About this project
**If you are pledging and would like to make this a holiday gift for someone, please let me know when I send out the survey after closing. I will send you a certificate PDF to give to your recipient so that they can get excited about your awesome geeky gift.**
Seams Geeky got it’s modest start in October 2012 by creating a unique cloth diaper design called “Pocket Protectors”. The trim and narrow design of the diapers, paired with the geeky embroidered tushes, quickly became a hit. Shortly thereafter, Seams Geeky began selling beautiful geek-themed embroidered hand towels. Recently Seams Geeky introduced iron-on patches and full size bath towels to their inventory.
Seams Geeky has three hard-fast rules for their merchandise: 1) it needs to be geeky 2) it has to be something that the owner would want to buy herself and 3) it has to be the best quality that they can possibly make. Seams Geeky tested and revised their diaper pattern for almost 3 years before they were ready to start selling. The patches that recently were released were tested and troubleshooted for a year before they were high enough quality to meet Seams Geeky’s standards.
Seams Geeky started embroidering on a Brother 400SE sewing/embroidery combo machine that was gifted to the creator nearly a year before Seams Geeky was formed. While this was a great machine for learning and for the casual embroidery designs, it had its limitations. As a combo machine, it doesn’t have enough power to embroider thicker materials. The time it takes to convert the machine from sewing to embroidery was slow and wasted. Essentially the machine needs to be disassembled in order to convert it. The embroidery speed itself is SLOW, with a maximum speed of only 400 stitches per minute. Also the biggest design we could embroider was only 4” x 4”. That’s the largest hoop this machine would take.
Shortly after opening, Seams Geeky managed to get an incredible deal on a used Bernina Bernette Deco 340. This is a great little workhorse and it has served the small business well for almost a year. It was a wonderful upgrade because it has a maximum speed of 650 stitches per minute, a hoop size of about 5.5” x 8”, and enough power to go through multiple layers of fabric without much trouble. However, while the business started to grow it became apparent that this machine was the limiting factor for a lot of aspects of the business.
We've been looking to expand our offerings to include embroidered hats & hoodies for a long time, but the Bernina just doesn't allow for that sort of item. Hats require an embroidery machine with a special cap driver in order to hold the hat and rotate it around the embroidery head, and hoodies (as well as jackets and throw pillows) need a much bigger embroidery area than we are currently able to offer.
In a nutshell, we'd like to create a new line of geeky products to offer you guys. We have lots of crazy ideas rolling around in our heads, and we'd love the opportunity to share them with you. To help us offer these new items, we need to purchase a new machine - and after extensive research, we've selected the Amaya Bravo 16-needle embroidery machine.
It’s a fantastic, professional grade machine will all sorts of bells and whistles and costs less than most of the hobbyist machines on the market. Unfortunately, it still costs $8,500 and that’s just not something that is a feasible amount while the business is still in its infancy. That’s where you come in!
For this Kickstarter, we’ve created three limited-edition designs that will never be offered by us again. They will only be available for the duration of this Kickstarter, and when it’s over, they’re gone. These three designs will be available as patches, hand towels, bath towels, and limited-edition diapers. You can choose from many combinations of them in the reward tier boxes on the right, but bear in mind that every reward tier of $45 or higher gets a full set of all three patches included automatically in addition to all other tier rewards. Also, domestic shipping is included.
Remember - all pledge prices INCLUDE U.S. SHIPPING. International orders will need to add a small amount for shipping depending on location.
ONE-SIZE CLOTH DIAPERS
We’ve also created a few unique items (some in limited quantities):
Pong Hand Towel Set
Nothing quite beats the excitement of sending a white dot flying across the screen and then blocking it with an elongated white rectangle - and now you can relive this experience every time you dry your hands! This two-towel set recreates the PONG field of play with two paddles, the “ball” and even the player scores on top! Amazing!
TARDIS Hand Towel Set
Yeah, we already sell a TARDIS towel, but this isn’t quite like the towels we usually sell, as we will be making full use of the larger embroidery field in order to make a full-face TARDIS come alive on your towel rack. This reward tier is a 2-towel set of hand towels. Say what?
