This is the easiest but strangest update we've had to write...
As the dust settles we're sort of left here looking around wondering "What the h*** just happened?"
Especially here toward the end, we put our heads down and focused intently on finishing strong and so you will have to excuse us if this update is a little too much to the point.
All Kickstarter rewards have shipped!
Except for the people that still haven't filled out their surveys, you should have received your notifications that your orders have shipped and your tracking info should be available.
All Pre-Orders have shipped!
Except for the very recent orders within the last week or so, you should have received your notifications that your orders have shipped and your tracking info should be available.
Thank you for your patience! Thank you for your support! Thank you for bringing the Cache Belt to life!
After 2 years of pouring everything we have into this project, it's time for us to rest up, regroup, and prepare for the next steps in the life of the Cache Belt.
We need some time to process this saga and take a quick breather.
We will still be available to help you with any of your customer service needs, so please reach out if you have any questions or concerns (firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-846-4633). We, of course, will update you soon with the next developments. Meanwhile...
This is the beginning, not the end - Join in!
Now that you are part of an elite group of Cache Belt owners. Join in on the conversation and share your caching experience. We created a Facebook Group to assemble the tribe of Cachers to compare, contrast, and collect ideas: https://www.facebook.com/groups/207531269848978/
If facebook isn't your thing, you can always tag your Cache Belt photos on Instagram with #MyWazoo
You have been bugging us for an update and have every right to. We said we would put one out weeks ago. Sorry if this caused any confusion, anxiety, frustration, etc, we've just been a little busy... SHIPPING BELTS!!!
We chose to focus more on actually processing and shipping than talking about processing and shipping. We're almost up to Backer 3,000 of 4,500 and our pace is quickening!
Also, we have some "surprises" that we wanted to be able to properly bring to your awareness. See below!
We hope you trust us that your belts have been the highest priority in our LIVES. This isn't a 9-5 for us, it's a 24/7/365 responsibility and every decision we make we ask, "Is this getting us toward our goal with minimal compromise?" And our goal right now, as it has been from the beginning of this project, is to get you belts that we are proud to provide and you are proud to wear.
A few weeks ago when we received The shipment of buckles, we thought the finish line had arrived. Unfortunately, after going through and individually scrutinizing buckle-by-buckle, we felt like the quality still was not there. This had us scrambling for a quick solution and we can now say, we have buckles we can be proud of, and we hope you are too!
Our solution... Sand-blast (again) each buckle and re-coat (again) them locally with Cerakote™!
Didn't these already have a PVD coating?
Does this significantly add costs to the buckles?
Does that affect my pledge/pre-order?
Absolutely not! We are eating all the additional costs even if it darn-near kills us! Don't worry, we've become gluttons for this sort of self-imposed masochism.
Wow, that was a big surprise, any more?
Yes, it's at this time, that we would like to announce that we upgraded every buckle up to being made out of stainless steel. That's right, if you have a buckle from us, it's made of 304 stainless steel!
What if I paid $10 extra for the black stainless steel buckle?
Yours is stainless steel too of course. We hope you don't feel swindled because now the gray buckles are stainless steel too. Black is still an elite color and we are discussing not even offering it in the future. It's a completely Wazoo-custom Cerakote™ color that took dozens of prototypes to get just right.
Cerakote™? What's all this Cerakote™ stuff?
"Cerakote is a Polymer-Ceramic Composite coating that can be applied to metals, plastics, polymers and wood. The unique formulation used for Cerakote ceramic coating enhances a number of physical performance properties including abrasion/wear resistance, corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, impact strength, and hardness. Each of these properties is rigorously tested to guarantee that Cerakote products remain at the forefront of the ceramic coatings market. Cerakote ceramic coatings utilize state-of-the-art technology to out-perform any competitive coating in both laboratory settings and real world applications."
As far as new coatings go, we had investigated Cerakote as an option way back in the design process and really didn't have a downside other than significantly increased cost. Well, we're more sick of this project than you are and and we're going to finish strong or go broke trying! You've all be upgraded to Cerakote! We're paying even more out of pocket to get the PVD coating blasted off and Cerakote applied. How does Cerakote compare to the PVD? It blows it out of the water! The look of these buckles is exactly what we've been shooting for and the durability is outstanding! And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Cerakote works like paint so the future possibilities are endless: Colors, logos, camo patterns, custom designs, etc.
