On the other hand, if I buy the parts as I need them, I am looking at an increased lead time and increased cost of parts -- basically, I wouldn't be able to provide the parts any cheaper than my customers could get it themselves.
There are multiple ways to deal with this, but I decided to toss this question to Lady Ada, who sells her kits (such as the SpokePOV) via the Adafruits webshop. She pretty much has the same problem I do, right?
She wrote back almost immediately (how cool is that?) and she gave me two valuable insights:
- Homemade PCBs don't look professional. If you want to do this professional, get your PCBs manufactured.
- Do not try to make your kits as cheap as you can. People have to want to buy your kits because of the unique or useful designs, not because they are cheap.
That's some pretty solid advice. Like any good advice, it makes you realise that you should have thought of that yourself.
I need to rethink my strategy on the kits and perhaps to re-adjust my goals.