We talk a great deal about being tough, and that’s because we had a tough start. In our very first collection, BOLDR was faced with the heartbreaking task of cancelling our Kickstarter campaign right before it was due, already having raised over $120,000.
We were young bucks from Singapore and Malaysia looking to create a watch that combined classic analog designs with tech functionalities. Armed with bright ideas and cargo pants, we were ready to take on the world - enter the ‘World’s First “Clever Watch”, named BOLDR Voyage. The Voyage was an analog quartz watch with smartwatch features that could track your movements, buzz in notifications, control your mobile camera, and a bunch of other cool stuff.
The Kickstarter campaign opened to an overwhelming reception, blowing way past our goal in just over 24 hours.
Thinking that worldwide fame was just a matter of time (pun intended), we spurred on enthusiastically with no inkling of the looming series of disasters.
Without warning, we found manufacturing costs had increased sharply and suddenly. We were also slapped with the unexpected high cost of obtaining CE and FCC certifications, which are vital for internationally shipping products that emit Bluetooth signals. While we had planned for the proper certifications from the beginning, we didn’t anticipate the enormous costs of obtaining them.
This left us exposed to a huge risk of being penalized by customs, which would ultimately prevent us from delivering our watches to eagerly-awaiting backers.
Amidst several sleepless nights, we held intense discussions pacing back and forth as we tried to come up with solutions, spurred by our drive to uphold the trust our backers had in us. There was always the option of proceeding with the campaign and trying to find solutions after it had ended, but that would either result in delayed delivery or a further increase to the price of the watch. Neither of which sat well with us.
From the time we set out to build this company, we wanted to be 100% sure that we could deliver on our promises. Every decision was made on the basis of integrity, being transparent with our customers, and doing our best to provide reliable watches that speak of courage and toughness.
And that’s why, rather than being unable to fulfill the pledges or not deliver our products, we made the hardest decision we’d ever had to face. Cancelling the campaign was gut-wrenching as we had poured our heart and soul into the project, not to mention countless hours of work and large amounts of our own money. Between manufacturing the watch, PCB board, and other required components, we simply couldn’t find a way of getting everything done in quantities and costs that made sense as a business.
Nervously sending out the message that we were discontinuing the campaign, we expected a huge backlash from disappointed and dismayed backers. However, we were extremely humbled by an outpouring of support and understanding instead.
"I'm so sorry you had to make this decision; I'm sure it must have been gut-wrenching. No matter how much you research, and how hard you work, and how carefully you plan, there are still forces beyond your control that you can't overcome at the time - the Titanic disasters of this world. But hopefully, you have the drive & the resources to move forward, incorporating what you've learned so you ARE successful next time. I very much appreciate and admire your honesty & transparency with us Backers. I'm eager for you to come back with your next BOLDR campaign; you will have my support then as well. Best wishes, good luck, and please keep us informed."
"Sorry for you guys. I've been in situations many times in new startups that we have had to close down - you have done the right thing. It doesn't mean you can't start it again. You only learn by getting it wrong. To get it right now, take the learning (massive is my guess) and build another BOLDR. Fall Forward not back. Looking forward to hearing from you that you are launching it again at a new price point and that it will be successful. Backers are also keeners. They want you to succeed"
Immediately after the campaign, we vowed to uphold the love and trust given to us by our community of backers, so after a brief break of catching up with normal life, we picked ourselves up and got going again. We decided to put our first baby (the BOLDR Voyage) back to a work-in-progress status and pursued the next product in line - the BOLDR Journey, which became BOLDR’s first official watch series. Incidentally, we named the Journey in celebration of the trials and tribulations faced on the journey we had just been on.
And that’s how BOLDR came to be a brand that stands for the men and women of the world who face the path less travelled, full of difficulties and challenges to overcome. We salute those who make new discoveries through endless trials, tribulations and errors, and those who find fresh experiences and inspiration in the strangest of places. BOLDR embodies that can-do attitude of defying odds and achieving the seemingly impossible by building products that accompany you on life’s adventure. Our watches don’t give up easily - just like you.