We were fortunate enough to have one of the best Cerakoters in the country in our backyard CERAKOTERS.COM
We can't recommend them enough! They have met our extremely high quality expectations when it seemed no else could. They have pushed the limits of contemporary assumptions about Cerakote applications and have that "figure it out", "can-do" attitude that seems so rare these days. If you're looking to protect something made of plastic, steel (especially firearms), wood, these are your guys!
Speaking of great partners... We wouldn't still be here if we didn't have great friends! Check out some new stuff some of our friends have been up to!
A Non-Metallic Razor-Blade Knife that fits in your Cache Belt? The Backnife
Upcoming Events we'll be at... and you can too! Flintlock South East, hosted by Flint & Steel Critical Skills Group
(Don't worry, we'll still have our gas on the petal shipping belts!)
And unfortunately it's a little late to jump on their Kickstarter, but our friends at Kokopelli, recently came out with a new Rogue Packraft!
In summary, we are shipping at consistent and quick rates and already have thousands of belts (with Cerakoted stainless steel buckles) out in the world. If we haven't gotten yours out yet, sit tight, double check your shipping information, and pat yourself on the back. Your patience has been incredible and we thank each one of you for allowing this project to keep going despite the MANY, MANY hurdles/set-backs/challenges/difficulties/strings-of-bad-luck we've encountered.
Yes, I know your mind probably just exploded but bear with us for a quick update:
What does it all mean?!
We can FINALLY get this project moving again.
We're going to keep this short because we now have a mountain of belt buckles to inspect, prep, and package up with belts.
There is a TON (actually multiple tons) of work to do!
So please, harass us as little as possible over the next 4-8 weeks so we can focus on moving these belts out the door. If you have any need to contact us, please do so by giving us a call 8AM-5PM central time (281) 846-4633
We know everyone is itching for more updates and more information, but the best information we have right now is that we're still on track with the prior update.
We have a batch of about 7,000 buckles, including both gray and black versions, set to arrive mid-February (that's only a couple weeks away!). It will take us at least a full week to inspect all the buckles, weed out any rejects (hopefully not many this time around) and start shipping them out by the end of the month.
In the event that there are not enough buckles that pass inspection to fulfill ALL the kickstarter pledges and pre-orders, we will be filling Kickstarter pledges first, and proceeding chronologically through pre-orders. The most recent pre-order customers may have to wait for the next batch to arrive which is currently slated for May to June timeframe.
So, barring no further bad juju, the light is finally at the end of the tunnel. Keep your fingers crossed, pray for the shipment, throw a virgin in a volcano, or whatever other blessings we can bestow upon this shipment to ensure it arrives safe and sound and to the expected quality level.
We'll be trying to contain our excitement here as we narrow in on the final weeks of delivery and we'll be sure to update you as soon as we have more information to share. Thank you all for the ongoing support. Your patience and perseverance is certainly something to be admired!
We are a small business but we sell a hefty load of custom products outside of Kickstarter (don't believe us, see HERE). As a small company, we have a small team that has been working long hours all year long crafting gear, fulfilling orders, and pushing every day to get the Cache Belt project finished up. We took some time off over the holidays to spend with our families and recharge the physiological batteries so we're ready for the challenges that 2018 will hold.
YOU TOOK VACATION/LAUNCHED NEW PRODUCTS INSTEAD OF SHIPPING BELTS?
Nope! The Cache Belt is and always will be our #1 priority until it's completely fulfilled. Although we have canceled travel plans in the past to ensure the Cache Belt project moves along as quickly as possible, this was not one of those cases. The changes we required from our manufacturer required a 3-week sampling process to verify the fix. We lucked out, for once, and this waiting period fell directly over the holidays. (yes, we can hear you yelling from here "Shenanigans! You're lying to us." but can't we just accept a small win for what it is?).
We have had products, like our new Viking Whetstones and new Blacktical Cache Cap (Launching today), that have been in the works for years, but are just now ready for the public. We haven't slacked an ounce from the Cache Belt project, despite if it looks like we are doing other things. We just have to keep the fire burning on the back-burners for our business while we all eagerly await the buckles to come in.
