Kickstarter is an interesting marketplace. On the one hand, it sometimes produces truly interesting products, but it also attracts companies who interpret Kickstarter success as an excuse to shoot for the moon (cough, Pebble, cough), as well as companies that see Kickstarter as a source of easy money, with no intention of delivering exactly as promised. Juicies cables are rapidly looking like the latter.
If Juicies sound familiar, it is because Perry discussed his difficulties with their prior cables here. For those who aren’t familiar, Juicies makes cables. They claim their cables are superior because they use an aluminum housing with braided cloth cables that make them sturdier than the cables shipped with phones and tablets. We’re already getting into a slightly questionable value proposition here, but let’s give them some benefit of the doubt that their cables really are sturdy. In fact, let’s be really generous and assume they’ve fixed the issues that Perry had with their prior cables failing. And hey, they popped back up on Kickstarter for new cables. What makes these cables new? Wait for it…they’re LONGER. Or shorter. Whichever you prefer. But apparently, the act of making longer or shorter cables is so taxing, Juicies felt the need to use Kickstarter to gauge interest and drum up early support.
It looks like Juicies is having some technical difficulties. Maybe they’re using that “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” machine and forgot the trick about the baseball and the laser, but they seem to be having some issues delivering on their longer/shorter cables they promised backers in April 2015. Over a year and a half later, many backers still have not received their longer or shorter cables, and you can see from their Kickstarter comments that people are quite angry. It’s probably also a bad time to tell them that Juicies appears to sell longer and shorter cables right on their site, no Kickstarter required. Hmm…you don’t think Juicies is taking Kickstarter money, using it to manufacture the new cables, and then turning around and selling them at full price on their website before honoring the discounted Kickstarter prices, do you? My goodness, that would be terribly unethical…but as an outsider to this whole drama, it sure looks suspiciously like that to me. Also, they wouldn’t be the first company to ship retail ahead of Kickstarter pledges (see the aforementioned Pebble, as well as Coolest Cooler).
Now, there’s something else that really needs to be addressed here. $19-$29 for a cable? Seriously? Amazon will sell you an Apple-certified Lightning cable for $7.99, and depending on where you live they’ll get it to you within a day. You could order and receive an Amazon Lightning Cable in less time than it takes for Hulu to pick up the previous night’s “Empire”. And if you’re so hard on your cables that you need a reinforced one, you could just opt for the 2-pack of cables, which costs a whopping $15.59, meaning you could buy 4 Amazon cables for the price of ONE Juicies cable; alternately, you could shell out $9.99 for a “durable” AmazonBasics cable. Also, Amazon will not take your money and refuse to ship your cables, nor do they need to beg for money to manufacture them. That’s just for Lightning cables, microUSB cables are so ubiquitous that absolutely no one should pay more than $10.00 for a cable, and even then it better be extra long or something. Amazon Basics will sell you a 3-pack for $6.99! Target practically tiles the walls and floors with USB cables. There is no excuse for paying $20-$30 for a microUSB cable.
Juicies doesn’t pass my smell test on any metric. They’re peddling an expensive upgrade to a commodity product, despite the fact that better known competitors are priced significantly lower. And they can’t even ship their expensive products anywhere close to on time. Juicies seems to me like a company that tried to quickly take advantage of a short-term dislocation in the marketplace, and it’s backfired spectacularly on them. Their product may have been somewhat unique when they first launched in 2011, but with how quickly and cheaply the market flooded with legitimate cables (like from Amazon, Anker and others), they simply couldn’t compete on price, and it seems their response has been to screw over their backers rather than try to make anything right. This is a cautionary tale about backing an unknown company making a product that’s a pure commodity…without something special, you need to really consider if it’s worth putting up your hard-earned cash.
And as far as Juicies goes…well, it looks like Kickstarter doesn’t guarantee you anything, but hopefully, they’ll either ship or refund people soon. Good luck, and if you were burned* by Juicies, let us know in the comments!
*Metaphorically, but if literally, please also share your story!