The last update was in advance of our release of about 50 brushes 10 days ago. This is just to briefly run-down what's been going on since then, how the next few weeks will likely shape up, and when we expect to have more brushes ready to place in the shop.
Within a day or two following the April 19 release, which sold out in about three hours, we engaged a developer to address some functionality shortcomings of the website.
Requested enhancements include:
1. an option to request in-stock notifications via email by product (i.e., style/size/material combination);
2. relocation of the product-filter menu from bottom to top of the screen on mobile versions;
3. a mechanism to indicate how much protected time, if any, remains for items in a shopping cart;
4. retention of the in-stock-collection filter after sell-out to enable fast and easy determination whether any or no brushes are available for sale at a given time; and
5. inclusion of purchased-brush photos with confirmation emails.
We'll post notices as and when these changes are implemented, assuming they all turn out to be achievable within the allowed budget.
Just a few days before the recent release we finally obtained new Ebonite samples from our supplier in Germany (see this post). We've since spent several days turning and finishing a small batch of Ebonite handles in time to have them available to show and discuss in a meeting with the company's owner at the 2016 Pipe and Tobacciana Show in Chicago this weekend. We hope to have new rod stock available to turn by mid-summer. So stay tuned for further updates on this front as well.
We plan to re-locate our turning operations (i.e., the CNC part of the shop) into some former laboratory space at the Midwest Bioscience Research Park (about six miles south of the Dark Holler shop's present location). It's simply time to move the machines and the work we do with them out of the house and into more suitable space. For one thing, we won't be able to maintain our homeowner's insurance if we don't get it done fairly soon.
Finally, another order of knots (yes, hand-made) was shipped from China yesterday and is now waiting to clear Customs in Anchorage. Those should be delivered by the time I get back from my road trip to Chicago and Ann Arbor (to visit a friend and supplier of used machine parts). It will take some time to go through, clean, and prepare the new knots before any of them are ready to set in handles, but we should begin to have more brushes ready to offer within a few weeks. Progress along those lines will unavoidably suffer at least a few minor interruptions due to the move, but once we get re-settled, things will start to roll.
Thanks for bearing with us.