Update #09 - The Final Stretch: Answer to all your Questions

Hi Backers,

Update #08 has triggered more private messages and public comments then all our previous updates. We’ve therefore decided to release this update add-on to clarify any questions or concerns.

This update would cover the following

  • Letter from the creators

  • Answer to all your questions and concerns. Including manufacturing in China, the Classic Model, Gift Cards, Bluetooth Trackers, and Refunds.


Letter From The Creators

Hi Backers,

We’ve been keeping our updates strictly relating to the development of the Umbrella. However after reviewing the private messages and public comments since the release of Update #08, we feel that it is important to share more of our story.

On October 2015, the two of us launched our project on Kickstarter, a project that started as far back as the summer of 2014. Our mission statement was to create “The Last Umbrella you will ever buy”, and have since made every decision based on that goal. Kickstarter is a platform that helps creators “find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality”. We did not have the capital to form an established company and use Kickstarter as a mere marketing platform to launch a fully developed product.

Since the Kickstarter Campaign ended in November 2015, we have been working full time on the Umbrella averaging 80 hours/week. As covered in our many updates, the amount of work was far beyond our estimate and many mistakes were made. On March of 2016, we moved across the country to seek suppliers in the manufacturing region of Canada. We notified our respective landlords, and packed all our personal belongings for storage in Vancouver. We set off with no more than several prototype umbrellas, tools, computers, and two weeks worth of laundry. Our intention was to secure a supply chain in Ontario, complete the umbrella within 6 months, and immediately return to Vancouver for distribution.

Without a salary and committing 80 hours/week, our day-to-day expenses were funded exclusively through our personal savings. We were not living a lavish lifestyle, and we’ve been extremely frugal cutting back whatever expenses we can. Despite all this, the company still has insufficient funds to bring the Hedgehog Umbrella to life.

The tooling for making an one-of-a-kind umbrella is extremely expensive. The carbon fiber material cost also drives the per unit cost to an all time record in the Umbrella Industry. The total funds we received from Kickstarter and Indiegogo InDemand was far from sufficient to deliver the Umbrella’s.

To make up the difference and ensure completion of the first production run, the company has applied for a line of credit personally guaranteed by the founders. This means that we, the creators Cahay and Kevin, are personally liable to pay off the debt in the event that Hedgehog Products Inc. is unable to. 

We are not proud of the repeated delays and understand the frustration endured by all the backers. We have devoted over 2 years to make it to this point, and every bit committed to this final stretch to deliver “The Last Umbrella you will every buy”.

Sincerely yours,

Cahay and Kevin


Your Questions

Q: I am unhappy with the product being manufactured in China. Did you simply selected a generic off-the-shelf umbrella and market it as your own? Why can’t this umbrella be Made in Canada?

Q: I am only interested in the Classic Model and nothing more. How can I get the Classic Model? If the Classic Model is available in the future can I get the same discount?

Q: Why offer the Gift Card? Why don’t you just return the money?

Q: Can I just use the Gift Card on canopies along with the shipment of my umbrella?

Q: Can I just use the Gift Card towards the Bluetooth Tracker?

Q: I am unhappy (for whatever reason), can I just get a refund?

 

Our Answers

Q: I'm unhappy with the product manufactured in China. Did you simply selected a generic off-the-shelf umbrella and market it as your own? Why can’t this umbrella be Made in Canada?

A: Why the Hedgehog Umbrella is not Made in Canada

We launched the project on Kickstarter with the intention of manufacturing the umbrella in Canada. We went into great lengths trying to manufacture in Canada, including relocating across the country. However after months of searching, we simply cannot secure a Canadian supply chain who is interested in supplying the carbon fiber and manufacturing the stem assembly. The inability of securing a supply chain Canada, lead us to look elsewhere.

 

A: Why the Hedgehog Umbrella is not “Generic” and “Off-the-shelf”

The Hedgehog Umbrella is far from generic and off-the-shelf. Every component including the canopy is custom, we even insisted on using custom rivets to join every rib sections. The unique carbon fibre rib construction, suspension system, integrated enclosure, and interchangeable canopy will make the Hedgehog Umbrella the most complex and expensive high production umbrellas ever produced.

