Hey all – We wanted to give you a peek under the tent in terms of what we’re working on for 2020 as well as the reasoning behind it. There’s a lot of exciting stuff brewing and we hope to take a lot of the momentum generated in 2019 and parlay it into 2020.
With the tariffs coming in at a minimum 25% on mostly everything except switches, we are concentrating on our switch lineup before expanding much further. If tariffs go away, we can explore more options (such as LED’s, plugs, etc) but unfortunately, at this time, all Z-Wave manufacturers are located in China, so it’s hard to dodge the tariffs. Our current manufacturer is looking to open a plant outside China, but it likely won’t happen until mid 2020.
Anyway, here’s what we have planned:
- May 2020 - Fan/Light Switch: Project Hurricane - COMPLETED
- Jun 2020 - Paddle Remote: Project BFF - Early 2021
- Jul 2020 - Fan Switch: Project Windy City - Early 2021
- Aug 2020 - 4-Button Switch: Project Name TBD - Early 2021
- Aug 2020 - Motion Sensor Switch: Project Name TBD - Not under development at this time
- Aug 2020 - Zigbee On/Off: Project New Horizon - Early Q2 2021
- Aug 2020 - Zigbee Dimmer: Project New Horizon - Early Q2 2021
- Dec 2020 - RGBW Light Strip - IN PROGRESS
If paddle remotes are successful, we’re looking to add in a 5 button remote at the end of the year. In addition, we’d love to add a double-switch. Also, if tariffs go away, we’d love to add in our LED strips (currently, it’s at a 28.9% rate), Edison bulbs, etc.
Thanks as always for your support and we’ll look forward to updating you on the schedule above!
UPDATE: Just wanted to give a quick update here on some of the projects and the reasons why they were pushed out and/or others pushed up.
There are two main reasons why projects got pushed out, some within our control, while others not in our control.
- Debt Load from 2019 Late Products influencing Current Opportunities
Let’s start with my favorite topic – debt load. In 2019, we were blessed with an investment and one of the biggest mistakes we’ve made as a team was to “hire before the demand” vs “hire when you need it”. Long story short, we were promised switches at a certain time, and due to mis-communication on both sides, the projects were delayed heavily (to the tune of 8mo). The problem here was that we hired in preparation to the demand that was coming from pre-orders, as well as promised inventory, so we burned through a lot of the investment paying overhead.
This lead to us eating into our reserves and also put us in a situation where we would not be able to pay back the manufacturer as agreed to. Now, luckily, they’ve been graceful and understand that this was primarily a learning experience for both of us and rather than us suing them for failing to deliver on time per the contract, they allowed us grace with the repayment terms as we both wanted to work together to create some amazing products and conquer the smart home industry
Anyway, what does this have to do with 2020? Well, the debt load is still there and the manufacturer is wanting us to pay back more money before creating new products. I don’t blame them, but at the same time, it’s a risk/reward in that if you continue to take a risk, we can pay off the debt faster. The good news is that they’re seeing us sell out of everything and this keeps them happy and the risk down. Still, there’s debt and business revolve around cash.
NET: Project have to be pushed off until debt is paid down. This is why we’ve been actively looking for an investor (@amdbuilder – ink is still wet lol – likely not drying)
COVID was another beast that no one accounted for nor knew what to do with. Luckily for us, sales increased as all of you likely knocked out those honey-do lists! The problem was it impacted our manufacturer as they took things a little more serious over there and shut things down for a bit and this created a backlog of manufacturing (ie: we aren’t the only ones they make smart home products for and companies like Ring, GE, IKEA etc are prioritized over us).
So, where does that leave us?
Good news is we’ve been scrappy with new products (Fan/Light), creating new opportunities for existing products (10-pks), and working with the manufacturer to modify products that they’ve already designed (Light Strip) and allowing us to put our firmware spin on it. We’ve also started working with other companies in a licensing/co-development perspective that will help us pay down debt, but also keep the manufacturer happy.
Overall, we have an incredible manufacturer and despite the business challenges that arise, we love them. They’re an incredible team and honestly, despite what you may hear on the news, they are some of the nicest people and they have the same passion as us to win and put out the best products there is.
Here’s to the remainder of 2020 and for crushing it in 2021!