Reach for the Stars
Our Crowdfunding Campaign to help us grow
Please see our Crowdfunder campaign page here: Reach for the Stars!
We have now succesfully completed over half of our rewards whoop whoop!!! These include
- the gold stars,
- the Starry night sets,
- the reach for the stars bunnies,
- the reach for the stars bears
- and the reach for the stars doves.
That leaves the foxes, unicorns, full sets and rainbow doves to get out to you guys!
If you haven't yet received your reward yet we're working through them as fast as we can but with everything else we've been juggling the last few product lines have had to take a back seat for a couple of months.
We gave ourselves a year to complete the rewards from our Reach for the Stars campaign so we have until the end of Jan 2022 to complete any outstanding pieces.
I will be publishing an estimated schedule on our website soon for the remaining pieces. A couple more will go before Christmas but we're not wanting to make any promises until we know 100% that those targets can be reached for fear of letting people down. Therefore we will publish a cautious estimated schedule and then let people know once they are completed and actually ready to post.
Stay tuned for an estimated schedule for the remaining pieces!
To make pledges of purchase some of special editions please head to the Crowdfunder page above. To read all about our Crowdfunder campaign please read below. The campaign will launch at 10am (UK time) Fri 29th Jan and run for three weeks.
Reach for the Stars
Hi there, we are Eric and Albert! Well, in fact “we” are Rebecca and Martin Wincott - Eric and Albert were our respective Grandfathers who taught us all things arty/ crafty from a young age. We have both had previous careers in Marine Biology and I.T. but when we started a family everything changed, as it so often does! We had new priorities and wanted to do something we loved doing, together and suddenly all those 'imagine if we did this' conversations became a little more serious.
In 2017 we followed our passion and started making wooden toys to sell, starting at home on a small scale, juggling our full-time jobs and a one year old. The response straight off was incredible and we were amazed at the support people gave us. Before we knew it things had ramped up and within the year both of us had made the decision to leave our jobs as this pipeline dream was becoming a reality! Just over two years on and I think we can confidently say that the last few years have been totally taken over by making eco, wooden heirloom toys and making our little business happen.
Picture of us in our new Welsh unit in August 2020.
We are firm believers that absolutely anyone can do anything in this world, with a bit of determination and a lot of passion. If you have a dream, all you have to do is follow it and never give up (it certainly helps to have a stubborn streak)!
THE YEAR 2020
For nearly three years we juggled very long working hours and with help from family and friends we managed to expand enough to enter 2020 with lots of optimism and big plans ready to take the jump and make our long awaited and dreamt about move to Wales and find a house and workshop where we could expand and build a permanent team around us. Of course the pandemic hit and made it almost impossible to achieve this, but we were not deterred and as mentioned above - we are very stubborn! After 6 months of no help or childcare, we worked day and night to keep up with orders as direct sales continued to climb. Then as soon as restrictions lifted we had a weekend of house hunting and found a cottage, very conveniently less than 1 mile from the dream barn workshop and only 3 miles from the dream village school. Everything sailed through incredibly fast and after two months of arriving in Powys we had our dream team training up and supporting us. We have always believed that we make our own way in the world, but sometimes when things fall into place so well, it really starts to feel like fate.
Picture of our Eric and Albert team at Christmas 2020.
Despite regular lockdowns and school closures our little team has kept going for the past few months and our customers are still patiently waiting for our limited restocks each fortnight. We therefore decided to take on a second workshop unit from January 1st, 2021 to help us expand further. Like everyone else there is constantly something holding us back from getting into the full swing of things and working at full capacity. The impacts to us as a business over the last year are that we have had to temporarily pause all our trade clients and orders, we needed far more workshop space than planned due to social distancing and we are constantly anxious about making to order rather than having stock on the shelves. It is a fairly uncomfortable and stressful position (for both us and our customers) to be making to order with limited quantities and a delayed turnaround time when times are so uncertain and the rules/ advice change almost daily. As such we haven't been able to get ahead and get stock on the shelves as planned due to continuing limitations. We need a little leg up to help us with that final boost to take off pressure whilst we stock our shelves/ get ahead/ train up and expand.
Picture of our new additional unit Jan 2021.
THE NEED TO EXPAND AND WHAT THE FUNDING IS FOR
By spreading our wings further into our second unit we are aiming to do the following:
- get three phase electricity installed to cope with more tools working at one time, - get additional tools to help refine and speed up our making process,
- the additional space will allow more staff working at once,
- we can have a designated packing area to allow for the increased direct sales,
- allow more and better storage, and
- anything left over from the Crowdfunder will go towards paying the everyday bills for a few weeks whilst we stock up the shelves so we’re no longer in a perpetual cycle of making to order.
Lots more storage space (pic from Pinterest)
A selection of additional and duplicate tools so more than one of us can work on each process (pics from pinterest and axminster)
Designated packing space (pic from Pinterest)
Expand studio and painting space so up to three of us able to paint at one time (picture from Pinterest)
So this is where our Crowdfunding campaign comes in!
We’ve made many a bold move over the past year and it sure has paid off. However, with the constant restrictions and limitations we would love some support from our wonderful community to help us from make this next leap forward. We feel it is our time to size up, time to grow and time to produce more.
The support from our community has been tremendous and never failing. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the Eric and Albert community and for that we will be forever grateful and amazed. We want to have you by our side for this next step too and so whilst we don’t want anything for free, we thought we would make very special rewards available in return for a small investment to help us grow. These will be made and sent over the course of the coming year as and when we tool up, train up and speed up !
OUR 'REACH FOR THE STARS' CAMPAIGN PRODUCTS
Our starry bottomed friends are a very special limited-edition range of animals we will be making for this Crowdfunder only, never to be made again.
Reach for the stars Dove: £20
Reach for the stars Bunny: £20
Reach for the stars Polar Bear: £25
Reach for the stars Fox: £25
Reach for the stars Unicorn: £30
The Reach for the stars set of 5 £110
In addition to our starry bottomed friends we will have a few extras:
Individual Gold Star: £15
Starry Night Set, including a super grainy star, moon and cloud: £40 ish
Our limited edition Rainbow Dove - he's back due to popular demand! £20
Reach for the stars and never stop dreaming
1) How will our rewards be posted: All rewards will be posted via Royal Mail and UK postage is included within the price. International postage is available on some rewards but at an extra cost.
2) When will we receive our rewards: All rewards will be made and sent out over the coming 9-12 months. We’re trying to be realistic and whilst most of them will arrive much earlier we want to have a fail safe date of the end of Jan 2022. Please see individual rewards for estimated timeframes.
3) Are the pieces exclusive: The starry bottomed animals most certainly are. They will only be made for this Crowdfunder and will not be available again. The rainbow dove is a limited edition that we have previously made and may make for particular occasions but isn't readily available in every day restocks.
4) Can we donate/pledge more than once: Why yes of course, that would be so wonderful, thank you so much – if it is a multiple of the same product you can just select the quantity you would like. However if it is a different product/ animal you will have to log back in and pledge more than once.
5) Can we donate without asking for a reward - yes absolutely, the rewards are there as extras and incentives but you can place a donation of any size and do not need to be dictated by the amounts and products we have provided. Thank you so much for any support you can give, whatever the size :)
Finally from all of us here at Eric and Albert, we would like to thank you all so much from the bottom of our hearts for making our little dream become a reality and help us continue to grow it further. Thank you for being a part of our Eric and Albert family and helping us on this next step of our journey.
Reach for the stars!
All our love
Rebecca and Martin and the whole Eric and Albert team.