 

Latest Prototype Provided by the Contract Manufacturer (CM) - None of the 200+ components in this assembly was off the self

Latest Prototype Provided by the Contract Manufacturer (CM) - None of the 200+ components in this assembly was off the self

 

A: Why we decided to manufacture in China

Manufacturing the Hedgehog Umbrella in China allows us access to more sophisticated tooling, and ultimately yields a superior product. Building the “Last Umbrella you will ever buy” is our mission statement, and we believe that manufacturing in China is definitely the correct direction to go.

All umbrella brands (regardless of the country of origin) have their collapsible umbrellas manufactured in a handful of regions in China. We chose the Shenzhen region partly for its established supply chain, but also for the region’s large pool of talent. The region is often referred to as the “Silicon Valley of Hardware”, and is central to the technological innovation in Asia.

More about Shenzhen here

 
 

 

Q: I am only interested in the Classic Model and nothing more. How can I get the Classic Model? If the Classic Model is available in the future can I get the same discount?

A: Despite being delayed indefinitely, we are delighted to give backers a discount on the Classic Model in the future. It must be noted that the “indefinite delay” means that we currently have no plans (or capital) to pursue the Classic Model.

 

Q: Why offer the Gift Card? Why don’t you just return the money?

A: Why we upgraded the Classic Model pledges to the Standard Model pledges

With the indefinite delay on the Classic Model, we wanted all the backers who pledged for the Classic Model to receive a reward of some sort. Since the Standard Model is now the only model we can offer, we decided to upgrade the reward levels of all Classic Models to Standard Models.

 

A: Why we offered the Gift Card

During the campaign, the backers who backed for the Standard Model pledged $15 USD/$20CAD more than the Classic Model. We therefore decided to “make up the difference” by offering a $15 USD or $20CAD gift card as a bonus. I.e. All backers who pledged for a Standard Model as a reward will now receive the identical Standard Model PLUS a $15 USD or $20CAD gift card as an add-on bonus. That is a gift card on top of what the initial reward was.

 

A: Why we couldn’t simply return $15 USD or $20CAD

As explained in the Letter (see above), we currently have all the money (including personal debt) committed to the first production run. The Hedgehog Umbrella is extremely expensive to produce, the most expensive high production umbrella ever made. If we were to ship the original reward (1X Standard Frame and 2X Canopy) plus the bonus $15USD/$20CAD in cash, the net loss per umbrella would be astronomical enough that only a fraction of the backers can receive their umbrellas. For these reasons the only bonus we can offer is in the form of a Gift Card.

 

Q: Can I just use the Gift Card on canopies along with the shipment of my umbrella?

A: Yes, you can. We will issue a survey for all the backers that was rewarded with a gift card. These backers can use their gift card towards any canopy colour/pattern. The price for an additional canopy would be $12 USD/ $15CAD.

 

Q: Can I just use the Gift Card towards the Bluetooth Tracker?

A: Yes, however all backers who pledge for the Bluetooth Tracker during the campaign will receive the tracker first. We are currently working to secure a partnership with an established Bluetooth Tracker company to provide the trackers. The tracker would be available for purchase from our store after we start shipping and priced at MSRP (~$30CAD to $40CAD).

***Please note, like most small online retail stores, we legally cannot price the Tracker below MSRP set by the Tracker Company.

 

Q: I am unhappy (for whatever reason), can I just get a refund?

A: We try in our best efforts to keep all our backers happy. If there are absolutely no interest on any of the available rewards, we will do our absolute best to return the pledge (minus Indiegogo and Bank fees). As explained in the Letter (see above), we currently have all the money (including personal debt) committed to the first production run. Therefore the return can only be issued after the shipping has started.

 

If you wish to receive a pledge return (minus Kickstarter and Bank fees) please contact us with a Private Message to arrange this by December 31st, 2016.


We cannot be more appreciative for your patience, this project would never have been brought to life without this phenomenal community of backers. The production deadline is set, and our team is actively doing whatever it takes to meet it.

If there are any questions, please don’t hesitate and send us a private message. We aim to respond within 2-3 days.

 

Best regards,

Team Hedgehog