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With regards to the aftermarket - Buyers/Traders Beware

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I'm a pretty open and lenient guy when it comes to aftermarket trading/selling of my keycaps, but one thing that I've been made aware of recently is the circulation of some of my keys in the aftermarket passing through the same seller multiple times.

Now that seems a bit fishy, right?  It is and it stands to reason that there is a bit of false demand/price inflation going on.  Guys check your facts on the cost of my keys and don't let some asshat tell you that the aftermarket determines the value when even with supply and demand each one of my keys has a value.  I would like to let you all know how it works.

Buying from me directly is at wholesale price.

My keys start at $35 for opaque or semi-trans (uncolored bright white or amber clear), and $40 for optically clear (in clear only) and metal keys.

Each additional color shot or effect treatment I charge $5.

It's that simple.

A two color semi trans would retail for $40.

A 3 color with optically clear parts (not in basic clear) would be $45+($5x3) = $60

On another note I have designated retail affiliates.  Techkeys, The Key Company, and Massdrop.  Info is out of date.  Revision below (5.25.18),

The values of these costs have become a matter of debate between 3rd parties, but due to changes in world markets and our own situation the pricing is more variable than in the past.  There are several considerations we've learned affect us in our past year of business as HWS.  Three of the most influential considerations are: Materials, Promotions, and Time.

Materials were covered briefly above, but beyond the keys we use a number of materials in authenticity, packaging, and pigmentation which vary in price to a degree where it affects us financially.   HWS reserves the right to charge based on the additional overhead expenses.  It takes significant time to create some of this content.  In 4x4 we learned that our original pricing model had serious flaws in keeping up with our pace of experimentation and the changes of markets external to keycaps. 

An example of unforseen costs is time it takes source products when a wholesaler's prices become significantly higher than they were the previous quarter.   The matter of business affordability conflicts with our visions for consumer availability and fair pricing a great deal when issues like this arise.

Promotion is an interesting subject because everything we do to promote or carry out a sale to satisfy a market takes a great deal of consideration which becomes a careful balance between cost, time, and the unknown behind customer reception.  Every time we try something new to stretch the limits it is a risk, and these factors are something we do not like to charge the customer for experiencing.  It's largely a cost we eat entirely with any profits which could go into savings.  It may be something we do less of in the future without a better plan of action.

Time is always a battle but even more so when working with some more advanced techniques.  There is an expense of time in carrying out a technique and an added cost to each failure to produce a finished product with the resources used during that time.  An example of this dilemma is making 40 keys.  To make these keys there are 4-5 steps taken and the total time it would take to make them with two people is 8-10 hours.  If 4 (10%) of those keys fail then the cost to the makers in time has increased 10% because less can be compensated through retail sales.  The price of our keys in the 4x4 sale was rather consistent and even discounted at various times, and yet each colorway had new considerations and different yield rates.

This revision has been difficult to make because I feel it confuses the issue which was once made very clear by the efforts of HWS.  I'd like to stress that what artists charge is an expression of how we value our materials/time in how much we value the customer.  There's a balance which needs to be struck to express appreciation from both sides for it to work, and I may have been mistaken in the past to put such simple labels on parts of the pricing structure.  In the past we hadn't done casting full time without the support of other income, and my concerns tended to lean toward doing right by the customers.  These observations and statements should not excuse any behavior but instead help people understand and consider the implications of price.  It's not always about market demand for business owners, and people not making the keys only real liability is buying the product to turn a profit.  There is no additional liability for people buying to collect, personally cherish, and support the work of the artist.

On another note I have designated retail affiliates.  ex. Techkeys or The Key Company.

They are able to sell my keys at prices on or slightly higher than my wholesale value.  The value of my keys is still basically set by this chart, and I do not expect this chart to disparage their pricing.  They have my blessings to charge what they will for the keycaps we have agreed to make public.  Please support us both when we have these endeavors.

I have a personal request to anyone who buys/sells/trades my keys and that is to either provide or ask for the actual value of the artisan.

A person's trade value may increase due to rarity or what they had spent/traded to acquire a key.  I'm not an enemy of popular demand and pricing but I do strongly discourage blatant profiteering when there's someone out there who wants to put this on their keyboard and touch it or look at it fondly and actually keep it. 

Help your Hunger Works find a home they belong in.  Be kind to your fellow collectors, and above all remember the considerations the original artist made when pricing their work.

100% behind this  :thumb: Very good post.

Sneaky Potato:
Well said. I can't help but think of all the sad, sad keycaps that are locked in a plastic bag inside a dark box somewhere, dreaming of standing tall and proud among the other keycaps and regularly being touched.

You're a great guy binge!



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