Our names are Sarah Kirkham and Anna Warren, and we are the founders of Tactile Craftworks. Our friendship grew quickly after we met. A shared love of working with our hands eventually led us to create things together, and in January of this year we established as an LLC. By the time we first laid eyes on a laser etcher, our products had already begun to take shape, and we were combining our skills and honing our craft to make a coherent look for our goods. The night that we saw the laser cutter for the first time was like magic- it was as if a whole world of possibility opened up. We were giddy thinking of the ways we could use the technology to enhance our craft.
The decision to make a map journal was a natural choice for us. We both take pride in our hometowns, in our cities and their history. We designed other products for etching as well- 'The Good Land' series of travel mugs, etched leather clutches- but it became clear right away that the Map Journals were striking a chord with people.
Our good friends at Discovery World, the ones who introduced us to the laser cutter technology, were invaluable to us. They supported us by teaching us to get the most out of the laser etching, helping us in prototyping our design, and cheering us along. Since we began this project, we've been trading our time for theirs- teaching workshops in their lab in exchange for time using their machines. This relationship gave us the start we needed, but it's clear that we need to expand- it's time for us to purchase a laser cutter of our own. That's where you come in.
With the funds we hope to raise from this Kickstarter campaign, we plan to produce our Atlas Series map journals to keep up with the demand that we currently can't meet. How? First of all, we'd like to be able to keep our online store, craft fairs, and Milwaukee vendors fully stocked with the Atlas Series. Secondly, we want to expand the collection beyond our hometowns of Milwaukee and Chicago- and create journals and goods that feature other cities- your pages of the Atlas.
The Budget- $12,500 is a lot of money- how will we spend it?
$9500 - The laser cutter. This is the meat-and-potatoes part of our campaign- and the main thing we think we need right now to grow our business. This price includes the basic cutter machine, a lens for detailed cutting, a cooling system, a warranty on the cutter, ventilation, and a few other bits we need to get started. We're excited because we've found a laser cutter that's made right here in the USA.
$1800 - The materials. This will pay for the leather, paper, sinew, needles, brass studs, jars, cuppows and other bits and pieces that go into making our products. More specifically, the supplies to make the rewards you'll get for supporting our campaign, and the beginning of our retail inventory.
$1200 - Fees. This budget line is to pay for the necessary fees and processing charges associated with our Kickstarter campaign. No, it's not the fun part- but we'd be remiss in our planning if we didn't account for this part of the process.
More - What if we go over our goal? We will be thrilled if we hit our goal- we can't wait to get started on your Atlas Series items- but what do we have in mind if we go over? First up, graphics software- we'd love to upgrade our software. Secondly, there are some laser cutter upgrades we'd go for- a bigger cutting bed, back up laser tubes, different lenses, etc. If you all are feeling amazingly-above-and-beyond generous, some workshop upgrades (tools and supplies) and staff would be next- there are amazing people who have helped us along the way, and we'd love to be able to pay them for their time and talents.
Thank you so much for considering contributing to our campaign. We both know that we wouldn't be where we are today without the support of the amazing people around us. We're excited to take the next step in our business, and we're so grateful that you are here with us.
You'll notice that some of our rewards come from the Tactile Craftworks collection, our standard line of products. You can see many more images of the items we make at our website www.tactilecraftworks.com, but here are a few images from that collection to give you an idea of what your reward will be.
Risks and challenges
As we see it, the biggest challenge ahead for us is a technical one. We've had a lot of help with our laser etching thus far, and learning the ropes on our own machine will be an adventure. What is our plan for getting through this part of the process? Well, we have backup! The laser cutter company we've chosen builds and services their machines right here in the USA, meaning that customer service is just a phone call away. We plan to purchase a package that includes 5 hours of in depth technical support- a package designed for newbies like us. In addition to that, we've got some friends in town that are laser etcher pros, and have promised to lend a hand when we get rolling.
The other challenges that lay ahead are things that we are already facing since starting our business. We've spent the last few years learning about how to manage our inventory, how to track our accounts, how to effectively communicate with each other- and how to fit canoeing into our busy schedule. Yes, it sounds silly, but that quiet time on the river is when some of our best conversations happen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)