Atari 2600 Pillowcase
Remember when electronics had to have wood paneling on them in order to be cool? So do we - that’s why we’ve created this unique pillowcase to class up your bed set. Each pillowcase is designed to look like the Atari 2600, right down to the select toggle switches and oh-so-classy fake wood. (These pillowcases are designed to fit pillows up to King Size) Limited to 50 sets and 100 individual. Oh no you didn’t!
Walk around town like you’ve got a broken chameleon circuit and you just don’t care. This blue hoodie has the iconic “POLICE BOX” and TARDIS windows embroidered on the back, making full use of the new jacket-back embroidery field, and a St. John Ambulance logo on the front. No Whovian should pass this up! Limited to 48 hoodies. Zounds!
Special Webcomic Designs
Please remember, Kickstarter funding is ALL OR NOTHING! So in order for us to be able to launch our new line of embroidered products and deliver your geekiness, we must reach our goal. Spreading the word to your friends, family and other geeks is very much appreciated!
Easy-peasy! In that case, don't worry too much about the rest of the rewards on the right. We've created a reward tier that lets you create your own reward package - it'll be up at the top. It's only $1 by default, but since kickstarter lets you pledge whatever amount you like, just use the chart below to add up the prices of the rewards you'd like to get (Don't forget to add the international shipping if you're outside the US) and pledge that amount instead of the $1. If the project funds, we'll be contacting you with a survey to work out which items you wanted.
(Note that you could technically do this with any of the reward tiers - and in fact, if you're adding a limited quantity item like a pillowcase or hoodie, you'll probably want to select that tier instead, just in case it sells out. One never knows!
For the reward tiers that include diapers, you'll notice that they're listed in limited-number "waves". The reasoning behind this is simple - while a new machine would help us crank out towels and other pure-embroidery items, diapers still need to be hand-sewn. As such, we can only produce so many per month. We're making attempts to increase the number of diapers we can make in a month, but as it is we've limited it to about 20 per month. This is reflected in the waves - wave 1 would be the first 20, wave 2 would be the next 20, and so on. There's nothing saying we can't get them done faster, so these dates are far from a hard-and-fast rule. Note that as waves 1 and 2 fill up, we will add additional waves as new reward tiers - you don't have to worry about getting shut out of a diaper you like.
When you are in the embroidery business (or the embiz as the douchebag part of me likes to call it) much of it is trying to find a balance with being reasonably priced but still making a profit. Most embroidery designs are made using multiple colors of thread - our TARDIS, for instance, contains 5 different colors: three shades of blue, black, and white. (We’ve tried to refine the design further, but since we are sticklers for quality, we ditched that plan.) With a single-needle machine like the Bernina, the user threads the machine with the base color, lets it embroider all sections that use that thread, and then when it finishes, the user trims the end, replaces that color… well you get the idea. Imagine doing that 5 times for every TARDIS that we sew. There’s a lot of time spent minding the machine, and because some sections might only take a few minutes, it means you can’t really let it run unsupervised. And to top it off, a machine like our Bernina is unable to trim “jump stitches” (the extra thread left between unconnected areas of embroidery). The TARDIS has a large number of these stitches (we’ve tried to reduce it as much as possible), and all those jump stitches need to be hand-trimmed before we can mail it to you. This means 10 minutes (at least) of additional hand-finishing on every TARDIS product we sell. (We won’t even get into how long TRON takes us to trim.)
A multiple-needle machine changes things significantly. With a machine like the Amaya Bravo, you load it with up to 16 different thread colors, all of which are threaded onto their own individual needle. The machine sews the first section, trims the thread, and immediately begins embroidering the second section automatically. It’ll continue that for up to 16 colors if your design allows that without a human ever interacting with it. Common colors (like black and white) can simply be left on the machine, so that no time-consuming color changes are needed between projects. Furthermore, the Bravo automatically trims the thread between sections, meaning no additional finishing is required.
But that’s only the start of things - the Bravo is able to embroider hats, shoes, and other irregular objects that are impossible for personal machines like the Bernina. And because of the small size of the arm on the Bravo, we can embroider much smaller items like shirt pockets with ease. The larger embroidery field of 14” x 11.5” means we could do fully-embroidered throw pillows, tote bags, and jacket backs. Do we have your inner geek salivating yet? Not yet? Then please continue!
