Our project is complete. Here’s what we haven’t said yet...
We are glad to announce that most of you have already received the Fugu suitcase and those of you who have not received it, will receive it in the coming days as it is already on its way to you.
It was a hell of a journey!
We know that some of you are unhappy with us for the delays and we are aware of the positive and negative reviews that you sent us about the product. We take them seriously and thank you for the feedback you sent to us.
There are some things which we have not yet told you about the road we took, and the actions we did to bring to the world a great idea and product that did not exist before. Now we think it's a good opportunity to tell everything that happened behind the scenes:
The first months after the campaign were great. We were entrepreneurs new in the world of suitcase production, but full of passion and desire to learn. This is the what Kickstarter is all about, giving creators and entrepreneurs the ability to create. We hired experts to help us work with factories in China and even hired a world-renowned engineer to solve all the technical challenges and finish the production of your suitcases on time.
With the transition to working with factories in China, the first problems began to arise. The first problem was discovered when it became clear that the first plant we started working with was not accurate (to say the least) when he told us that he was capable of producing the suitcase as it was. After we had gone through it with a great deal of money for molds, we discovered that he could not produce the suitcase for us.
Later, we also discovered that the original wheels' supplier could not produce them according to our requirements, after he declared that he could, and even received, $ 45,000 for it. This change was one of the most painful, because of the fact that we had to change the entire design of the suitcase. We decided to try to find alternative solutions that cost us a delay of many months and a cumulative cost of more than $150,000.
At this stage, we already understood the difficulty in finding reliable professionals in this field, after all those we worked with had told us what we wanted to hear so that we would pay them for the work without taking responsibility for the results. This was an important lesson for us.
We were finally experienced in terms of technical work vis-à-vis factories and suppliers in China and in terms of their conduct. But then we had to face a new dilemma ...
On the one hand, it was better to redesign the product and adapt it to the production capabilities of the new factory we started working with, so that within 8 months it would be finished with production. On the other hand we were late and felt a lot of pressure from the customers to receive the product, and we had almost no budget left for a new product (particularly after we had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ordering the components and molds for the original product). We decided to make unique adjustments to the original product with the hopes that we could solve all the technical challenges quickly. However, as we progressed, more and more problems were discovered and almost every solution we found created a new problem and so on.
Unlike most new suitcases launched in recent years, Fugu was not only a new design with the integration of some existing electronic components, but was a new and complex construction and mechanism that required dealing with new materials no luggage factory had known before. This forced us to manage over 15 different suppliers (each of which had their own complications in turn), to customize each part separately and assemble everything at the final factory. Every little change became a major project.
We came to a situation where almost every other campaign owner would abandon the project or turn to his customers to ask for more money, but we decided that we were not going to disappoint our backers and we brought more money from home. When that ran out we brought more money from friends and family, and when that ran out we took loans to finish the project and bring you the product.
You are the reason we continued with the project. Our sense of responsibility and commitment gave us the strength to continue even though we realized that the initial model would be complicated for commercial production, mainly because of the high production costs, and in any case, we knew we would have to design a new model for the big market. But nevertheless, we invested our time and money in the product we promised you.
We do not want to reveal the numbers, but the cumulative amount we brought from home was at least twice the amount we raised on Kickstarter and the pre-orders on the website.
It is important for us to mention, we are not telling you this so that you will feel sorry for us or that you will be gentle with us. Rather, that you will understand the reasons for the mishaps, and the delays which occurred. Also, that you will be aware of all the tremendous efforts and resources which we invested.
Today we are more experienced than ever and still full of passion as in the beginning. We are even happy to tell you that we have recently started a serious partnership with a serious company to develop the fabric model that will have many improvements. Those of you who have chosen to wait, will receive it when it is ready in a few months.
We are not looking to get rid of previous customers at all and have decided to give you all a significant discount for the new model once it is ready (completely ready!), as compensation for the long wait and as a token of appreciation for your support and trust.
We will give it to you at the cost of production and shipping. We will update you here when the new and improved model is ready.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the Fugu suitcase you received, and remember that you were part of the birth of a revolutionary idea and a product that will eventually change the perception of travelers all over the world. Our suitcase is not just another "smart suitcase" but a suitcase that is actually smart!
Thanks for the support. It's all thanks to you!
Isaac and the Fugu team