December Countdown Shipping Update

2 Mins
December Countdown Shipping Update
For the last 2 months, our team has been focused on 2 objectives: 
  • Getting Countdown out as we envisioned from the toy itself, to the packaging, instructions and all the other details that make a product complete.
  • Delivering Countdown before Christmas to our earliest backers.
Unfortunately, both of those goals weren't able to align and we had to prioritize on making sure the manufacturing process was up to our standards. During the manufacturing process, we ran into multiple unforeseen hiccups from unavailable parts to finished quality problems. There are likely ways we could have rushed through those issues, but delivering a subpar product was never in our mission statement.. and that's not what our first customers want or deserve.

Manufacturing Update

Countdown is being manufactured right now. All of the hard bits - plastics, electrical components & packaging, have been approved and are being created as I write this. The only item outstanding is approval of the instruction manual (a 4x folded sheet of paper) and an insert with 'Quick Setup' instructions. Neither of those are gating items.
We originally worked with our manufacturer to complete a few hundred units so that we could airship those to our facilities ASAP, hoping for a Christmas miracle. That first batch of toys is now planned to complete right at the end of the month with the balance of our order (thousands of units) to finish toward the end of January.

Current Delivery Schedule

Short answer: Between mid/late-January to late February.
Really long answer: Shipping right now is a mess. If you've seen the news or ordered anything online (and we know you have!), you know that normal delivery times are much longer than expected. This is true for international shipping as well, either by air or ocean freight. Since we'll be missing Christmas, we now have to re-evaluate options to determine the most effective method to get Countdown out the door. 
Toward the end of January, we'll be ocean freighting thousands of Countdowns to our warehouse. Those should arrive to us at the end of February. That's a definite.
The harder decision we need to make is: 
should we airship an early batch of a few hundred units in early January to fulfill outstanding orders. The variables absolutely include cost, but also environmental impact and need. As a Public Benefit Corporation, we must focus on people, planet and profits, of which this decision straddles all 3. 
This image for air vs ocean freight sums it up succinctly:
Air-shipping is a lot more expensive, and very not-good for the planet. However, it allows us to have units in ~1.5 month earlier for our pre-sales customers. Additionally, we'd have stock available for sale while we wait for the ocean shipment to arrive, which benefits our marketing and sales plans.
Some of that assessment won't be possible until after the holiday rush and the first few hundred units are fully ready to ship. Costs may come down drastically and, with it, environmental impact (unfilled space on a plane is much worse for the environment than filled space, though that may sound counter-intuitive at first). We just don't know yet, but we want you to see what we're working with clearly.
Rest Assured, Countdown Is Coming!

We'd Love to Hear From You

What are your thoughts? Is late February a deal-breaker for you? What are your thoughts on environmental impact vs earlier delivery?