SAPPHIRESKATES COMPANY UPDATE JULY 2022
- Some Products that Didn’t Make the Cut (Yet)
- The New Sapphireskates Type 2
- Availability at Other Retailers
- 10 Things to Know About Sapphireskates
As we enter the 2nd half of the year, we are now past the 6-month mark since launching this website. We couldn’t be more grateful for the support of our customers. Our customers have also given us invaluable feedback to improve the product and create new designs.
Let me tell you a quick side-story: when I first released Sapphireskates, there were some quality control issues. A customer reached out to me with their concerns about the product. I asked for more details and he was able to provide very accurate feedback on aspects of the product that I was already thinking about, in addition to insights I hadn’t thought about before. This customer responded to me saying that he appreciated me taking the time to listen, and that Sapphireskates sounded like the type of company he would like to work for, if opportunities were available. I ended up hiring that person and he is an indispensable part of the time.
As of now, we have 2 of our standard colors: Ruby and Blue in addition to our new shape (Type 2) that comes in Clear and Fuchsia. We also have 2 more products that are not made of sapphire, but other gemstones: CZ and Moissanite.
Sometimes people ask me if there is anything new that is coming soon, because they may want to wait for whatever that might be. But right now, these are the 6 products that we are going to focus on. We want to dedicate as much of our effort into maintaining good quality on these products, in addition to effective distribution and replenishment (as you may have seen, we have done a poor job at staying in-stock).
Some Products that Didn’t Make the Cut (Yet)
An often requested product is an Intellimouse-style shape for Sapphireskates. We actually created a prototype for this. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for a few reasons. First of all, we had to compromise on the size of the sapphire due to the very high cost of the raw material and gemstone work. The other issue is that the edges were not rounded enough so the skates would get caught on debris too easily. Perhaps in the future we can revisit this design but at the moment it’s not ready to sell.
Sapphireskates Artisan Keycap
In addition to gaming mice, I am also somewhat of a keyboard nerd. And since I want to use products that I personally would enjoy using myself, I developed an all-sapphire keycap design. The prototype came out beautifully. But the other equally challenging aspect of this artisan is the mounting. The goal was to make the mounting as clean as possible but still be secure. Also, it should be mounted on an MX-stem keycap (not like the Kailh choc switch on my personal board, as shown in the picture below).
For those wondering about my 40% low profile keyboard keyboard build, the parts used are: Technik-S by BoardSource, Kailh Choc Switches, MBK Legend Keycaps, and Tungsten Bars Keyboard Feet by Sapphireskates
I plan to revisit this project later. Lastly, I need to determine which keycap profile to use, but am currently considering DSA or XDA.
The New Sapphireskates Type 2
Sapphireskates Type 2 is an alternative shape with a flatter surface. This product came from a suggestion from Leon, who was the very first customer who placed an order on sapphireskates.com. After hearing from him, I received similar suggestions from several others.
I did originally consider a shape like this, and even tested flat sapphire gliding on a mousepad. It is possible to source very flat sapphire, but the big challenge is rounding the edges. As with the standard Sapphireskates design, we had to do something entirely custom and have been developing our own manufacturing processes to achieve this.
A few months ago, we released prototypes of Type 2 but the problem was the edges were not yet rounded enough. Now, the product is ready for production and we have many more units on the way. As with our standard shape, this will be regularly replenished.
It’s worth saying that this is not a replacement for the standard Ruby and Blue Sapphire. Personally, I still use standard Sapphireskates (I combine 2 sets for my personal setup). Standard sapphireskates truly offer the best ability (out of any mouse skate in my opinion) to avoid gliding past any dust, debris, lint, dog fur (there’s plenty of that in my mouse thanks to my dog Pudding), etc. On the other hand, Ken on our team prefers Type 2 due to the reduced texture-feel of the flatter surface.
See this chart below to understand the differences:
Availability at Other Retailers
We have to admit that we haven’t been the best at getting products to customers who are overseas (other than Canada). Despite many of our customers being in Europe and Asia, the failure-rate of lost packages is too high for our liking and it’s a big cost to ourselves and a frustrating experience for customers. Much of this is due to USPS First Class International shipping, which isn’t the most reliable.
This is part of the reason why we decided to move forward with working with resellers who can better serve regions other than the United States.
We have 2 resellers. We have HID-Labs which is based in Tokyo. HID-Labs is well-known in the gaming peripheral world and has been delivering custom mice and specialty products for quite some time. The owner Masaki has been outstanding to work with and we share many of the same interests.
Next, we have the famous Maxgaming. Maxgaming is probably the number one gaming specialty retailer in the world. Simon from Maxgaming reached out to us early on about carrying Sapphireskates and I was very excited to have received that email. Maxgaming ships all over the world but for those seeking fulfillment from Europe, you can head over to maxgaming.se to make your purchase.
At these resellers, the product may not always be in stock, but we are working towards improving things moving forward.
HID-Labs (Ships from Japan)
Maxgaming (Ships from Sweden)
10 Things to Know About Sapphireskates
Lastly, if you want to here about some fun facts about Sapphireskates from yours truly AKA philzgoodman (myself), check out this video below!