We all talk about smart products these days and how they benefit our lives. My smart phone replaced my organizer and my watch and moniters the lights and temperature on my house. My smart fridge can tweet and can tell me what recipes I can make based on what I have on hand. But my keychain can't do anything other than hold my keys together so my partner and I got together and decided it was time to make a smart keychain.
The first thing we realized is that if you don't carry a purse you got to fit all your stuff in your pockets. Lets face it smart phones are getting bigger not smaller. Then you got your wallet, glasses, maybe a swiss army knife, one of those cool little moleskin sketchpads, some change. Basically there's not a lot of room for your keys so we made a keychain that can hook on your belt loop.
Then we had to decided what tools the keychain should have. I read on on Reddit recently an interview with Les Stroud, the legendary and original Survivorman, where he said the most important thing to have when your in the wild is a way to start a fire. So we added a fire striker.
Next we asked friends what is the one tool that fits in your pocket you use the most. Answer, the bottle opener, it was a no brainer.
Then we came up with the wild card feature, the ceramic rod knife sharpener. Think about it, if you're out somewhere where you need to start a fire you should probably have a knife and it better be sharp. If you find yourself in grizzle territory or in the middle of the zombie apocalypse, a sharp knife could be the difference in life or death or being the living dead.
Once we started making prototypes we realized it was time to name our creation. What would you call someone who could start a fire in a dire situation or open your fancy microbrew when you forgot your opener or had the sharpest knife in knife fight. The answer is "El Jefe" or for those of you whose knowledge of spanish is limited to menu items, "The Boss".
Then we had to figure out what do you make an "El Jefe" out of. Its got to be strong, classic, and highly functional. The first answer was steel, classic American steel, used for everything from knives to anvils, and built to last. We black oxide it to protect it from corrosion . Next we wanted something classic. Something that looked like a cherished tool you could use for a lifetime and its finish would age with you - Bronze, that wonderful metal that is so cool historians named a whole age after it. We are looking at adding other materials eventually. I would love a solid 18k gold one that you could break off bits to barter with in a post zombie apocalyptic world or maybe a sweet tungstanium one.
So fellow Kickstarters this is where you come in. We have some great rewards and we are ready to make you an El Jefe. Once we get funded we can order materials in bulk and start cutting some metal. El Jefe is made right here in the USA. Don't worry we do this for a living so we don't have to worry about Chinese holidays or lack of quality control. We get our metal, ceramic rods for knife sharpening and ferrocerium rods for starting fires right here in the USA and our suppliers have never let us down.
Zeno Design Works
We realized not everyone has belt loops and some of our outdoorsy friends wanted to get in on the action but wanted something smaller to fit in their packs so we came up with the El Nino. Half the size and half the weight. Available in black oxided steel , bronze and titanium. Perfect for the minimalist who wants to be prepared where ever and when ever. $34 for steel, $38 for bronze , and $48 for titanium. For those of you who already pledged for an El Jefe and want to add an El Nino you can add $30 for steel $34 for bronze and $44 for titanium to your pledge. When we send out the survey at the end of our project you will clarify what rewards you will receive. Thanks for all your support!
Risks and challenges
We've been in business for three years now making products for other people and we've learned a lot about manufacturing. We've learned not everything goes right 100% of the time. The delivery truck sometimes shows up a day later then they said. The hardware shop sends 1/4" when you order 3/16". Basically we've learned to under promise and over deliver. So we've crunched numbers and calculated run times and other variables and picked a safe delivery date. One of the great advantages of making stuff in America besides helping to save jobs here and contribute to our local economy is that there's no long wait times for shipping, no language barriers, no waiting for first inspection of goods.
Most importantly we've been prototyping and testing for months. We've already done a test run of El Jefes to gauge run times, deburring and polishing times. As soon as we reach our funding goal we will be ordering material to start production. Tim has 30 years of experience in the Machine business and has seen it all so we are very confident about our delivery date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)