I know this project hasn't lived up to the expectations that we originally set from day one. This has been quite the learning experience to say the least. We understand the commitment we have to all of you backers in not only updating you along the way with our progress, but also in fulfilling the rewards we originally promised you. That being said, we have shipped a little over half the rewards already with more going out later this week.
We have made our fair share of mistakes along the way. Packaging the bottles was the first big road block to overcome. About one in every 4 boxes showed up with at least one broken bottle. After experimenting with a few different packaging techniques we haven't had a bottle show up broken in around 500 bottles (~166 rewards). The next issue we faced was properly sealing the bottles. The corks we received with the bottles are not sealing the way we would like. We have tried literally every way possible to seal the bottles with these corks and our latest method is only reliable for about a week (yes, we have tested this extensively). Moving forward, we are switching to a different bottle type. The traditional hot sauce woozy you're accustom to seeing with other hot sauces is what we will be using for the remainder of the reward filling process. These will not be the bottles we use when selling sauce in stores (yes, we do have several local locations ready to carry our sauce) but it seems like the smartest decision for us at the moment. Not only does this solve the bottle sealing issues that we have ran into, but it will also save us a ton of money on shipping. Which brings us to the next major obstacle, shipping. Due to the size of the bottles we originally started this project with our cheapest shipping option was flat rate USPS. To ship just one reward cost us $11.30. Double the $5 that most added for shipping either at the time of backing or shortly after. International orders, we've shipped a few, run us $42 each. In a nut shell, we lost $3 for every single bottle reward shipped. Like I said in the beginning, it's been a learning process. By switching to a different bottle type, we are now able to cut shipping cost in half (so we are no longer losing money).
Another issue that crept up on us was the availability of fresh local organic ingredients. When this project ended funding there were no visible issues with this in sight. Now that we are just coming out of winter here in California the ingredients issue is becoming less and less of an issue, but It's worth mentioning because it did halt production a few days during Dec/Jan.
The lack of man power has been more challenging than originally expected as well. When I say 'we' I'm referring to my business partner. Him and I have been making orders as fast as we can, but fortunately for us we are not dead beats and we both have full time jobs that we are tending to. On top of that commitment, I am a full time student taking 15 units a semester, I do not have a 'day off' or that thing I hear other people talk about called 'free time'. I'm either at work or at school 7 days a week. The original goal of $500 was no big deal given my other obligations but 2000% to that goal has made things a tad more difficult.
As I stated in the beginning of this update, previous updates, and in comments made to the page after funding ended, we are committed to fulfilling all the rewards. The remainder of the rewards will take some time to complete due to some of the various reasons mentioned above. We would like to thank all of you for how patient you have been through this entire process. If you haven't received your reward yet, I can assure you that it will be coming soon. Thank you to those of you who have been encouraging us along the way and also to those of you who have asked when/where you can get some more sauce (as soon as rewards are complete we will have a website up and running).