They're almost here. It has taken a lot of time to get these new cases available and we are so excited. This post is going to be a long one. If you would just like a summary, go to the paragraph with the bold text at the bottom of this post. If you want to stick around for the long story, let's go back to October 2014.
At this point, I am spending many hours during the day researching how to make Wallflower cases more beautiful than ever before. I came across a company that sells equipment that is used to make phone cases. I saw photos and videos of the machine doing its thing and I knew this was the next step for Wallflower. I asked for a price sheet and the owner, lets call him David. Unfortunately, the price for the equipment was a lot higher than I expected so I was hesitant.
It's December, David emailed me to let me know that a used press came available at a lower price. He assured me that the press would be perfect for my company. I was excited! I spent a few weeks going over everything to make sure that this would be a good investment. I said that I wanted to take a step forward and he sent over the invoice.
I paid for the equipment in December, it didn't arrive until early February. Sure it was sent from the UK but I was assured it would arrive in early January. We had promised that the cases would launch on January 26th so we pushed back the launch date to late February. We didn't want to do this since Sarah (she was the Shipping Manager at the time) and I were going to Malawi with the Market Colors team in March. We didn't want to launch the cases and close the shop for 2 weeks while we were away. That wouldn't be cool. Lucky for us, we didn't have to close down shop.
In early February, the equipment arrived. Upon opening the wooden crate a few sad things happened. I discovered that David had sent us the wrong printer. He had sent an old used printer that is worth $50. When we went to plug the machine in, we realized it didn't even have a plug. David forgot to mention that we would have to make our own. No worries, our electrician was able to get it working for us.
Finally, we were able to fire up the press and try to print the first case. I set the blank case into the tray so that the image would transfer. After a few minutes, the buzzer went off and the case was done. I put on my heat protective gloves and grabbed the case. I couldn't believe my eyes - the image didn't transfer completely. The image was only on the back of the phone, not around the sides as promised. I went over the directions and made sure that I was doing everything correctly. (I was.)
I quickly contacted David to see if there was anything he suggested. He basically said that I was doing everything correctly and told me to contact the maker of the machine in Korea. This threw me off. David said that he was the manufacturer. Why would he say to contact somebody in Korea? Anyways, I contacted somebody in Korea but we couldn't figure out what the issue was.
The new press that we had spent months anticipating and looking forward to did not live up to our expectations. After trying SO hard to fix the machine, it sadly didn't work out. I had to file a claim against the company and ship back the machine. (Which cost me $1,000 to send back overseas). I did get the money back but we had marked down the original cases to make room for the new ones. We had spent a lot of time preparing and trying to work on the machine.
I felt that I had let my customers down. Sales plummeted after we said that the new cases weren't coming. Things got tough.
In May, I visited a facility in Minneapolis. I found this company before I found David's company but didn't consider them because their prices were a lot higher. (I realized it was 2015 and that there is a thing called Kickstarter that people did and thought that I could pull it off, too. DUH) The new company (Sorry, I cannot share the name) has such an eye for detail and will come and set up the machine in our shop here in Pittsburgh. I was nervous but ready to start a new chapter. I knew I could raise the funds.
A month into planning for the Kickstarter, I had a lot of it already planned. I had the products selected, a video in progress, and my customers knew.
It was my mom who suggested I do something different. The new company also does printing fulfillment - they don't just make the machine. I could send my orders to them, they could print, and send the case to my customer. At first I thought this was crazy. I wanted to be independent and have control of the cases that are sent out. But, it turned out that this way is more efficient. And this is where we are now.
Starting Tuesday, we will finally do what we should have been doing all along. We will have the new FRESH Cases available along with our Original Cases. They will be shipped the same day that they are ordered, have a much higher quality, protect the case more (the ones with the inlay, I mean) and last longer. Take a peek at them here!
Sheesh, that was a long version. I am so excited but nervous about this change and I wanted to share our journey of how we finally achieved our goal of making these new cases available. These are the best cases I have ever had on my phone. For sure. I can't wait for you to have one for yourself.
Thank you for your never-ending support and patience as we are launching. You are the best.
- Amanda Opferman
Creative Director + Founder
Wallflower Design Co.