We’re Out of Tools (Again). Here’s What’s Next
Posted on 26 May 2017
Yesterday we sold out of Improved Pattern Dividers in 39 minutes and then sold out of Design Curves seven hours later. And so there are some obvious questions to ask:
- Why don’t we just order a bunch more and fix the situation?
Unfortunately, we don’t work that way (and neither does manufacturing – more on that from Raney in the coming weeks). Every tool we produce is finished by us by hand. We source some of our parts, but ultimately the tools have to get through us and get touched, inspected and finished by us.
- Why don’t we take pre-orders or have a waiting list?
This is a sure-fire way to get in trouble. You can end up with a never-ending backlog of work and foment bad blood with your customers. We insist that the best way for us to stay in business is to make what we can and then sell it. We know it can be frustrating at times, but we don’t have your money from a pre-order and we’re not making promises that can be broken.
Right now we can promise you that we’re making tools as fast as we can. And they are of a quality that makes us happy. And that is a promise we’ll never break.
- Why not hire employees?
Expanding too quickly is another sure-fire way to wreck a business (I fell for this temptation with my first business). John, Raney and I have a lot more sweat equity to pay off before we can share the workload with others. We’ll never get huge or rich with this strategy. But we’ll also stay in business without too much trouble.
- Why not raise prices?
Truth is, we are going to have to raise prices on the dividers. Not to reduce demand but simply to make them something that’s worth getting up for in the morning. Because the dividers are more expensive and tricky to produce than we could have ever anticipated, we will raise the price significantly in the coming months. More details on this soon.
The price on the holdfasts and Design Curves will likely remain the same. We’ve had no problem keeping up with demand for the holdfasts. And the curves are much simpler to make than the dividers.
The good news is that we are getting faster and better at making tools and putting them in boxes. And we have no plans to quit or slow down. So if you can stick with us as we grow this young business, I think you’ll end up with a number of Crucible tools in your chest, cabinet or tool tote.
— Christopher Schwarz