CW&T had a great idea: make a stainless steel high-quality pen so small that it fits into a custom ruler. This two-person team only needed a little dough to turn their dream into a reality. Enter the Kickstarter campaign that well exceeded their expectations nearly a hundred times over. Over 4,000 people agreed with CW&T that the world needed a high quality pen. And for only $50, backers were promised their very own pen that would later retail for nearly double that amount. You would have been a fool not to send them your money.
At this point, the story should have gone something like this. All that idea-supporting money goes into processing, delivery expenses, and making sure that everyone at the company doesn’t starve until they can get the product into retail stores. Backers receive their pens soon after the first batch is made, money exchanges hands, and capitalism lives for yet another day. But in the case of Pen Type-A, CW&T, and all of their backers, this is far from what actually happened.
As reported on notcot, CW&T approached an American/Chinese manufacturing company (JOIGA) to help them with the high number of orders from backers. JOIGA railroaded the production of the pens with excuses, which created massive delays, and ultimately caused them to under deliver in their orders to the over 4,000 Kickstarter backers. Since backers send the money up front before production begins, you can only imagine the sort of irate messages and comments coming from those who put their faith and money into this pen.
Now to add further insult to injury, not two days ago a company called Torr Pens released a convincing knockoff of the same design and quality. While you could make the argument that a good idea can happen in more than one place, as it turns out, the head of the manufacturing company also runs JOIGA, the original company CW&T turned to help them fulfill their own orders for the Kickstarter campaign.
Without pens, and now having their design stolen by the same company they trusted to help them, CW&T continues on with the support of their fans. The company that posted the knockoff online has recently pulled the sale of the pens. Others have gone to the Torr website to voice their disapproval of the new pen.
As Backers or budding entrepreneurs, we need to remember that Kickstarter is the first step in an often-long process from idea to development. We've seen similar situations before, like in the case of Star Command, where even a successful campaign can put you in debt. Add in the cost of making posters, t-shirts, paying taxes on everything, and trying to ship the actual product, and that seed money can quickly dry up. As long as we remember that a successful Kickstarter is only a step in a long journey, then maybe we can soften these pitfalls when they occur.