Meowcaps: A Tale of Trials and Tribulations Part 1

Thinking back on those times, I have great fondness for Meowcaps. Of course, that is hindsight. Back then, it was the bane of my existence. It was the reason why I couldn’t cut it. It was that defining moment that separated those who could and those who couldn’t. And back then, I was floundering.

I was proud of Koala’s work. We posted up a few caps in fun colors and experimented with double/triple pours. Community opinion was high and we had quite an outpour of requests to sell some. Though we put a lot of thought into the logistics of carrying out our first artisan sale, we were already in over our heads. Koala and I discussed a timeline on how long we could realistically cast and fulfill orders at a reasonable pace. The following week, the sale went live and within an hour, we had already exceeded the quota we set ourselves.

Back then, the positive feedback was intoxicating. What had begun as an experiment to personalize our keyboards became something that people actually wanted too. We set our prices low because we felt that KeyKollectiv needed to prove themselves before we could consider ourselves real artisans.

With rose-colored lenses, we started production in our lab. No amount of tutorials and research could have prepared us for this sale. Even with adequate proficiency in resin casting, mass production is a whole different beast. Small mistakes during prototyping meant dozens of unviable keycaps. Variables we did not anticipate reared its ugly head at every turn. And worst of all… resin rash. What’s resin rash? It’s a form of dermatitis that manifests as small hives at the site of exposure. Scratch them enough and the irritant enters your bloodstream where it wreaks havoc on your body.

Yeah. We had that. Turns out, Koala-T was hyper-sensitive to this stuff. I wasn’t doing too great either. Fulfilling orders began to seem like an unsurmountable task. The final straw was waking up in excruciating pain. I needed an expensive root canal. One I couldn’t afford. Every email we sent to implore our fans to wait a little longer became more and more painful to send. We laid in our beds every night filled with anxiety and guilt. Koala scratching and nursing her wounds. I, wincing the night away.

“What are we doing?” we asked ourselves. “Why are we doing this to ourselves?”

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