Omnitype 5 Year Anniversary Celebration - Day 3

LET'S GO BACK…

This week we have been celebrating our 5 Year Anniversary of being in business! We are having our biggest sale ever today through Sunday, June 19th where every single item available on our store is 25% off!

As part of the celebration, each day of this week leading up to the sale, we have been highlighting a moment from our history that you may not know about! 

...TO OUR FIRST KEYBOARD PRODUCT

Before we get into our first keyboard product, we need to go back to how it all came to be. There was a project in the Mechanical Keyboard subreddit called SlideKB. I was in the Slack server for this project to offer my design insight and help with packaging design. The project eventually fizzled out, however I met another designer in that Slack by the name of Janglad. You may know him now from the designs we have done together (GMK Modern Dolch, GMK MoDo Light, GMK Minimal, etc). We had chatted a lot in that server and he eventually reached out to me to ask if I would like to help him bring GMK 9009 back since I had a storefront. At first I was a little nervous, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get into actual keyboard products. So I said yes.

We worked very hard to get the project ready and launched the groupbuy in October 2017. We were pretty nervous if we could even hit the MOQ needed to make the products. At the time, keycap projects rarely hit even 250 units, and got nowhere close to the numbers we have seen the past couple years. Regardless, I was excited to be able to provide a safe and trusted place to purchase keycaps. Up to this point in the community, you mostly joined groupbuys by sending JoeBobRando money through PayPal F&F on a forum, having no idea who you were even sending the funds to. Not many sets had been sold through actual storefronts besides large companies like Massdrop, so I wanted to bring that experience to the community with a higher standard of design. The standard was not very high at this time, and I wanted to fix this because design is always #1 in mind.

Our fears of hitting MOQ were squashed just 2 days into the groupbuy when we crossed the threshold in less than 48 hours! WHAT?! Next we hit 500 units. Then 600. Numbers that had never been imagined in the community before. And this was our first set ever! This was the moment that really showed me that I should be in the actual keyboard products market.

Now you're probably thinking this lead to me running groupbuys every month from that moment on. Nope. That isn't really how the community was back in 2017. I wanted to wait and complete this project 100% before even starting another one. I would only end up running 5 keycap projects by the end of 2018. The reason was that I wanted to show people that shopping from us was the best, most trustworthy experience possible in the community. Period. We wanted to earn our place in the market so people wanted to shop from us again. (I keep saying “us”, but at this time it was just me.)

In these days of joining groupbuys on forums and sending JoeBobRando your money through PayPal F&F, it was not uncommon for it to take the groupbuy runners weeks or even months to ship everything after they received the products. All of the runners were just doing this in their spare time, so it was not their #1 priority. I was also just doing this in my spare time, however, I saw this as an opportunity to start the brand building that would be needed if there was ever a chance this could become a full time thing for me. I was planting seeds that would hopefully grow. 

So when the keycaps arrived on Friday, February 9, 2018 (yes, it only took 4 months back in these days), I was determined to get the groupbuy shipped faster than anyone had ever done it. I even publicly declared that I would finish everything over the weekend to really put the pressure on. All 500+ orders in 2.5 days. I grinded, with the help of my family, and got every single order out by Tuesday (the post office took two days to pick everything up because they didn't have enough trucks on Monday). The community noticed the dedication and we were officially on peoples' radars. SUCCESS!

If my memory serves me correctly, I wasn’t even able to order more than 100 extra units even though I put every dollar earned back into the business. At the time though, that was still a lot of units to be in-stock when the time came as most projects were hitting that amount total in groupbuy. When I listed the extra units for sale after the groupbuy was shipped, they sold out instantly. I blinked and they were gone! People were asking for MORE! This was really the final eye opener that helped me realize what direction the business needed to go in.

I continued to run projects and wait to complete them before running another for about 2 years. I was able to improve every project and apply what I learned to the next one. In 2019, after running five more keycap projects, I would eventually go full time! Tomorrow we will talk about that a little more.

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