The "create it from scratch" custom is now underway, and I'm hopeful that it will be finished today sometime. The result will be an empty board, and what fun is that. So, I feel a game or two just might be in the wind.
Before I announce any new games however, I want to have an uncomfortable conversation. While it's uncomfortable now, I assure you that it's 10 times more uncomfortable when your custom order is completed. It's happened twice now in the last 30-60 days, and I would like to get it on the table, talk about it, and then hopefully try to avoid it from happening again. It's an awkward and uncomfortable conversation for both of us, but we all need to be on the same page to avoid misunderstanding, I'm referring of course to the sensitive subject of pricing.
Have our prices gone up since 2009 when we started... Yes. Are the prices of sticks sold today guaranteed to be the same price 6 years from now, or for that matter 1 year from now... No. (It's likely a moot issue, as I don't think I have 6 more years of sticks in these fingers anyway... but I digress).
While I have always just assumed it to be intuitive, apparently that's not the case. Any custom orders placed today will be priced in accordance to the degree of difficulty and will be in line with any other sticks that are made on a custom basis or for general inventory. Other than the occasional sale, I promise you that nothing will be priced based upon what it originally sold for, as there is absolutely no correlation between the two.
Forget the fact that the quality has gone up dramatically, which it has, I see it every time you send me an older link. There is also the mere fact that for us, everything has gone up. Just pick something... electricity. Six years ago our average monthly electric bill was $167. Today, I'm running machines 18 hours a day, and that $167 is now closer to $500 per month... and that is just one example. I have to ventilate the shop, or I die. Guess what happens in the winter... I'm ventilating all of dust, gasses and heat out of the house, resulting in a gas bill for heating that is nothing short of absurd. Aside from the utilities, if I went to any of my suppliers and demanded the same price I paid 6 years ago, they would laugh me right out the door.
So, the long and short of it is, if you want a custom order, great. If you're price sensitive, or just simply don't agree with the reality, PLEASE don't place a custom order, you're only setting us both up for failure.
Finally, the links you send me. Believe it or not, I have never gone back and looked at our "sold" section of the shop. When you send me a link to a stick I made years ago, I may or may not like it. While I can appreciate the angst over the comments such as "I wish he'd make the old style of XYZ stick", the fact of the matter is that often, I don't like today what I made yesterday. I suppose it's part of gaining more experience, and finding what works for me... it's been a 6 year learning curve. So, with that said, I reserve the right not to re-create a stick that disturbs my sensibilities. The fact that I recently had to move the laptop and place it directly in front of the lathe so I could continually see the requested stick in order to intentionally "Ugly it up", didn't work for me, and I'm not doing it again.
So there you have it, my cards are on the table. While TT couldn't exist without everything that Erin does above ground, the fact of the matter is that the rubber meets the road below ground. I'm sorry if this seems rude or gruff or whatever synonym pop's into your head, but it is what it is and I just want to make sure there are no misunderstandings in the future, as it's simply not worth it.