The Life of a Brick Oven Start Up
Friends of the Fire Things in Life,
We hope everyone is well and enjoying 2018. Sorry for the long hiatus. We know that you are probably worried and curious, and so with this update we want to share some of our TNSD perspective to put minds at ease. We've also provided updates on specific products (see below). The past 6 months have been a major challenge for us, and while we've seen many successes, we've been stressed and pushed. The company founders and working 2nd jobs to raise money, taking pay cuts, and just dealing with the challenges of real life. We've experienced several personal events in the past year, and while the your Kickstarter project is important to us, it's still a 2nd job for most of us, and we do have a work/life balance to maintain. We would have been in touch sooner, but it's been a whipsaw of news, and we've always been spread thin. With external factors interrupting the way they have, we've historically been quite unsure about how much time we would have available in the upcoming to commit to the TNSD project.
However, with all the trials and struggles, rest assured, the TNSD lives and breathes to ensure you will receive cooking products that are like nothing food has seen before.
We've had a round of questions recently that made us realize how little some do know about what goes on here with our team and company and felt we should share. Within these answers lie the true story of why things have taken more time than what we originally projected:
1) Q: Have you spent all the KS funds?
- A: Yes, in fact, long ago. Our primary goal as a company has been to manufacture and market our KS products until all Kickstarter rewards are fulfilled. To this date we have spent over $500,000 towards making our products available to you kick-starter backers (we cannot thank you enough for the continued support).
2) Q: What did our funds go towards?
- Kickstarter funds did not go directly into one specific project. The funds donated (praise you all for this) were simply added to furthering our overall goal as company. Our goal has been to fulfill all Kickstarter orders in the timeliest manner possible. However, it was always clear to us all that we need to able to swing straight into larger scale production following the deliveries of all the Kickstarter rewards. To make this all happen it takes a working facility (with the necessary people and equipment) to produce the high-quality/high volume product that we need in order to fulfill your kick starter rewards. It's very possible we could have been more short-sighted and focused on getting products out the door, but the manual process to do so would have created quality and performance issues with our products. It is our goal to send out high-quality one of a kind cooking products, and we intend to do so.
3) Q: Are other people getting products on the side, in front of KS backers?
- A: No. We have not sold any ovens to anyone else. Also, many family and friends have offered to move to the back of the line. We appreciate that gesture. If you haven't offered to move, then you still have your original place in line, based on when you backed.
4) Q:Can I get a prototype then?
- A: Unfortunately, we do not have any oven prototypes. However, we do have a few ring mounts without gaskets yet that we could consider shipping out. It will be up to you to figure out a gasket situation. If you are interested in this please call 305-923-3741, or message us on kickstarter and we can get you taken care of.
5) Q: How big is the risk that you run out of funds?
- A: We are extremely lucky in this regard. The company is funded by steady 2nd job income from the founders. On top of that we have a group of individuals that have been on board with TNSD form the beginning. Each of us are dedicated and committed to do whatever it takes to make sure our products reach your homes and backyards. We are confident that the steady amount of cash flow coming in will be more than enough to ensure our products deliveries. It is possible that we raise additional funds, but that itself takes time, and is not a necessity at the moment.
6) Q: Is the stone itself working out, or are you having problems with it? A: Great question:
- There will be challenges with maintain quality in larger batches, but we know the tooling we need to control that. The core mix and design remains extremely strong, durable and true to the property character tics marketed in our kick starter campaign. Even when making our products on a small scale, it is difficult to reproduce the same exact tolerances and dimensions every time. Once our tooling phase is complete these issues should not be as common.
- However, doing it at any scale at all, even the scale of the Kickstarter numbers, requires equipment like lifts, hoists, tables, rollers, ovens, booths, mixers, cleaning equipment, safety equipment, electric controllers, sensors, etc. Nearly all of our challenges are with these latter issues of geometric tolerances and material handling. We have had, in some instances, to redesign parts to avoid integrity issues, as we discussed in the last ring mount update (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tnsd/mobile-brick-ovens-durable-pizza-stones-exceptiona/posts/1996112). It is crucial that we do not skip this step with our ovens. Our core material performance has remained consistently tolerable and we hope to keep it this way.
7) Q: Are you going to be doing any big marketing events, demos or trips where I could see the Relic in action?
- A: Boy, would we love this. And it's coming, soon. As soon as we are able to manufacture more ovens, we plan to have a handful of them crossing the country. Unfortunately, at the moment, it is not in the budget and not our main goal (again our goal is to get you kickstarter backers your products!). Some backers will be glad to know that very little money has been spent on marketing.
- For those that are still waiting on Ring Mounts, we do apologize for the delay. We have a couple issues with applying the gaskets. As I write this team members are currently working on the new tooling and equipment necessary for gasket application. We should have ring-mounts out to you all within 30-45 days.
- Aside from all of the topics of work talked about above, we are simultaneously redesigning the Relic oven to make sure it will perform and last a lifetime. Some of the details in our re-designing of the Relic Oven include: over all aesthetic and thermal optimization, new gasket, and the tooling necessary to make our ovens efficiently, and of the highest quality. As you know, our ring mount production and plant tooling are a bit behind. Nevertheless, we remain confident and determined to getting you Relic ovens in the timeliest manner. Again, want to give you a product that is built to last. We do not want to send you something that will end up not meeting ours or you standards.
- We are currently projecting that the Relic Ovens will be available for delivery in the next 120-150 days.
The Latest Construction and Product: