Thank you Mike for the support on the product and the others who have offered help. While I appreciate the offer, a production manager is not the help that I need. I am doing everything mostly on my own with Tom helping from 10-20 hours a week and Alyssa coming in a few hours per day. There isn't much to manage with only myself and 2 people working those few hours. I give them specific tasks that need to get done like machining t-yokes and putting on copper, assembling motors, screwing on frames, etc, and I do everything else. The difficulty is managing the time for emails, assembly, machining, testing and packaging. There is a very limited amount of work that I can push off on anyone else right now. There is no margin for error, rebuilds, defects, etc so I am building every driver myself.
I'll be honest that part of the reason I don't post updates as regularly is the need to keep explaining the same things multiple times. I have explained this many times, but the group buy woofers were offered at a 30% discount with 50% down payment. I don't have a 5x markup from parts to retail like the rest of the industry. When parts and materials account for 50% of the retail price and I have only collected 35%, there is a 15% deficit on every woofer. To make things worse, many people ordered woofers that required custom VC's or coils there hadn't been much demand for in the past. For example, I can't buy 6 TD18H-4 apollo coils, I have to buy 100. I have good stock on coils for future use, but in the meantime I spent thousands of $ just to get VC's for a handful of specialized woofers. I can't make just 6 apollo top plates and the interior apollo rings, I need to do 25 or 50 pc minimums. When it was all said and done, I had to come up with about $20,000 out of pocket above and beyond everything that was collected from the down payment. That was just for the group buy not any other orders. After all the group buy orders are filled, I will have additional inventory of coils, but will have very little net profit. In addition to the group buy were additional OEM orders as well. This was the largest order of parts I had done to this point and the group buy accounted for a good portion of it. I did not want to get into debt by taking out a loan so instead chose to do a quick sale on my family cottage to fund the order. The idea was that once the parts arrived in a few months I could collect the money and recover my investment quickly. Put in 7 month of delays from the vendor meaning 7 months of no income, and that didn't' happen.
At this point about 70% of the group buy orders have been filled. From the forum posts, people make it seem like I haven't shipped anything, but that is far from true. It is now mostly the apollo woofers that have to be done. Each apollo motor has nearly an extra hour of machining into the aluminum parts so I chose to do those last. I should have every one of the orders filled before Christmas. Yes, it has taken some time, but there is no more time to work. I am a single father. I drop my girls off to school at 8:55. I work until 3pm and go pick them up. I drop them off to the sitter and go back to work from 4pm until 9pm. Five days a week. Unless they are spending time with friends, I bring them to work with me all day saturday and for 4-6 hours every sunday. It's not a great life for them but it is only for now until I am caught up. On occasions when I can find someone to sit at the house at night with them I will put them to bed then go back to work from 9:30 until 1-2am or so. There just isn't more time than that to work. People seem to think that I am putting no effort in, or that I just don't care. I do care about the customers and want them to be happy. This business is my life and has been for over 10 years. I have no idea how I can work longer or harder or put in any more effort than I have been.
Milt99, I believe you were looking to buy AV woofers. They were a nightmare from the beginning. I went through 2 aluminum cone vendors who delivered defective product. I switched to a paper cone and paid $22,000 just for the tooling with a company here in WI. After 9 months they proved unable to make the paper cones and when I tried to recover my losses through the legal system they threw "intellectual property" into the mix which required a $25,000 retainer to go after them in court. I had to simply write it off as a loss. I paid more money and spent 9 months to tool up a hand spun aluminum cone with a company in california. Then my surround vendor stuck me with $3000 in defective surrounds. They eliminated their thermoforming equipment to setup a new system extruding Xray barrier for the US military and were unable to remake parts or refund the money. I spent $10,000 and several months designing and building a thermoformer to perfectly make my surrounds. I bought $5000 in rolls of santoprene to use. By the time that was done, my spider vendor had gone out of business and was bought out by the same company that screwed me on the paper cones. The final shipment of spiders was $10,000 worth of defective junk and again no legal way to go after them. Tooling a new spider in the US or Taiwan is upwards of $10,000 as well and I was looking into it. At the same time the vendor who was making the spun aluminum cones stopped returning calls for months. I finally got a call from the owner saying he had a heart attack and had to have open heart surgery. He was back working but was unsure if they would be able to continue on. It wasn't a wise investment to give them more money when I was unsure if they could deliver and I didn't have spiders anyway. I had lost so much money and over that period of time was able to ship a total of about 200 AV woofers for all the money that had been invested. At that point, I simply decided the AV series had to go on the shelf and I would concentrate on the woofers I could deliver without so much work. I'm sorry you find that a lame excuse.
btw, this is what it looks like to literally throw $10,000 in the garbage:
bg40403, I'm not sure from your forum name who you are. I have been doing my best to get through every email, or pass off the ones I can to Alyssa. Every email we received in the past 3 months has had a reply, with the exception of the ones since friday that haven't been gone through yet. If you didn't get a reply it could be in your spam, or your message could have been filtered into our spam. I suggest sending a message to info (at) aespeakers.com and Alyssa can confirm to you whether or not that change was made.