Brute Force Studios is in danger of closing
Thomas Willeford, owner, designer, artist, and founder of Brute Force Studios is facing tough times. The below has been shared from his personal Facebook page and is being reposted here. Updates to the situation will follow as they come in. Anyone interested in helping Mr. Willeford should contact him directly. Details are on his website here.
Mr. Willeford’s Statement:
The story thus far: My apologies for just thrusting out there the woes of my company yesterday. Many of you were lovely and very eager to help (and I thank you!), but what I said yesterday was not too terribly useful for that, so I thought further explanation may help. Last year there was a huge flood which knocked out much of my equipment, a massive and expensive repair on my industrial cutting laser (one of the core tools of Brute Force Studios), and the year before we had tens of thousands of dollars in which clients informed us they were unable to pay for the product and were seeking bankruptcy protection. Previous to all of this, I had someone working for me who confessed to other friends of mine their desire to destroy my business; they nearly did so. I weathered all of this. We’ve had a recent change of hands in the office and when I looked at the state of our email correspondence and books, the effect was devastating to me, to say the least. People ask “How could you let it get that way?” Well, I’m the writer, the maker, doing lectures, traveling… no one can do this alone. There always has to be others to help, and you can’t watch them all the time. I’m not saying any of this was malicious, but it’s still devastating, and I spent so much time fixing these problems that were popping up that there was no way for me to complete all the projects that are here on my books and my table. It is absolutely overwhelming. I really was planning on just completing the orders I have, and folding the company within the next several weeks because I CAN NOT do this alone. All of your offers of help and hope have given me the idea of just seeing if it is possible to fix this, so to that end, instead of just crying “WAH!” I’m going to list the problems, which may be more effective.
– Fulfillment. I need to get someone else in the shop who is effective, intelligent, and most of all can actually do what they’re told. I’m not telling people to lick a hot curling iron here; just reasonable stuff.
– Web presence. Yes, I’m all over the web, but so many people don’t even know that what they’re looking at is necessarily me or mine.
– Well, of course, money. My company has always been underfunded over the past couple of years, because, well, even the nicest, friendliest divorce is still expensive, and my credit was destroyed in this. I’ve been operating out of pocket (quite successfully, really) for years. Because I’ve been working on my latest book, and the office work was not being done correctly, orders and sales have dropped drastically. Yes, it would be great to just hire people to do this, but that requires a huge chunk of orders and income, which would require further help, which requires…..you see how it’s circuitous?
– Time. This is always the killer. One of the ways in which I’ve been able to stay competitive and keep the copycats at bay has been to use the laser and proprietary knowledge that I have to create my products. The problem is, I’m the only person who knows how to operate my laser and how to do some of the more complicated pieces, so the pinch point of production is always me. As I am writing the books, appearing on television, operating a laser, and generally being Thomas Willeford, I have not said much about it, but it has been taking quite a toll on me, including two trips to the hospital, strictly because of collapsing from exhaustion.
I do appreciate all the offers for help, but there’s not an easy, ‘quick fix’ here. But, you know, you guys may know something I don’t about some of these problems, and all of your help and advice would be greatly appreciated.