Prototypist and 2022... (Jan 22)

Prototypist and 2022... (Jan 22)
Well, what a year 2021 was....

Covid notwithstanding, 2021 was, by all accounts, a huge year for Prototypist. And thats down to you. Thank you so much for the support: we really do want to make this hobby and community a better place.

We had some amazing ups, as well as some low downs, but we got through it and came out stronger than ever before!

Some of our highlights:
  • Expanded the PT team and family, with dedicated roles in Warehouse Management, Accounting and Design
  • Expanded our reach with warehousing in Europe and China
  • Shipped over 25,000 packages
  • Had over 35,000 orders
  • Celebrated our 2nd anniversary with a potato (thank you Mechboards!) and cake (thank you Discord server members!)
  • Had more than 400 in stock product lines (although you buy them so fast sometimes they barely last a minute)
  • Averaged 27 hours from In Stock orders being placed to being shipped
  • Averaged 49 hours from GB items arriving at the warehouse to being shipped
  • Reduced our Carbon Footprint to net zero through packaging, carbon offsetting, carbon neutral suppliers and investing in offsetting all products we sell for 5 yrs
  • Over 75 hours of Insta Stories (averaging over 20 mins per day)
  • Installed the Vestaboard, the new huge Laser, 1km in new shelf space and a new coffee machine (Oracle touch and its as good as it sounds!!)

 

But we aren't done yet! 2022 is going to be another step change as we work towards new milestones.

The theme of 2022 for Prototypist is: Transitions

(for more on yearly themes check out Cortex Brand by the amazing Myke Hurley and CGP Grey)

 

Transitions
This is going to be the year of transitions in more ways than one. We have a number of key objectives and targets that we want to try and achieve as a team and personally. So lets break down just some of the transitions coming in 2022...

 

In Stock...
Two magical words, that often in the hobby means 'Sold Out'... Working with partners worldwide, Prototypist is aiming to ensure more of our products stay In Stock, and for longer. Some product lines will be replenished monthly, others quarterly... but the aim is the same:To provide constant stock for some of our most common sellers and requests.
I think we are there with some things - certain switches for example, but we will be building this towards Keyboards, Keysets and other products over the course of the year.

I can't promise this will be for everything, of course some Group Buy items will still be limited by their very nature - but more on that later....

 

In House...
2022 will see an expansion of our in-house product range. This will take some time but will flow throughout the year. From Keysets to Keyboards, as well as all manner of tools and services - we are expanding our in house capabilities over the course of this year.
Watch out for new plate materials, more laser cut and 3d printed accessories, Acrylic keyboard cases, patina services and more.... (perhaps even some new machinery...)

 

In Space...
At the back end of last year we ordered a new mezzanine floor to double up on some of the space in the warehouse. This is due to be delivered and installed in February and will give us nearly 2000sqft of additional floorspace. This is in addition to the EU and China based warehouse space we added in 2021.
But, we are also doing more. As of late Feb we will also be looking at a second storage facility here in Yorkshire. This will be for items that are pending other products (such as deskmats waiting for keysets etc).

 

In Time...
We work hard. Often over 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. That needs to change. Through some clever automation stuff in the back end (including a new support system coming soon, plus some whizzy spreadsheets) and some strong hires, we want to ensure we all have a better work life balance.
As of this week, PT is moving to a 4 day work week. This means we will only be open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays.
Those days will be slightly longer than an average workday but it will enable us to do a few things:
  • Cut costs - reducing environmental impacts and energy usage
  • Improve employee work life balance
  • Increase productivity through focus on the days we are in

We will still meet the standard "within 3 days" targets for shipping In Stock Orders and replying to Support emails. We will also continue to ship every day we are open. I just want life to be easier for the people that work for PT.

 

As well as being the year of Transitions we will also be addressing some other issues we see - the number of GMK GB's will likely reduce as we are more selective over sets that we run.

We have also revamped how we pay designers so that it's a guaranteed amount of payment rather than a percentage of gross or net profits as some GB's don't generate a significant profit, and that is not fair. Designers will now have much more freedom in when and how they are paid.

Finally, as of April I will personally be moving to take a salary from Prototypist. For over 2.5 years I will have had no pay for all the work I have input into the company, but now I have been without any income (save for maybe £90-100 a month via Twitch) since February 2021 when I left my old job.

I know this will cause some consternation amongst some of our customers, but I want to be clear. This will be minimum wage only, not based on hours worked, and I will be the lowest paid employee in the company. (If you have any concerns over this I'd love to hear your thoughts - Jae@prototypist.net)

It's been a crazy ride so far, and I can't wait for more to come :)

Much love

Jae