Thirty-nine. That's the number of bits and pieces that make up one Deckster, packaging, inserts and all. In our tiny workshop, each one is hand-assembled. Once packaged, after a hug and a kiss (we wipe it afterwards), it's sent into the world ready to love and to be loved.
As a design team, a company and a married couple, decisions flow through a myriad of factors before finding its final destination. One decision in particular has never wavered. The Deckster must be made in North America—without question.
Why bother? When there are simpler, cheaper and faster options just a few time zones away? Simply stated, because we can. N-Product is just us, we have no investors or stake holders to answer to. We want to create a company based on values that we believe in. This is something that is very important to us. We are passionate about our designs and we want to make them with practices that we appreciate.
When the both of us were growing up, there was still a strong and healthy manufacturing industry in North America. At that time, there was a great spectrum of products that still bore the small print of Made in Canada or Made in USA somewhere on their bodies. We like the notion of an idea and its manufacturing sharing the same place of birth.
We are practitioners of the Slow Goods movement, where objects take time to craft, are composed of quality materials and last a lifetime, or two. We have takeng elements of the Slow movement and applied it to the creation of products with our very own Wikipedia entry for Slow Goods. This involves using on-shore manufacturing, sustainable practices and small production numbers. It demands discipline and finding the right partners.
We are but one small company that has helped create this resurgence in on-shore manufacturing. We’re a family business that seeks out and partners with other family owned suppliers and manufacturers. In our small way, we want to contribute to the manufacturing resurgence in North America. Canada and the US has many small, passionate and skilled manufacturers who are motivated to do great work.
We struggled and strived and we are lucky enough to find 3 such partners in our quest to bring the Deckster to market. We believe that this added effort, time and money spent translates into a top shelf design that we are proud to produce and that you would be proud to bring into your life.
As two new entrepreneurs, we get unsolicited advice, opinions, insights, and warnings around each and every corner. While they may or may not add any real weight to our decision-making process, but they still affect us. The only two groups that I can think of that get a heavier dose of advice slash criticism are mimes and new parents.
Today, we wanted to shine a light on a couple of companies who unknowingly convinced us to pursue our dreams. By their sheer example, they help push us over that all-important threshold that transforms an inkling of an idea into a slew of constant of activity that eventually becomes a company.
This admiration goes beyond their product; it extends towards their business values and their obvious desire to do things with their values heavily baked in. Both of these companies create products that complement Apple offerings, the iPad and the iPhone 4, respectively. They both showed that a small company can compete and win fans by focusing their attention on creating a fine product and manufacturing it using on-shore methods. They provided a framework that proved successful in the competitive and ever changing Apple accessory ecosysytem. It's the old school-yard argument for start-ups. If they can do it, we can too!
Being headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, we were introduced to Dodocase through Shopify.com (our e-commerce engine). They were winners of Shopify’s Build a Business Competition. They entered an already highly cramp iPad case market and have since carved a nice slice out of the market share. We are owners of a Dodocase, and as an accessory it has achieved its main goal. We gain more enjoyment out of our iPad by using their product, I can think of no greater compliment.
Studio Neat is the maker of the Glif, an iPhone 4 stand and tripod mount. We found out about them through Kickstarter.com, where their project was successfully funded. The company is composed of two creative people who have no product or manufacturing experience. Seeing them enter the iPhone accessory market helped us be confident in our desire to enter the iPod nano accessory making business. Again, they design and manufacture the Glif in North America. We are not owners of the Glif only for the simple reason that both of us rock a 3G and 3GS, and the Glif only fits with the iPhone 4. But, rest assured that we will be customers as soon as one of us upgrades.
Dan Provost (1/2 of Studio Neat) has an excellent post on his blog about their experience. It's a great read for dreamers who want to be doers.
Both these companies operate in a space that heavily depends on the form factor as decided by Apple. The window of opportunity is quite smal, with a change interval of 1 or 2 years depending on device. And the space is more saturated than a Big One Burger. They have shown that a small company can compete with major manufacturers. If you create from a place of sincerity and thoughtfulness, with hard work success is attainable.
Hey, just wanted to post a quick video of a run through of some early prototypes along with the final model. I talk about the visual influences and decision process we had for the overall design. At the end of video, I give a better sense of the custom Pop+Lock™ mechanism that we are so excited about.
It was shot late at night while the rest of house was snoozing, so you may need to turn up the volume to hear my smooth and silky radio voice.