About this project
Chesstache is Laura Landry and Spencer Anastasio, two friends who are obchessed. One night over drinks he taught her chess and shared with her his idea for a burlap, drawstring bag chessboard that he could easily carry with him anywhere. As a part of her ‘homemade’ Christmas in 2012, she made her version of his idea and together they decided to make this ‘thing’ happen. The name was easy, it was a chessboard you could stash and with her new found love of chess and her never ending love of mustaches, it was quickly named the Chesstache. Next the logo took shape; the rook being his favorite piece and the mustache, well... that was her. From there it was an evolution... Together they’ve developed what they believe is a product that will change how the game is played because it will change WHERE the game is played. Without further adieu, this is Chesstache.
Our mission at Chesstache is to introduce chess to a new audience or reintroduce it to those who may have forgotten. It is our goal to upcycle, reclaim, repurpose, and use minimal packaging wherever possible; convenience, style and mobility with an extremely low profile. Through the development of our handcrafted chessboards we believe we can make chess playable everywhere; from the coffee shop to the campground and everywhere in between. Each Chesstache will have its own personality and unique sense of culture-conscious style. Almost every step in production is done by hand and EVERYTHING is made in the USA. These points of difference will continue to be the driving force behind the development of our brand and goods.
The two boards currently available are made of cotton canvas. Specifically, repurposed Korean War and Vietnam War era military tarps and tents (The McArthur), and black cotton duck canvas (The Lincoln). We chose cotton canvas because of its durability and ability to withstand the test of time. We are looking to utilize additional fabrics in the development of future board styles, including mylar boat sails (The Hemingway) and leather (The Winchester), and we will continue to source other durable fabrics to make new boards from.
The squares are screen printed onto the boards using a flexible paint that will not crack or peel with the repeated folding and rolling of the board.
Do you have an idea for a fabric you would like to see the Chesstache in? Are we missing your favorite color for the squares? Let us know (email@example.com or post a comment here on Kickstarter), we’d love to hear from you - you just might be the inspiration for a future board.
In order to make the Chesstache ultraportable we knew we had to rethink the traditional chess pieces. Originally inspired by Scrabble tiles, we set out to make our pieces out of round, flat, wood discs that we would stain and decorate with the shape or name of the chess piece. As our idea evolved we looked for a more substantial wood than the balsa, used for Scrabble tiles, and decided to source maple from Maine to make the Chesstache pieces. The final pieces will be stained, tumbled, and waxed with the shape of each piece heat branded into the wood.
The pieces are stacked in ‘The Stache’, a durable, soft-touch (rubberized) plastic tube with removable endcaps. The board is then wrapped around it and secured with a leather strap and buckle.
The images that you see below and on the video are only prototypes, The Stache and pieces are still in development and we are anticipating pictures of their final design in the coming days. We’re really looking forward to sharing them with you.
Each board will have a Chesstache label sewn into the side and include a leather strap and buckle designed to match the style of board it will secure. The Chesstache will utilize minimal outer packaging, which will be consistent for both e-commerce and brick and mortar store sales.
From the first burlap board that Laura made to where the product is today, it’s been an evolution. We’ve tested and retested, designed and redesigned. Below we’ve shared a collection of pictures to illustrate the evolution the Chesstache has gone through.
The Chesstache has been busy, here are a few pics of its adventures...
The below graphic demonstrates how we will allocate your funding according to our business model.
The boards you may choose from are pictured below with renderings of the pint glass koozie and decals. You will notice a few levels of rewards seem to be the same. We've used what we call diminishing rewards to encourage early pledging. For example, on "The Obchessed" the first 15 backers at this level will get their reward for $65, the next 25 backers will get the same reward for $75, for the next 50 backers it's $85, and all other backers will receive the same reward for $95. This also applies to "The Gift & Take".
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Risks and challenges
Challenge: This is our first experience owning and running a company. We believe however that our combined skill sets allow us to perform nearly all of the necessary functions within our organization, reducing the need to outsource to third parties.
