Friday, August 27, 2010

The Reality of a New Concept Product

I get both good and bad reports about people's first experience with their eCraft.  This is to be expected.  Griping is one thing.  But, serious communications about reservations people might have are not only good for other potential users.  They are good for Craftwell.  While they would like to make a sale to everyone, the reality is that they will not.  And, knowing why not is just as important as knowing why someone did buy.
Here is a very thoughtful communication I received today and I thought it was important to share it with you.
I didn't want to post this publicly as my initial impression of the eCraft is --- Wow!   I am glad I waited.  And, I have always been an early adopter.

I was at my local dealer today and my friend, the owner, and I spent 3 hours with the eCraft.  My intentions were to buy one.

Here is my out of the box experience:  

One... The manual is very lacking and that will trouble many crafters, as they lack confidence with techie toys.  It was only because of your blog I knew where to start. 

Two... We cut for 1.5 hours and all we got were rips and tears.  The blade that was originally installed was bad.  Changing blades gave us clean cuts.

It is not apparent as to exactly where to position the cutting head and paper from the start.  We used your videos and trial and error.

The LCD screen was a frustrating way to set up graphics.  We often used reset to just start all over again.  The software is going to be key here.  I don't want to use the eCraft without it.  

After we finally changed the blade, the curves on cuts were good.  My friend didn't mind the chads.  But, they bothered me to no end.

Squares were not square.  

We were very unclear as to whether the plastic cover on the blade housing was supposed to be used.  Does it stay on or does it stay off during cutting?

Also, does the paper tray have to be on AT ALL TIMES??  I won't need it.  The tray greatly increases the footprint.  An  aside... We were also missing one screw.

We found your blog to be a real life saver today.  Here were 2 techie ladies and we really stumbled around.  We aren't new to cutters at all.  We each own 3 electronic cutters.

You mentioned that you have also had experience with the Gazelle.  At this point in time, which cutter would you chose,  Gazelle or eCraft?

I am writing this to you privately because I don't want to rain on any one's parade.  I was looking forward to bringing home a new machine today.  And, this is a first... I had to walk away from it.  I will be returning to my local store on Sunday.  I'm going to try again as I really want a new toy. 
I saw exactly what you meant about the push and pull; and, I am concerned how 3rd party graphics are going to cut with the eCraft because of this.

Tom, thank you so much for your blog.   You have done a great service for eCraft.   Because, without it, my out of the box experience would have been very frustrating.
It would be easy for me to say, "Oh no!  Don't do that!  Buy an eCraft now!"  But, that kind of thinking is something I disdain.  Machines are not religious experiences.  And, all machines have strengths and weaknesses and that is especially true of an introductory model.  But, the reader did ask one question that I CAN answer directly.
At this point in time, which cutter would you chose,  Gazelle or eCraft?
That one is easy for me because she is seeking my personal preference, not asking me to tell her what to buy.  And, I am VERY comfortable saying that, hands down, I would choose the eCraft over the Gazelle for what we have planned.

First, it is a marvelously engineered machine.  Back in the 1980's I worked with a computer company called Mindset that earned a place on permanent exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  I would not be surprised if the eCraft also earns awards and recognition for its wonderful design.  Secondly, my Gazelle just doesn't have to growing room that the eCraft presents.  It just does not have the room to grow like the eCraft built into its fundamental design.

Yes, there are issues that we must address with this new product.  And, right now Craftwell is swamped just trying to get machines out the door.   But, they care.  And, they care a lot.  I have no doubt that they will strive to get EVERYTHING right in a way that pleases both new and old users.  I can't promise that.  But, every communication I have with them lacks the defensiveness that I've so often faced when discussing potential problems.

If the writer needs a little more time to decide yes or no regarding the eCraft they should be encouraged to do so.  There is nothing worse than buyer's remorse.  But, they promise to stick around here and, did you notice that they are going to take another look at the eCraft this weekend.  Now, THAT is my kind of person.  I admire them and thank them for sharing with us their feelings.



Cazzy said...

Maybe I should change my blade Tom, thanks for posting this.

Cazzy x

Tom Meeks said...

This was posted just 1 day ago and already we have seen people that seem to have addressed some of the issues in the email.

And, the email itself has been helpful to others, like yourself, that may have a blade issue.

When you thank me, you are thanking everyone from whom I draw information. And, we ALL appreciate it a lot. Let us know if the blade change helped or if there is still something with which you are having trouble.