Product before price
For those that don't understand how we arrived at our retail price of $349, or just think we are foolish, greedy, or just crazy, here is some more background to help clarify how we got here.
For starters, we did not set out to make a clock at a certain price point.
We set out to make a clock that was beautifully made out of metal and wood and glass and held together with screws (instead of plastic held together with glue,) built by hand (instead of robots,) using the longest lasting off the shelf parts available with a tested, proven track record (instead of absorbing very high tooling costs to make parts that may lower cost, but whose durability would be unknown) and made in small quantities (thousands, not millions).
We set out to make exactly what we wanted, not what the market wanted.
We didn’t start out saying “hey, let’s make a really expensive clock.” We started out with open minds, and with a very clear set of objectives for what we wanted to make: something that looked and sounded and felt beautiful, that did a few things really well, minus the needless bells and whistles, that would outlast other clocks, and maybe even outlast its owners.
Of course, taking an uncompromising approach to building something inevitably adds to the bottom line. There are no shortcuts. In our current culture of Amazon-Walmart-driven low cost and high convenience, the approach we took was certainly counterintuitive. Most of us are accustomed to clicking a button and having something cheap arrive at our door very quickly. Unfortunately, much of that stuff is poorly made and quickly ends up in the landfill. Furthermore, this cheap/quick stuff no longer feels special. It's taken for granted.
We didn't want to be part of that problem.
On the other end of the spectrum, we are not Apple. We don’t have an R&D department, or own our own prototyping and tooling facility. We don't have large quantity purchasing power or access to huge, state-of-the-art factories. We are a small, self-funded startup, working long hours out of a renovated garage in Boulder, CO. Ultimately, the price of our clock is a reflection of what it costs when the product is the priority, not the price.
In the process of developing our design locally, we have established great relationships with our mechanical and electrical partners. Everyone is within a 20 minute drive, which means it's easier for us to meet and collaborate and make sure that everyone is on the same page. It also means that our development footprint is smaller, as we don't have to spend as much time shipping parts and prototypes around the country.
The price is what it is because that’s where the price ended up once we'd designed the clock we wanted. And at this point, we can't lower it. As most know, for a business to survive, retail pricing needs to have a sustainable relationship to cost. That said, our markup is very reasonable for a business that wants to survive, and to continue working with the team that we know and trust.
Is our clock for everyone? No. Is it even possible to make a clock (or anything) for everyone? No. Someone will always be left out. As Seth Godin says, "If you serve one audience, you've let another down...the very act of creation means that it won't be the ideal solution for everyone."
OneClock is an experiment where we started down an unknown path, but with clear goals. Science and design served as our guardrails, and every decision was based on whether or not it was consistent with our mission of product over price.
Some people will understand and appreciate this approach. They are the true fans. This is for them.