Alt pen— minimalist pen + precision tool

Created by Rotimi Solola

Alt pen is a pen with the secondary function of a precision tool

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Massive Update! Progress Report + Shipping info ***Now with pictures!!!
4 days ago – Thu, Dec 06, 2018 at 04:53:02 PM

Hi Backers!

Good news and bad news, the bad news is I was not able to hit my delivery target, but that's old news. The good news is we were able to overcome all quality issues.

I was unable to travel to China to work out the kinks, but a trusted former colleague of mine was in the area and able to offer her support in reviewing and inspecting  the color, quality, and finish of all the parts. We also employed inspection procedures at the assembly line level to ensure quality fit and finish. 

***Photo quality is so bad, my apologies, it's like they were taken with a flip phone from the early 2000's

Aluminum Alt Pen bodies
Aluminum Alt Pen bodies
This is the section of the pen that accepts the various tool bits
This is the section of the pen that accepts the various tool bits
Stainless steel Rose Gold PVD inspection and color matching process
Stainless steel Rose Gold PVD inspection and color matching process
Silver Anodized Aluminum Alt Pen inspection by the Boss!
Silver Anodized Aluminum Alt Pen inspection by the Boss!

It took me a while to get back to you on the schedule because things were literally changing everyday, and I don't want to commit to telling another date that we can't hit. That being said here's what I do know. 

Alt Pens will be shipping in early January.... Here's why:

last week my suppliers completed mass production of all parts, this week they are working on assembly, parts won't be done until early next week and then they need to inspect all parts. Once that is done they will ship parts to me in Chicago (I've selected air shipping to expedite the process, boat would've been cheaper, but I can't have you all waiting that long). Air express Shipping will take 7 days. This means an arrival date of approximately Dec 21st (assuming no delays.... yeah I know). From there I will assemble a team to perform one more inspection + insert of instruction cards (this is important, it's not uncommon for mistakes to leave the factory). There will be down time on Christmas, as I will be taking a break on that day to spend time with family. Once the final check is concluded by myself I will then take the pens to my fulfillment center in Chicago so that they can ship the packages out to you (I believe they can ship all packages out in a day or two). The fulfillment center requires 5 days to process the packages and crosscheck with kickstarter/backer-kit databases. This means they will not be able to ship the packages until approximately January 4th 2019. If you're in the US, you should receive your Alt Pen in about 1 week after shipping, if you're a global backer it could take up to 3 weeks). This was so I could keep shipping costs as low as possible. 

Long story short (but not really since you've already read all of this) Everyone should receive their pledge by the end of January. 

As you can see every step is dependent on previous steps and a delay of just one day could lead to a one week delay. This has been the most challenging part of running this campaign, please understand that so many things are out of my control and I am fully committed to delivering an exceptional product in a reasonable time frame.

Payment for Alt Pen Upgrades

If you upgraded your order through the Backer-kit survey I sent out please know that I have not yet collected payment. Backer-kit advises that payment should be collected shortly before shipping, that said I will be collecting all additional funds through backer-kit next week December 12th this means pre-orders will not be accepted after this point. 

Update your address!

The cut off to update your address will be December 26th This will allow us to have the smoothest transition once we are fulfilling the orders. To double-check or update your address please navigate to the original backer-kit survey email I sent and input your info. You can also use this link if you can't find it: https://alt-pen.backerkit.com 

To Conclude

My original fulfillment Target was December, currently I'm on track to fulfilling in January, but it doesn't take much to blow the schedule. I will pray that the process continues to go smoothly and for good weather during the shipping process. I just want you all to be happy :)

Cheers, And I hope you have a wonderful Holiday this month!

Rotimi Solola

Important fulfillment update (Please Read)
about 1 month ago – Sat, Oct 27, 2018 at 05:39:52 PM

Hello Backers,

It's been a while, and again I can't thank you enough for your support which is why this email is very difficult for me to write. Multiple quality issues have arisen during the pre-production development stage, issues regarding quality of smaller parts and the slate color. 

To make matters worse the clip suppliers keep dropping the project due to my high (but reasonable) quality standards. This is a small part but it's a very important part of Alt Pen. Normally I can let small quality issues slide, but the problem is Alt Pen is not a cheap $2 pen. You all have paid a considerable amount of money for this product and I have to make sure it meets or even exceeds your expectations. Good brands aren't built on short cuts and I don't intend on taking any.

These issue are all workable and YOU WILL receive your Alt Pen in the desired color, however this means we will not meet our December fulfillment timeline. This was an aggressive timeline from day one and I made sure to build in cushion for delays, but many of the delays have been out of my hands. 

The good news is my primary supplier is still on board and their parts are looking great! Furthermore my Partners in China are very responsive so when a sub-supplier drops, they immediately begin partnering with a new one. 

Unfortunately this is not the 1st time a supplier has dropped my project, but we bounce back every time. The Challenge is once we get a new supplier we need to get them up to speed with their execution of the part so this obviously costs money and time.

