1.0 INTRODUCING THE PENCILEST
The Pencilest is a full size 2.0mm mechanical pencil which collapses down to the size of a disposable lighter. Made from anodised CNC aluminium; it's durable enough to live on your keyring or in the bottom of your bag as the perfect EDC tool – always ready to break out when creativity or inspiration strike. Create anything, anywhere. No ink, no batteries, no boundaries.
As well as the core rewards of The Pencilest in either black or chrome – we have teamed up with artist Paul Alexander Thornton to create 2 specially commissioned illustrations - drawn entirely with The Pencilest! His work really showcases the scope of the Pencilest's versatility and so we've included a short, limited edition run of A3 giclée prints available as rewards.
We also have some very cool stretch goals in mind that we'll unveil if the project goes as we hope, so strap yourself in for those!
2.0 CONCEPT AND DESIGN
When we set out to create our 5th Kickstarter project we had a simple criteria in mind – it had to be functional, it had to empower people to create, and it had to be well manufactured. We focused on the things that make us love the products we love, and the EDC (every day carry) community is the one that came up most. We were conscious that whatever the design process led to, it had to be tough, it had to have an attractive simplicity that made people want it on their person, and it had to perform a function not currently catered for on a smart phone.
The Pencilest is a first, a fully functioning mechanical pencil which collapses down inside it's own aluminium protective casing. The 2.0mm lead is durable enough to withstand being tossed around in a bag or attached to a belt loop, and gives a lot of scope for drawing, sketching or note taking.
As creatives, travelling without something to write with is always difficult, if our phone batteries die – the first thing we reach for is a pencil and paper. Whether it's to sketch some ideas, write out some lyrics, or even make a shopping list for dinner, the ability to create is something very important. The Pencilest provides this in a super compact form that is always ready – it has no ink to run dry and no batteries to run out, just a simple mechanical mechanism in a well designed, beautifully proportioned casing.
We looked into our favourite tactile experiences and found the act of taking out a good fountain pen, and screwing the lid onto the end marked the sign of quality! And provided a nice tiny ritual before beginning work – this inspired the layout of The Pencilest – stored inside it's own casing, which is then screwed into the back, doubling the length to that of a traditional pencil, and replicating the heavy balanced feel of a fine pen. Lots of sketching and 3D design followed to work out a way to shrink a pencil down to half the size, without losing the mechanical action or limiting the function of the product.
Each Pencilest is made from CNC aluminium to our own design, and finished in a choice of anodised chrome or matte black surface treatment – making it hard-wearing enough to have on you at all times.
We approached the biggest manufacturer of German engineered mechanical pencils (with production locations based in Taiwan), and worked with them around their own mechanisms, ensuring we'd begin our product with a well-executed, reliable lead-advancement, and could build our design around this established technology.
Their reputation for producing high volumes of high quality goods give us every confidence in our collected ability to supply the finished product as per our critical path.
Each Pencilest will come complete with keyring/carabiner in a UK made retail-quality tobacco tin, graphiced up with our own packaging design, so you can trust it will arrive in perfect condition!
In addition, we will fulfil each order ourselves (as we have done on each project since 2014). Ensuring any time you need to contact Hundred Million about your order, you'll get through to the team actually packing each parcel and sticking the address labels onto your reward (and, if experience is anything to go by - elbow deep in a mixture of coffee and bouncy ska punk).
If successful, UK orders will be shipped via Royal Mail recorded post, and International rewards will ship via UPS.
5.0 ABOUT US
This will be our 5th Kickstarter project since 2014 – and we couldn't have existed as a business without the KS community. Starting with the Sugar Skull Spoon in 2014, through the Hard Work Notebook, CMYK Playing Cards, and most recently our Hangover Cup – the support and trust afforded to us by backers has been amazing. We like to think we handled the steep learning curve of designing/developing and supplying products with minimal speed bumps, and feel confident that this is our best design yet! Something with all the surprise, charm and personality of our previous campaigns, with a big pile of functionality heaped on top.
Risks and challenges
6.0 RISKS AND CHALLENGES
As we have developed The Pencilest to production-ready stage, and each supplier is in place for every aspect of each reward, we feel confident our proposed delivery dates will be met. Of course if the project is wildly successful we will scale up our dispatch procedure, and order mail-outs by pledge date, but this is one place our fulfilment could slip. A bit.
We have watched successful Kickstarter projects be copied and recreated by third parties almost immediately recently (sorry Fidget Cube), and sometimes even sold well below the KS price before the project is complete, it happened with our own Sugar Skull Spoon a couple of years ago. This is something a small business like us finds very hard to combat, and can only appeal to our customers to stick with the original and genuine Hundred Million LTD products.
The relationship we have built up with our pencil manufacturer, and the very high quality of their tolerances and finishing process is something we think will help set us apart from any would-be knock off or imitation Pencilests, and we hope that people who love The Pencilest will love it enough to back a genuine piece, rather than a substandard imitation.
We are really proud of our concept, and we hope you like it! There are some stretch goals in mind (in the past we've had to figure these out mid-campaign due to unforeseen demand!) and hope to be able to unveil them during our campaign, so look forward to that! And despite the HOURS spent writing out thank you notes to each backer over the years, this is something we will continue to do for each pledge, as a personal show of our gratitude for everything the KS community has given us over the last 3 years.
So thank you to everyone who has backed our projects previously, and thank YOU to anyone who is about to pledge towards The Pencilest. We're really happy with our creation, and we know you will be too.
Hundred Million LTD