Production Update: Feb 20th 2022
TLDR; YES, production issues are solved and 85 decks have been successfully printed in a pre-production run. We are making a few more tweaks, will have one more pre-production run to further test die-cutting and then resume full production. Full production is anticipated to resume in March; you’ll receive an update when production is near finished and the decks have been shipped off to the guilder. See below for a timeline of all the steps involved.
I hope this year is off to a good start for everyone. I’m happy to announce that the stars aligned ⭐⭐⭐ and we now have paper, the production machines fixed, and the current printer has resumed printing with a pre-production run. To date, we have successfully printed 85 decks on the fixed machines. We have approved these prints, will run one more pre-production run to further test the due-cut, and then full production is expected to resume in March (I do not have the date yet) according to the printer’s schedule.
After this milestone is reached, the next steps before reaching your hands are:
- Gilding the sides of the decks (involves shipping to a 3rd party, then returning them)
- Packaging them into the boxes (the boxes are already finished)
- Receiving completed sets from the printer
- Shipping out to each of you
Your next update will come when printing is closer to completion and the decks have been shipped to the gilder. Once back from the gilder and while being packed into their final boxes, I’ll have a better estimate of the actual date when the decks will be in your hands.
About our project delays
As you know, we’ve been waiting for three major road-blocks to be cleared:
- A broken machine at the printer and supply chain issues getting parts for its repair
- The machines and die-cut requiring service
- Running out of paper due to bad print runs (waste), and a slow and costly sourcing new material was costly and slow
- COVID illnesses causing a lack of hands at the printer
These blocks have finally been resolved. In early January, the printer fixed their machine, sourced more paper and materials, and with these new materials can continue production with double-sided gold foil.
We have held a high standard of print quality throughout these tests and have had to try many different methods, repeating pre-production runs to ensure the decks’ final caliber. This is because our design has some unique features that make it a printing challenge that only a handful of printers are able to undertake, such as:
- double-sided gold foil
- a high level of detail
- ecological paper
Because there were so many challenges to overcome, I knew it would take some time to post a meaningful update – thank you for your patience.
How we resumed production
On Monday, February 7th, I received a sample deck from the pre-production run, and happily, I was able to approve this sample and give the green light to resume production, following one more test run with the die-cutting machines.
In order to get our design to align correctly on the round cards, the machines were serviced, and to help further, the back of the card design underwent a slight design change: we removed the zodiac signs to give much more bleed* and to help with centering.
*bleed refers to extra spacing of background color that extends beyond the trim area, leaving a margin of error to work with
Why didn’t we change printers?
A few of you asked me why we did not change printers. The short answer is that the entirety of our kickstarter funds had to be pre-paid to the printer we were working with in order to secure the project reservation and for them to order our specialty materials. Changing printers would have cost more time than it would save.
I did look into getting a refund from the printer and moving on to a new one, and even sourced new printers, received quotes, and checked production timelines with them. However, to engage another printer, we would have needed the funds that were tied up with the original printer. Getting a refund from an international printer via your bank is its own beast and it became clear that it would take quite a bit of time. Nonetheless, we started the process, requested a refund in writing, and notified our bank. In tandem, the printer worked on sourcing an alternative paper and worked on fixing their machine. The existing printer managed to produce a good quality run which we approved before we were able to get the refund issued.
After consulting an alternate printer and taking their timelines and input into consideration, it was clear that it is fastest to continue with the existing printer. Among other reasons why, the industry continues to see supply chain issues (and we’d need new paper with a new printer, and to re-set up all our files) and there is a backlog of printing projects with other printers that would have further delayed delivery.
In short, we were prepared to change printers if needed, but the best option for the fastest projected completion was to stay with the one we have.
When will the decks ship?
I need to receive the date when the decks will ship and return from the gilder, and then can make a shipping estimate/update. I will know this after the production run has finished. In the first part of this update, you’ll see a list of the next steps following the end of production until the decks arrive in your hands.
Thank you for your support and patience–we’re getting back on track to deliver you the beautiful, powerful, gold foil deck that has been our vision throughout this project.
Marie & Carmen