I’m going to continue to fulfill orders as I can.