Sales day is quickly approaching and we are finding ourselves in a bit of a pickle. We have cast around 200 keyrings, each individual in style and a beauty to behold. This is great, very happy, these will sell well. People have been asking what they are, that they like them and would definitely by at least one as there were some they really liked. Nothing stood out as the best ones, appealing to individual styles. So what is the problem? Fingerprints. The resin we chose – polyester based – takes slightly longer to set than the polyurethane based, but we sensibly started them early so we could let them cure for longer. The problem has arisen when they were taken out of the moulds. The surface of them was a little soft and caught some of the fingerprints when they were handled. Washing them didn’t do anything, so we thought the plastic polisher would sort them out. Oh no. No it didn’t. That baby heated up the surface of the resin, melted it and spread it over the surface. It looked like a sticky boiled sweet. Dammit. Hand sanding the keyring within an inch of its life seemed to remove the sticky surfaces but it looked like a piece of glass that had been washed up on the beach – opaque. Back to the polisher. Many hours later – more like 30 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime – and some slightly burnished thumbs later and we had a shiny keyring. Tough, clear and a beauty. The major issue? We had ONE. This is going to take a lifetime. On the plus side, that polishing wheel did a great job of shining my fingernails! Smooth. Maybe I’ll try it on my face some other day.
To the problem in hand. We needed many days of solid sanding to get these to the polisher, and then many more days to polish them. I tried sanding them on an orbital sander but it wasn’t aggressive enough, a belt sander meant I almost lost a finger, so hand sanding was the only way. On multiple grits of paper as well.. What else can we do. Checking through the stock, it seemed as though the first ones we cast were tougher than the rest. They just need longer to set firm. The issue was the edges were rough. The only option I had was to carefully sand the edges of them, without touching the faces. The edge would be opaque, but the face clear. I like this combo.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
With my back in bits from being bent over the bench sanding, I was becoming more and more shaped like a prawn with every keyring, but we had some sell. Ellen and and Mat grabbed some cable and tiny little crimps we had bought and set about making our first one. Do you know what? They look great! Unique, colourful, something different. Boom! From the bowels of despair, we now have around 140 individual keyrings to sell.
Oh, and don’t forget the coasters. I took the power supply grilles off the computers, bent the edges over, and turned them into coasters. With the heatsinks, I managed to find some rubber grommets and squeeze them into the readymade holes on the feet – with the help of some lube(!!??) – so they don’t slip on a surface or leave nasty scratches. They look bang tidy! These beauties were hidden inside a beige box. What on earth? So pretty, so intricate, so many irreplaceable natural resources used, and hidden inside an innocuous box. This is not good design.
In a stroke of genius – I thank you – we managed to do a spot of guerilla marketing. Using a can of ‘donated’ snow spray, we took of paper stencil and snow sprayed our logo onto the main sliding doors on the way into the building. It can wash off with soap, so no disciplinary needed, but looks like it has been etched onto the glass. Great.
To the stand, and don’t spare the resources! Don’t worry, we didn’t. As per our company ethos, we cobbled together our stand., finding some locally sourced wooden pallets and a corrugated metal sheet (from my house, not somebody’s roof, don’t worry); we created this beauty:
After Ellen sprayed all my fingers black, the logo was on it. Ellen used her steady hand to outline the logo, covering up the hazy spray edges and I sprayed some mini logos onto the wooden pallets. A few light boxes and the stand is ready to go.
Giulia has been making packing bags for our products. The size we requested was mobile phone sized; enough to fit a business card in and to tie the top. SOME are okay. Many others are, shall we say, ‘oddly’ sized. I’m not sure what this could ever be used for…
Sales day is almost on us, so the next post will be after the big day. Will we sell anything? Will people like what we have made? Is the quality good enough? Will CalLum usurp us with his comedy keyrings? To the former: hopefully. To the later: PAH! Now that is Humorous!!