WHY DIDN'T YOU UPDATE US BEFORE YOU LEFT?
These days we are very cautious to pass on information from our manufacturers until we have something certain. Too many times we've regurgitated what we are told only to be left with egg on our face when they fail. There was honestly no change from the prior update. We gave the manufacturer our required fixes and we were waiting for them to implement the changes and prove success with a batch of samples.
SO YOU FINALLY HAVE SOMETHING NEW TO SHARE?
We sure do! And it's finally good news. The latest samples came in and they are finally looking great! The new process involves polishing every buckle to a near mirror finish to remove all the nicks and dings, blasting with a 120 grit abrasive to give us that nice matte finish, and finally coating with our black and gray PVD. We thought the solution to the nicks and dings that we received in the first batch would be easy to avoid. Instead, we had to push the manufacturer to test and retest every conceivable sequence to come up with a process that would eliminate the cosmetic damage but result with the aesthetic we set out to achieve from the beginning. There was a lot of back-and-forth and us saying, "well, it's better, but what if you try..." Sorry, we didn't anticipate that the problem-solving sequence would take several weeks and we naively thought that they would be ready to quickly implement the new process.
SO WHEN WILL I GET MY BELT?
Likely within 1-4 Weeks after we get the buckles! It all depends on when you backed the project, and how long the shipping itself takes (obviously international takes longer to be delivered). There are 6000ish buckles that have been stamped, polished, and are currently being assembled. From there they will be sent off to plating, quality checked, packed, and shipped. The current estimates show we should have this 2nd batch of buckles in hand before Valentine's Day!
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?
Looking back, it's now clear why most Kickstarters don't deliver on time or get forced delivering a sub-par quality product. If we didn't have our existing company and product line to keep us afloat over the last year, these repeated manufacturing delays and expenses would have likely forced us into delivering an item that would ruin the reputation of the company or even led straight to bankruptcy with no fulfillment at all. We're thankful that our employees have stuck it out, worked endless hours, and had the capacity to juggle a project of this magnitude on top of daily operations.
We wouldn't be here if not for our diehard team, the Wazoo customers, and your unbelievable patience and support. The light is finally at the end of the tunnel!
IF I ORDER ______ FROM YOUR WEBSITE, CAN YOU JUST SEND IT WITH MY BELT?
Some of you have been graciously supporting our website with sales of our other products while you wait for your belt. If you order from our website, we can ship immediately, but we cannot combine it with your Cache Belt pre-order. We have to process them on 2 different systems, unfortunately.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT THE BELT?
"Well, my cache belt has become the only belt I wear. No complaints whatsoever." ~ Todd E.
"Hi I backed you in kick starter and I have my belt def worth the wait!!" ~ Mark S.
"Thank you. I received my belt today. I must admit the quality is outstanding. I’m still trying to fit all the survival gear in but this is the fun part of owning such a cool belt. The next part is the reassurance knowing I have gear with me everywhere I go." ~Phill K.
"Got my belt....love it, lots of storage room. I opted for the reject buckle and i could not tell where it was damaged............works great." ~ Camp Cook
"Got my belt today. It fits great and I appreciate the design that went into the buckle (solid and positive lockup). Well worth the wait." ~ Andrew
"Got my belt, long time but seems like a good belt! Thank you guys, was worth the wait." ~ Amir
"Got mine! And I must say, definitely worth the wait in my opinion! I put my daily medication and emergency cash in there along with the kit that came with it! It fits nicely and doesn't feel bulky, and you really do forget how much you're carrying! Awesome job, team!" ~ CJ E.(Superbacker)
"Well I have waited a long time got my belt a few weeks ago and I can say it’s been worth the wait! Thanks" ~ Mark
"I am writing to inform that I have received my cache belt. I know I've been a pretty difficult customer toward the end of all this, but I have to admit - everything is in there, looks nice...My experience with Wazoo since receiving the belt have been quite wonderful." ~Alex N.
WHAT'S ELSE IS GOING ON?
Puffy Kachula - A Cozy & Functional Blanket Ready for It All
Our friends over at Coalatree are at it again! This time with the amazing Puffy Kachula Blanket. Made from recycled materials the puffy is virtually waterproof and stain proof. Get yours now!