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I'm sure you've asked yourself countless times, "What would it look like if M.C. Escher made cookie cutters?"
317 backers pledged $7,168 to help bring this project to life.

I think it's time for a long post...

I missed my Halloween deadline (which I'm really bummed about) and I need to bring you up speed where I'm at.

From the Beginning...

So, the project closes and we surpass the goal. Very exciting.

It's going to be about 3 weeks until the funds are released, but I have a lot to do. I find an engineer and he starts creating the CAD models for manufacturing.

I also need to start getting bids and estimates on all the other aspects(packaging, shipping, UPC codes, etc.). My head does not usually work in such an organized fashion, so I reached out to a friend (and backer) to help me. He put together this magical thing called a spreadsheet and we started going over the numbers.

About this time I was contacted by a writer for the Food Network magazine about putting the cutters in their December issue. Very cool. With the great support of the Kickstarters and now this outside confirmation we started looking at turning this into a real business. I have 10 designs total that I would like to sell, and with the focus and encouragement, I'm sure more would follow.

But there were 2 problems with making the cutters out of plastic. The setup costs are $3,000 to $5,000 for each cutter design, and the perceived value of plastic cutters is low because China cranks out millions of plastic cutters for pennies.

A Change in Course...

So, we looked into metal. The metal cutters looked and felt a lot better than the plastic cutters, and they had some other benefits. There was no huge setup fee, and no need to order thousands to keep the costs down.

We found a couple places in the US that could make them, and sent a design out for a bid. The bids came back higher than expected, and we realized that a lot of it had to do with the complexity of the design. A typical cookie cutter is a closed loop. They cut one length of metal, bend it into a shape, and weld the ends together. This is how they've set up their manufacturing process, and it works well for them. My Christmas cutter would be 6 pieces of metal and 7 weld spots. There's more labor involved, but the main difference is that the whole process is specialized for each cutter.

Not deterred, we got some metal and equipment, and made some prototypes. They looked good. The metal was too thin, we needed to clean up the edges and be more precise with our welds, but we felt confident that we could do the manufacturing in-house.


Time to Put the Pedal to the Metal...


The money is available and we order 200 pounds (half of what we need) of Stainless Steel. We buy a bunch of tools and equipment. The tools we really need won't fit into the budget, so we get creative.

Everything takes 2 weeks to get here.

We're getting samples of printing and shipping boxes. Writing a provisional patent application and researching bulk shipping requirements.

The metal comes in and we start to work with it. The weight and thickness feel really good, but the rigidity is making it harder to work with. We wanted it to be as rigid as possible, because with the repeating pattern in the shape, it needs to match up with each cut. We have to replace some equipment, and we start working on designing the most efficient process to build the cutters.

We make the printed package design and get it off to the printer, order supplies for level bonuses, and start baking test batches of cookies with the new prototypes.

We cut hundreds of lengths of metal and start to hem(top folded edge) and shape them. The edges that stick out have a sharp point on them and rounding them off with a grinder. The individual shaped pieces look great and are starting to pile up, but we're having problems with the welding.

The first spot welder we bought worked great on the thinner metal, but at the highest setting, it's not making a solid enough bond on the thicker material. We buy a second, more powerful spot welder, and it's scorching and melting the metal.

While going through that, the printing and supplies come in and look great. I get your addresses, and I'm ready to get product out in time for Halloween, but the welding thing has me stalled in the home stretch.

So, where are we...?

Once I get this welding problem cracked, we'll be able to start the final assembly and packaging for shipping. That's where 100% of my focus is right now.

We’ve accomplished a lot in 75 days, and we're getting there, I really appreciate your patience and support.

Thanks,
Keith
p.s. Oh, and sadly after working with them for a few weeks, they ended up cutting the piece in Food Network magazine. Kind of a bummer, but I have a contact over there, and I'll hit them up again in the spring with the new designs.  :o)

Comments

    1. Creator Lisa Bakajza on October 24, 2012

      Has anyone ever received their cutters? I was going thru old email and realized this never was sent to me. That is almost a year ago since Keith sent a project update. Not a great way to do business.....

    2. Creator Terry Lee Long on December 12, 2011

      yeah, I'm with Christiane. I was excited about this whole kickstarter thing but after this experience definetly don't want to do another one.. Looks like I'll be making Christmas cookies the old fashioned way :( I do believe your backers deserve an update.

    3. Creator Christiane Boehme on December 12, 2011

      Hi Keith, we hoped that the cookie cutters would be here by now, in time for christmas baking. I promised to bake for the school party thinking i have the fast solution of making cookies but it doesn't look like. We have not heard from you for over a month and i must say i am not to happy about that.
      I would be willing to come and pick them up if you have them ready since i am in Austin. This way i won't have to wait until the packaging problem is solved and have them on time. Please let me know if that is possible. Thanks so much. Kind Regards Christiane @ janni_boehme@hotmail.com

    4. Creator Suzanne Gill on December 11, 2011

      I know we missed getting thse by Halloween wich wasn't to big a deal. Any idea on when they may ship out now? I was really hoping we'd get these by Christmas!

      Thanks!!

    5. Creator Mycroft on December 2, 2011

      Hey, haven't heard from you in a month. How's it going?

    6. Creator Crickett Jacks Hutchinson on November 10, 2011

      Look how much you've learned!

    7. Creator Keith Kritselis on November 4, 2011

      Thanks everybody for the encouraging words. I keep reminding myself that this isn't rocket science, I just need to find the right tools and techniques.

    8. Creator Keith Kritselis on November 4, 2011

      Kimberly, I just RSVP'd for the meeting. Looking forward to meeting you. :)

    9. Creator sean tompkins on November 4, 2011

      Welcome to the world of innovation! There will always be snags - don't let it get you down. I'm happy to see you've chosen quality over quick production - I'm more than happy to wait a bit and let you work out the details. Keep up the great work!

    10. Creator G.J. Roche on November 3, 2011

      Murphy's law in play! Wishing you smooth sailing with the rest of your project!

    11. Creator G.J. Roche on November 3, 2011

      Murphy's law in play! Wishing you smooth sailing with the rest of your project!

    12. Creator Melissawatkins on November 3, 2011

      Keep up the hard work. I know it will all be worth it in the end!

    13. Creator Jeanne Kurella Gazafy Pasternak on November 2, 2011

      Thanks for update. I will be happy, when U r Happy! I am in no hurry. Good Luck

    14. Creator Mini Angel on November 1, 2011

      Thanks for the update. As you learn,we learn. I find it exciting to be in on something so inventive from the ground floor.
      We are still backing you:-)

    15. Creator Kimberly Chapman on November 1, 2011

      Well you're still welcome to come to the November Austin cake club meeting to tell the whole sordid tale if you want. See http://www.meetup.com/cakedecorating-132/ for details. We'd love to have you even if it's just to hang out!