The kit you don't often get to see

I thought I would write a little (no a big) post to explain some of the processes we go through to source our kits.


I have thought about doing a video but it may be one of those things that is of interest to me because I do it and nobody else really cares.


Here goes:

A few months ago I was asked if we had ever looked at doing a compass kit and the answer was not really.

I have had a few of those little plastic things to go in the top of a bottle stopper, pretty horrid and not very interesting, who needs to know where north is when drinking wine?

So as we like things that are different I thought I would have a look.

I try very very hard not to simply look at a pen catalogue and just re-sell from a huge list of what is to me an extremely long list of dull bits that slot either end of a brass tube.

Neither do I look at such a list choose a different style clip and claim to have designed it in the UK.


What I do try to do is expand the range to get some interesting varied kits that require different skills and actually require a kit (what I mean is I wouldn’t list a kit that you can make yourself – a wire branding/burning tool springs to mind).


So a compass is a good idea – first stop talk to our suppliers for clocks – they don’t do them, that would be too easy.


Does anyone else already do a kit? Not that I could find so now I start to get really interested (most people would walk away on the basis if no-one else sells one there is no demand).


Off to some of the manufacturers that we already use and they come back with all kinds of suggestions none of which relate to a compass but all of which relate to stuff they already sell.


Now to find a new supplier and talk to some we have spoken to before but not bought from and in the process talk to several people whose interest is extracting money from buyers and not supplying a service.


And eventually I find one that looks promising along with some other products that also look rather good.


After extensive discussions we decide on a new supplier and a new kit (not a compass -it’s a secret at the moment) and we identify some other possibilities and arrange samples. We then send by bank draft several thousand pounds halfway round the globe to a man we don’t know and hope like hell he is going to send us something in return!


After some 50 days in production and transport they arrive this week with the samples (no the samples are not always free we have to contribute towards them and the additional shipping costs)


So we end up with the 3 kits in the pic.


Kit 1] You can buy on eBay with or without a case, it’s not really a turning kit but you could make a round base for one. Yes we could buy them in bulk but the eBay sellers already do them, there is no point in re-inventing the wheel. They are OK a tiny bit flimsy.


Kit 2] Really nice – looked very promising on the photos, looks great in reality too, but it has a flange top and bottom that do not come off so you can’t get a wooden frame to fit it. Much of the cost goes on the metal case which has some nice engraving and a serial number around the centre band – all that would be lost in a wooden frame if you could get it to fit.


Kit 3] Looks ideal – it is already in a wooden frame – can we buy the parts to create a kit?

The answer is probably yes but having seen the parts they are poor quality, very easily damaged and would need special packaging in order to protect them when sending out with an order. The glass is a huge chunk which glues into the frame – you can see the glue and when it arrived it had already come loose from the wooden part. All things considered nor really suitable.


Can we get them specially made to order – yes, we do this with quite a few things but a brand new kit that requires several different factories to make components is extremely complex and in order to get a return it needs to be something that sells in household numbers globally, not 1 per week from a specialist supplier in tiny marker sector.


As an example we have enquired into 1 brass part recently – minimum production 15,000 pieces – rather a lot when you don’t know if you can sell 1 of them.


So no compass kit, this now falls to the bottom of the pile of “things to look at” and we carry on with a few of the other samples and hope we can find something interesting.


Some kits make it many don’t – but you don’t usually get to hear about the ones that don’t


So there is a little snapshot of what a man who sells hardware gets up to, it has it’s stresses and frustrations but I am a very lucky man because I love it!


It is not about making money or having a big business (but I do have to eat!) it is about creativity and passion and when I lose that I shall stop.


I hope you are still awake.