Hands on the wheel, eyes on the road

boy whittling wood contrasted with chinese factory workers
If I want to keep my apartment, I need to grow my business.

Sometimes reality presents you with hard, insoluble little nuggets like that. You can’t dress them up or push them aside. I moved into my apartment as a well-salaried tech worker and now I’m an entrepreneur making wooden board games. I sometimes jokingly present myself as a “whittler”, but it seems less of a joke on those afternoons I spend hours and more hours merely peeling tape off of my laser-cut creations.

The obvious alternative, moving production to a cheap-labour locale, is something I reject. There’s no sense doing anything in life if it isn’t done with moral confidence. And besides human rights and environmental impact, there’s also quality control – the Boardcrafting brand is intimately tied to me, and I need to be able to ensure the products reflect well upon it.

So I’m trying to come up with a way to grow well. This month I have been trying to make connections on two fronts – with local manufacturers and with artists. The eventual manufacturing partnership will mean no more tape-peeling and a regular flow magically appearing at my doorstep so that I can have on-hand inventory. The artistic partnership is somewhat heartbreaking in its necessity. I loved creating the art for the Catan and Dominion products. But it also took a long time for me to do it, and as I assess my ambitions for this year, I see doing the art myself would impose too much of a delay. Besides, there are people out there with more drawing and design skill than I.

Both efforts will, I hope, free some time up so that I can do marketing in arenas other than Kickstarter. This year, I’m going to be hitting up some trade shows. I’ll write about that experience in a future post.

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