Our number one priority right now is fulfilling our Kickstarter campaign that we are still thrilled with our success in. All other projects are taking the backseat for now. So if you are a Kickstarter backer keep reading for a few updates, and if you’re a fan following along you may find this interesting as well.
First of all we don’t look at our backers as customers, we look at them as supporters who would like to see us succeed with our venture. With that in mind we have no qualms about transparency as we grow and learn. We’ve found we have backers way nicer than we could imagine, and we’re happy letting them know what we learn as we go. So this post is an update for our backers, but also this post may be a great resource for anyone who has thought of running a Kickstarter of your own, and how the fulfillment process works. This would’ve been a solid resource for us as we did our research.
If you have been following along, you may have noticed we have encountered a slight delay with our project. These delays were unexpected, but they are not unheard of. We originally expected fulfillment in late October/early November for all products, and this is how we calculated that timeline during the summer-
FNO offers a window to its fans and backers into the manufacturing process, fulfillment process, and a few valuable lessons learned.
Payment processing (Bank Transfers, 1-2 days)- 9/17
Manufacturing confirmed- Manufacturers order specified materials and construct respective quantities. The general rule in soft goods is to expect a 45-60 day manufacturing process.
Over the last two years we searched out reputable manufacturers who worked with respected brands in the outdoor industry. Over the summer (July/August) all of our manufacturers we’ve been working close with gave us the green light- They were ready to work when we were ready. Further we were happy to find they were in a slower season for outdoor gear so they expected to be able to manufacture our quantities on the quicker end of that spectrum and possibly even before 45 days.
Inbound Shipping- You have two choices here- Ship by sea which tacks on a few more weeks, but is dramatically cheaper, or ship by air which is much, much quicker albeit more expensive. If we had the few weeks to spare we planned to save money by sea, but we planned to make this decision towards the conclusion of manufacturing.
Outbound Shipping- Add on 1+ week here to include multi-product orders and international shipments which would be the last to go.
- All Kickstarter payments are not processed for 2-3 weeks. We heard this fact beforehand, but after talking to previous successful campaigners we found that the majority of the funding comes in early so there were little problems for most here. The Monday following our campaign we did not have the funds available. So the week following success we managed to dip into our own accounts to get the process started up on all products.
- The manufacturing process started on all products and we were content. As we've been following up on the timeline we found there were two challenges-
1) For the blanket, we intentionally tried to source a unique filling. The supplier for this filling was new to our manufacturer, which in turn was not as streamlined as a process as the normal filling purchase. This created a slight delay as all materials we’re being accumulated for production.
2) Over the span of two months “slow season” kicked up, and our hopes of an early or 45 day manufacturing time began to dissipate.
So where are we now and what have we learned?
After the starting gate payment delay, 45 days production was actually just this Monday (early November). The remaining products are currently being manufactured and we expect completion closer to the standard rates of production.
If you’re a supporter on Kickstarter you know that this is our first foray into larger-scale manufacturing, and we admit there is still even more to be learned in this process. Given the confidence of our previous smaller purchases we had the optimism for a late October fulfillment. We now have developed a better understanding of the timeline, and what challenges to anticipate for future orders.
This knowledge is a valuable tool for the future. In addition there are many positives to take from our fulfillment experience.
Nearly 1/3 of our orders have been fulfilled when we set ourselves a challenging goal. As far as timing is concerned our waffles will arrive right in time for the cool months, while our blankets were set to arrive at the end of blanket season and they still will. We have made sure that all shipments (inbound) will be sent via Air to make sure that the orders will not be delayed any further. Also while it was our goal to be part of the exclusive group of timely Kickstarter projects, we have no intentions of joining some of the more notorious groups (Most Popular Kickstarter Projects and When They Shipped). We plan to join the slightly tardy group. We’re still working hard and getting gear produced. We would rather have quality gear made correctly to our specs than rushing through an order.
Finally thank you for your interest in Father Nature Outdoors and watching us grow. Our supporters are there for us, so we are here too for any questions. Feel free to email us or message us on Kickstarter. We hope this post serves as a guide for future Kickstarters, but also as a window into the inner workings of fulfillment here at FNO. We’re more than open to sharing our knowledge with our fans and supporters. So thank you for supporting us as we continue to learn and grow, and we’ll have some gear for you to enjoy before you know it!