What? You don’t want to just help us live our own embroidery geek fantasy? OK, I guess we can pass down the perks to you too. In a nutshell, it means the price of most items we make will drop. In some cases, significantly. (Did you hear that? You could be paying less for future quality, geeky stuff!) As part of a demonstration, we took the TARDIS design with us to the local dealer and he let us stitch it out on the machine. The TARDIS contains about 14,000 stitches, and takes a full 50 minutes to embroider on the Bernina. (Which averages out to 280 stitches per minute, I might add - this despite the machine touting 650) On the Bravo, it completed in just a hair over 14 minutes - meaning a FULL thousand stitches per minute… three and a half times faster than the Bernina. And it LOOKED amazing, to boot!
See, we price our embroidery in a fairly methodical way. We price the machine time at a particular rate per hour (After all, you can only make one item at a time, so the more items you can make per hour, the less they cost) and our hand-finishing time at another rate. This is why our TARDIS hand towel costs $2 more than our Mushroom hand towels… they both have about the same number of stitches, but the Mushroom doesn’t need any hand-finishing at all. By reducing the machine time by almost 75% and eliminating the hand-finishing time, we’re able to reduce to retail price of the items we offer across the board.
Here’s a practical example: We’ll use the TARDIS again, but this time we’ll talk about the patches. We can make 4 TARDIS patches at a time with the Bernina 5.5” x 8” hoop. The whole set takes 160 minutes to embroider (they’re a bit smaller than the hand towel version) and takes about 45 minutes to trim (this includes cutting the material out for each patch). Because of this, we have to price them at $13 each, or we can’t really make any profit on them.
With the Bravo, we could make 15 patches at the same time using the large hoop. Since the time per patch would only be 11.2 minutes, the whole sheet would be completed in only 168 minutes. (THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME 4 TOOK BEFORE.) Trim time per patch would be down to only 5 minutes, (the time it takes to cut each patch from the base material) and we could effectively price the TARDIS patches at only $6 and still make enough to make it worth doing. This sort of savings could affect most products we make. (The patches are the most extreme example, as they don’t have the same fixed costs of a hand towel, bath towel, hat, etc…)
And hey - it means you'll finally be able to own a Seams Geeky hat or hoodie! I mean, towels are great and all, but you can't really wear them outdoors. (Well, I suppose you could... but it would be inadvisable.)
Well, no, actually. With diapers, most amount of time spent making them is hand-sewing them, snapping them, topstitching them… all things that don’t really involve the embroidery process at all. We have been increasing our workforce of people who help us sew the diapers, so that will be increasing regardless, but it’s kind of a different ballgame.
That doesn’t mean diapers wouldn’t benefit. First, the speed of producing the embroidered designs on the tush would take less time, and help speed up our process. Second, one of the fairly amazing aspects of the Amaya Bravo is that it does away with standard thread tension discs in favor of a computer-controlled tension system. This means that no matter what the fabric is or how odd the thread reacts, it always has a precisely-controlled tension. This means that the embroidery winds up looking better overall, but also is much softer to the touch. The demo TARDIS we held in our hands at the embroidery shop didn’t have the stiffness we usually experience on our products, so the end result for diapers will be a softer feel with less distortion of the fabric.
It also means we can get more than a little creative with our diapers. The bigger embroidery field means we could potentially do a diaper where the embroidery pattern filled the entire back section. Heck - we could even do a double-embroidery and make it cover the entire diaper, if we wanted. Think of a TRON diaper instead of just being a design on the butt, the design wrapped around the sides to the tabs and through the crotch to show on the front of the diaper too . That kind of thing is more than possible with this machine.
Essentially this machine would free us up to be more creative and focus more on some of the other aspects of diaper making as well.
We’ve got it broken down about like this:
- Embroidery Machine: $8,595
- Sales Tax: $730
- Freight: $450
- Cost to produce and ship reward items: $3,193
- Kickstarter and Amazon Fees: $1,282
POWER-UP Level 1
$20,500 - Upgraded Machine
If we reach $20,500 pledged, then we can upgrade the machine to a better machine with the capabilities to do wide-hat embroidery (think of a design from ear to ear) and a maximum sewing size of 11.5”x18”. This machine also comes with some top-of-the-line software to help us digitize designs faster and better. This will help reduce our digitization costs and allow us to offer custom designs at a cheaper price!