“I spent the past decade as a cosmetic executive with experience in sales, education, promotions, e-commerce, product development, and procurement within the upscale and luxury retail environments. Expressing my creative nature is compulsive and ranges from chessboards to vegetable gardens to graphic design. Its not a question of will I create, it’s a question of what I create. Along with my professional acumen and innate creativity I bring to Chesstache my sense of unexpected, niche consumer goods.” – Laura
“My legal background was especially useful in the initial stages of setting up Chesstache LLC and securing rights in our intellectual property. This will continue to serve the organization well into the future, as we are able to minimize legal fees. My familiarity in the backcountry combined with my experience as a whitewater rafting guide and ski instructor lends itself to an ability to conceptualize innovative outdoor and travel products. Also having held positions across many industries I am able to quickly adapt and learn new skill sets for the job at hand.” – Spencer
Risk: As a scarce resource there is a finite quantity of the historical canvases we are interested in using. We will look to source as much as possible but understand that we do face some limitations and new fabrics will need to be found. We also think that this fact lends itself to the uniqueness of our product.
Challenge: Currently there are four hands that make Chesstaches (Laura’s and Spencer’s). Production and fulfillment of the Kickstarter orders may prove to be a challenge depending on the response to our product. The custom components we will outsource (The Stache and the pieces) will take six to eight weeks to arrive. We will use this downtime to produce the boards so that order fulfillment happens in a timely manner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
A: We have spent a lot of time discussing the projected MSRP internally as well as polling our target demographic. Due to the cost of goods, high quality, handcrafted nature of the boards, and historical value of some of the fabrics we feel the ideal MSRP will fall between $65 and $100. We want the Chesstache to be aspirational while still being attainable and affordable. We'd love for you to weigh in, please let us know your thoughts in the comment section.
A: We discussed this at great length and concluded that we’d never find standard pieces to fit inside of The Stache which is the foundation of the extremely low profile of the board we are talking about. The stackability of the disc pieces is necessary for the design and functionality of this as a mobile board you can carry around in any vessel. Countless games have been played using these pieces in the many variations (letters, shapes and names) and they have been well received and their innovation applauded.
A: The pieces you see in the pictures we’ve provided and on the video are only the early prototypes. The final pieces will have the shape of the piece heat branded into the wood. The disks themselves are 1 3/4 inches in diameter so the piece is easily identifiable when viewing from either side of the board.
A: The board is 18 X 18 inches and the squares are 2 inches each. While we wanted the board to be mobile, we didn’t want to sacrifice the size of the squares and pieces. When the board is folded in half and rolled around The Stache the total length is 9 inches and the diameter is approximately 2 1/2 inches depending on the fabric.
A: After a lot of trial and error we think we have the process down to a science.
1. Measure and cut fabric
2. Chalk off measurements
3. Iron creases for seams
4. Serge raw edges and flip right side out
5. Fold and tuck edges
6. Top stitch and attach label
7. Screen print
A: We tested the prototypes in several camping and park situations and played many games with the wind and leaves blowing over the board. The pieces and the double ply canvas board stayed put. The Chesstache pieces are a 1/4 inch thick so the wind just passes over them. The standard King and Queen pieces did not fair as well. Now of course the product is no match for gale force winds, but in that type of weather who would be sitting outside and playing chess anyway? For those obchessed maniacs we can source other types of wood but for those looking to shave ounces off their trail pack the Chesstache is the best solution.
A: Yes, the cotton duck canvas the boards are made out of creases very little. We do recommend the board is folded in a different direction after every game to further prevent creasing.
A: It is our intention to have the boards be waterproof and washable. We are currently researching a waterproof coating for the fabrics and will continue to provide updates on this topic.
A: Customer service is a priority for us and we will offer replacement pieces and Staches should yours be lost or damaged. The strap will be replaceable for a minimal fee. Replacements can be ordered by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A: It’s a little technique we lovingly call ‘The Stack n’ Stache’. The pieces are stacked and The Stache slides over them. The Stache and pieces are then picked up together, flipped, and the endcap inserted. The reverse of this technique is used to setup the game. You can see several examples of The Stack n’ Stache in the video.
A: Absolutely, simply flip the pieces over and play!
A: Our first priority after the Kickstarter funding period has ended will be to fulfill Kickstarter orders. We plan on pre-selling Chesstaches on our website during this fulfillment period and quickly partnering with other e-tailers and brick and mortar stores that offer cool, handcrafted and unique goods (we already have several in mind). You can visit http://chesstache.com/ for an ever-growing list of our retail outlets.
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