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Paris – The Advent Calendar

I sold my printing business in December 1999, and decided to take a couple of months off. That’s when I started with the creation of a Paris inspired Advent calendar to be sold on my Etsy shop. A lot of effort went into the design.

It must have been February when I started doing research on computer-controlled cutting machines. The goal was to have the calendars sold scored and cut to size. I rarely research anything. I am an impulse buyer when it comes to cameras, laptop, cell phone. My search lead me to a cutter used by hobbyists. I watched countless videos on YouTube to make sure the machine will be able to meet my requirements. Once I was certain it’s possible, I ordered the Cricut Explore, the highend product. It was not easy to find a machine because of Covid they were completely sold out in stores and on many online stores. I did eventually find one at a big box website.

I can’t remember how many weeks it took until the UPS man finally came with the long awaited box. We had a quick chat about the cutter because his wife had one as well.

Totally excited, I downloaded the software, and connected the machine. The cutting templates, I had ready, were loaded and setup for scoring and cutting. The first printed sheet of a house was placed on the sticky mat. And the cutter was ready to do its work. So, I thought. The cut outline of the paper did look like the template I created. However, the printed house and the cut out did not line up. It was not even close. While doing more research, making notes, I tried for several weeks with no success. Eventually the frustration reached its peak, and the machine was put away on the top shelf in the laundry closet. I was at a point where I had no more ideas why it’s not working.

It must have been late spring when I looked into creating a Kickstarter campaign. As somebody with over ten years of printing and finishing experience, I decided to have the calendar not only professionally printed but also die cut. Hours of work went into figuring out the quantity needed to not make the product too expensive. With Klaus’ help and a friend working for a printing company we eventually came to the conclusion that we need to raise $13’000 which equaled 550 sets of calendars.

In August I launched the Paris Advent calendar on Kickstarter. I could have funded the production cost myself. However to get a reasonable price point, I needed to order 550 units. I also don’t have a distribution channel to move that many calendars within a reasonable time frame. And for sure I have no way to store over 500 products.

I realized about two weeks into the four week term that this campaign will not succeed. There was still a glimmer of hope… But, in the end it failed miserably.

Dear backers,
Unfortunately, the Paris inspired Advent calendar did not reach the funding goal. Needless to say, it’s a big disappointment for me. However, I am not ready to give up on the project itself. There is just way too much passion that went into it. But for now, I have put the prototype in a box and will move onto the next creation.
Thank you all so very much for your support.
I wish you a wonderful weekend!
Esther

After the failed Kickstarter campaign ever so often I did some more research on cutting the items with my machine. And there it was! I missed a step. If I wanted to contour cut a printed item, it needs to have a frame outside the artwork. Ok, the drawings where adjusted, and sent to the printer. Again, I was sure that everything was prepared correctly and it would work. But it did not. The cut did not line up with the design. I learned that frame around the artwork has to be created by the cutter software. And of course this did not work either. Turns out my artwork was too large to handle. Print and cut with Cricut has a size limit.

Ok, I guess I resize all design and cutting templates. And… It FINALLY worked! After a few weeks of test prints and cuts I was ready to place an order for 20 sets.

However, what I learned as a printer is that even if you think you figured it all out, one can never be 100% certain until the products are finished.

I am happy to report, it is finished.

October 2021

Written by Keith4444

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