Kickstarter Nightmare: Pen Type-A + Torr Pens- 08.23.12
Every now and then an example comes through that’s a bit heartbreaking, and then you wish that someone would teach a mandatory legal course in design school. Yesterday, Fab.com led me to their sale of Torr Pens, which initially simply looked like a strange rip off of the insanely successful Pen Type-A Kickstarter project. Simple enough, things get ripped off - but usually the design rip offs don’t end up circulating in areas that claim to focus on authenticity and great design.
But where this got even crazier is that Torr Pens’ website and the fab page had pictures and a James Bond parody video of the same guy who organized the manufacturing of and spent late nights washing, smelling, drying, and reassembling the Pen Type-A’s with the kickstarter designers CW&T. They even say in their update that he hugged them when he saw them last. It’s a painful story, but we can only hope hearing all that CW&T has gone through from the manufacturing issues to this new level of complication they’ve run into while still trying to fulfill their immense pen orders a year later can help educate other designers going into similar processes! Take a peek on the next page about how things unfolded yesterday…
p.s. UPDATES added here.
Yesterday’s Fab.com email, contained a “stylish steel pen” called the Torr Classic. Surprising to see a very familiar rectangular steel sleeve with a ruler on it and cylindrical pen insert. Something definitely didn’t feel right…
Torr’s site was a surprise as well - Steven Tyler from Aerosmith “smoking” a Torr Classic? A half built template feeling website with broken links and images with painful fonts? As for the pen… the differences Torr has are a secret capsule, “versatile ink”, and personalized engraving. The Facebook page is slim, they have not tweeted, and the Google+ link is broken.
There is even a “James Bond Parody” short film where a man in tux throws his Torr Classic at a bad guy’s jugular…
A Kickstarter update from CW&T comes out last night… not only confirming that they are not involved with the Torr, but that the man we see all over the Torr website and Fab.com page is the man who “saved” them during their earlier manufacturing fiasco in china, and has been working closely with them for the last year to produce their pens!
Re-reading the updates from the kickstarter, the images of the same man and references to “Allen and Diana” are unmissable.
He and his girlfriend even worked a few late nights with them assembling the pens for shipping.
Curiosity led to Allen Areseneau’s linkedin - and JOIGA, the manufacturing company that CW&T hired to fabricate the Pen Type-A - interesting that the company even lists “providing legal protection in the US and in China”…
What a heinous situation to end up in! And the Pen Type-A kickstarter story has certainly become a valuable lesson to all in manufacturing, doing business, and how the world works…
On happier news, after a very frustrating time in China, they are now made in the USA!
… In a multi-generational family run machine shop in Vermont! It’s not hard to see how much love, precision, and passion go into the CW&T Pen Type-A!
… and how clear the quality and philosophical differences between Torr and CW&T are…
So the bottom line is, be careful who you work with, make sure you have ample legal protection of your work, and SUPPORT AWESOME DESIGN!
… Thrilled to hear Fab.com has pulled the sale!
… Awesome to see that a lot of people who have kickstarted the Pen Type-A are so supportive and understanding (and outraged!) in their comments
… Torr Pens has added an inspiration and design page - also some interesting comments.
… Torr Pens seems to have wiped the Inspiration and Design page above of all content sharing their inspiration and previous designs which inspired it (including the Pen Type-A) and the comment discussion that followed.