If we hit the $20,500, the gift for those who have pledged over $45 will receive an additional “OUTATIME” patch as a thank you for their amazing contribution. If you are also receiving an item like a diaper or towel, you can choose to have this design put on there instead of your original selection.
POWER-UP Level 2
$22,000 - 3D Printer
POWER-UP Level 3
$35,750 - Screen Printing Set-up
POWER-UP Level 4
$82,500 - Dye-sublimation Fabric Printer
Connect with us!
LOOK WHO IS CHATTING ABOUT OUR KICKSTARTER!
Geek & Sundry https://twitter.com/GeekandSundry
Geek Girl Con https://twitter.com/GeekGirlCon
Epicycle Designs https://twitter.com/epicycledesigns
The Geekery Page https://www.facebook.com/the.geekery.page
Geek and Gamer Girls https://www.facebook.com/geekandgamergirls Geeks Make The Best Parents https://www.facebook.com/GeeksMakeTheBestParents
Sac Geeks https://www.facebook.com/sacgeeks
Risks and challenges
With this project, not a lot of risk is actually involved - Seams Geeky has been in business for over a year and has learned how to deal with increasing demand and fulfillment needs, and has risen to the challenge well. With over 120 positive reviews on Etsy, we have a proven track record : https://www.etsy.com/your/shops/SeamsGeeky/reviews…
We've tried to give long lead times as well so that we have plenty of time to get familiar with the machine and get the items to you. Our hope is to have your items to you before the dates listed.
There is always the chance of unforseen difficulties, such as a learning curve on the new machine, or unexpected material supply issues, but we have done our best to source our materials from reputable sources, so we don't expect this to be an issue.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
By now, you've probably looked at our reward levels, and you might be wondering how we arrived at the prices for the items included there. Pricing for rewards is a tricky business - standard pricing for sale is a simple matter of determining costs and deciding what profit you need to make in order to feel it worth producing. But for Kickstarter, you're trying to raise a certain amount of money for a particular thing (and factoring in fees as part of that), so if your "profit" margin isn't high enough, you could possibly end up in a situation where your project funds, but you don't have enough money left over to cover item costs, or shipping, or even the thing the whole project was created for!
With this in mind, we approached rewards pricing from a top-down standpoint. Kickstarter fees are about 9% of your amount raised, so you have to factor that in as a fixed amount from each sale that's coming out. We then had two options - lower the profit margin (which would mean our funding limit was WAY higher than necessary, due to increased item costs) or try for a higher profit margin in order to keep the funding limit reasonable. We decided on the latter, and tried to aim for as close to 80% "profit" as possible, although on most items this is pretty far from doable... diapers especially. (To reach 80% profit margin on diapers, we'd have to price them at $100... didn't seem right to us.) We also had to include shipping as a "cost", since shipping is included as part of the reward tier. After all was said and done, our average profit margin wound up at about 77.5%, which is how we settled on the $14,250 funding goal.
All that said, we recognize that prices for these items is a touch higher than our standard retail prices. (though not as much as it seems... remember, shipping is included.) This is why we chose not to include any of our standard items as part of the Kickstarter - those are all things you can get any time of the year. We chose to go with a limited-edition model in order to make it worth your while. We really tried to make sure we came up with something people would like, and tried to keep the prices as low as we could while still being able to fund the project.
That's one of the things that Kickstarter makes a little tough to do - if you have a bunch of things, you either have to have increasing tier levels that include everything below, or you just create one level for each item. There's two options for how to address this, though.
One, and the thing we see most people recommend, is to create a second Kickstarter account for the other item. That said, it's kind of unweildy for most people to do this, so it's not the way I'd personally suggest going about it.
What we'd say is that if you want two items that aren't grouped, pledge for one of them, and then increase your pledge by the amount of the second item. We will be contacting all backers to find out what designs they want, so we will see on there the increased pledge, and will be making sure to note your other item with your pledge.
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