This is a bit of a rollercoaster but my Design training has prepared me for all of this, and I'm reacting as best/quickly as I can. 

This update is coming to you later than I had hoped because I was waiting on an updated production schedule so I could inform you. Unfortunately It will be a little longer before I can provide an updated production schedule, but definitely we're looking at fulfillment for early 2019.

Thanks again for your support, I really hope you understand that This project means so much to me and I will make sure you're all happy at the end of the day. I will keep you posted as we get back on track.

Cheers,

Rotimi Solola

PRE-ORDERS Now live!
3 months ago – Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 01:32:39 PM

If you missed the Alt Pen kickstarter campaign, or would like to order more, now is your lucky chance! 

I am now taking pre-orders for Alt Pen. Keep in mind that priority will be given to the kickstarter backers, but more than likely all units may end up shipping at the same time!

Visit the link below to Pre-Order, and as always don't forget to share with people you know would love this product!

https://alt-pen.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

Stay posted by following the Facebook and Instagram pages

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HUGE UPDATE!!!! SAMPLES + PRE-ORDERS + Production RAMP
3 months ago – Wed, Sep 12, 2018 at 06:32:37 PM

PRE-ORDERS

First of all! If you or anyone you know missed the kickstarter campaign and really want an Alt Pen, Please check back here for updates. I will be opening up pre-orders in a matter of days. Keep in mind that All kickstarter backers will have priority during the fulfillment process.

SAMPLE UNITS

Alt Pen in Anodized Aluminum "Slate" sitting inside the custom packaging with all tools and and extra ink refill.
Alt Pen in Anodized Aluminum "Slate" sitting inside the custom packaging with all tools and and extra ink refill.

The sample units are in! My suppliers ran a small batch of 20 pens to evaluate mass production issues and concerns. We've been through 5 total prototype iterations for both the packaging and the pens. Product development is an intense process especially when you go it alone, but I feel right at home and I'm very excited to share the images that my photographer snapped on super short notice (samples arrived on Monday).

Alt Pen in Anodized Aluminum Slate, Silver, and Light Gold
Alt Pen in Anodized Aluminum Slate, Silver, and Light Gold
Alt Pen Stainless Steel Edition in "Contrast Chrome" and "Rose Gold"
Alt Pen Stainless Steel Edition in "Contrast Chrome" and "Rose Gold"
Alt Pen Stainless Steel Edition inside the custom packaging.
Alt Pen Stainless Steel Edition inside the custom packaging.

 ISSUES TO RESOLVE

We're so close! The fit and finish on these units are so good (and I'm very critical about these things). These samples look amazing in person an I can't wait to share them with you!

But unfortunately there are still some issues that need resolving I regret to inform you that fixing these issue will most definitely resolve in a production delay. I'm schedule to speak with my suppliers this week to discuss the issues. I'll let you all know what the schedule impact will look like once I know.

Please see issues below

 Most of the issue are related to the cap clip. As you can see the quality of the logo is poor, there are indents around the logo that where never in the previous prototype. 

The second major issue is the clip bend radius is not to spec, nor is it consistent across samples, this putts added tension on the clip and makes it harder to secure the cap to pen body, it also looks bad and causes a large gap between parts. I'm a Nigerian Designing in American, manufacturing in China, expecting German level precision... I know I'm asking for a lot.

You might ask yourself "Hey Rotimi These are small changes, why will this affect the schedule?" Well I'm glad you asked: because I have to send a detailed report to the factory, schedule a call with the president of the company (because his English is the best) and he's incredibly busy, then he needs to communicate my requests to his team, and then they make some samples. The clip itself goes through multiple steps in the production cycle and is more complex than it looks. Then they'll ship the parts to me (that's an extra 3-4 business days express) and finally I review them. All this has to happen before I give them the green light to mass produce these clips. There are ways of staggering the production of parts at different times, but I need to discuss with my supplier to find the best course of action.

Most likely production will ramp early October (this is 1 month later than I was planning for, but I did build some cushion in my schedule so let's see what happens.

Thank you guys for all you support! I'm supper excited and I hope you are too!

Only 24 hours left to fill out your survey! + Updates
4 months ago – Thu, Aug 09, 2018 at 02:26:59 PM

There are still some stragglers, If surveys aren't completed by tomorrow you will not have the option to select the Alt pen color that you want. 

Locking addresses

Don't worry you will have until the end of October to lock down your address (I will let you know if anything changes with the schedule). If your address is not provided in the survey, by the time I start processing and shipping you may not receive your Alt Pen. 

Updates

So far we are a bit ahead of schedule (but that could all change very quickly). My suppliers have begun prep for mass production and I will be receiving pre-production samples at the end of the month (or start of next month). Mass production will run for about 1 month and then all units will be shipped to a warehouse in Chicago! There will be multiple points of inspection between now and final product, and if there are any issues I will address them ASAP (in my experience issues always arise, but my number one priority is to ship a quality product to you no matter what).