BikeCraft has come and gone and all in all a fun time was had by everyone. Aaron & Amos did a stellar job organizing it and both days saw a large and steady stream of people coming through. Throw in the Metrofiets Beer Bike, some live music and it was a party. While we didn’t sell that many baskets we received a lot of very positive feedback including some local bike stores interested in selling them….. if we can get a realistic wholesale price. And therein lies the rub. Can we, with our limited resources and desire to keep everything local and low tech, find a way to profitably manufacture this product? While that question is unanswered for now we have become fascinated with wrangling this equation. Although Jeff and I never set out to create a business model around Art & Industry it seems that something like that has snuck up on us. Within 24 hours of finishing up at BikeCraft we were in discussions with a local utility bicycle fabricator to design and manufacture custom baskets in quantities that, while not enormous, certainly made us blink. Now comes the tricky part. The plywood component of the basket is fairly easy to do as we designed it in a way that could be done with minimum operations and only one set up on the table saw. The aluminum on the other hand is a pain in the ass requiring as it does bending, chopping (accurately) and the drilling of multiple holes. Clearly this has to be farmed out to a third party and preferably someone who is equipped to do this efficiently. So now I have start searching the fab shops of Portland to find a good fit for our needs. This is an exciting challenge and new territory for both of us. I have worked for many companies and design myriad products but never had to sweat every nickel, dime and minute. When you produce something with your own hands, in multiples, you become keenly aware of the relationship between time & money. Ask Jeff…. he had to hand bend 56 corners (I had to drill 224 holes in said corners). And then there is the assembly. I don’t believe we got it down to less than ten minutes a basket which is fine if you are making a handful but beyond twenty five units? That starts to be a drag. So for those of you interested in scoring an Art & Industry crate basket…. watch this space. Our hope is that by the time the blossom is out on the Cherry trees we will have a web site and our product in the stores. There…. I said it (darn it, now I have to get it done!).