Put simply, a Group Buy (GB) is the final realisation of an idea that allows a custom creation, such as a keyset to become reality. The nature of any fabrication work is economies of scale, meaning a certain volume is needed in order to reach production at an affordable rate, if at all.
All group buys will generally begin life in the geekhack forums, where individuals will create the IP and put forward a thread to garner feedback and suggestions. Here the discussions on what kits will be included, their respective prices, the colour schemes, as well as renders are usually provided. Extras such as desk mats and artisan keycaps generally come a little bit later. This is the first step, and will determine very quickly if the idea has merit, has been done before, or for one reason or another needs modifications.
Several weeks or months generally go by, whereby samples of keys are usually received and matched to ensure the integrity of the idea. Throughout this time, the success and strength of the GB usually hinges on the creators communication and updating of the initial thread - Buyers can generally lose interest very quickly if an idea goes cold.
Most ideas, if they have made it this far, generally have a pretty good chance to launch. Once colours and samples are good to go, the next logical step is to find the sales avenue - sold through Vendors, essentially comprising of one storefront in various continents that will service the sales, procure the orders and pay a royalty to the creator of the set.
Ok, so whats the big deal?
Well, the game is this: One, you get to purchase the set. Two, you get to purchase the set at the lowest possible price. The flipside, however, is you pay for the set and it doesn't hit Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ). From there in an ideal world the seller refunds your purchase and you sulk in a corner - though some shady vendors have been known to all but disappear - Hence the reason you should always buy from a reputable website.
So I bought my keys, now what?
Well, now we wait. Vendors finalise numbers and submit their orders to the manufactorer. From there, it's a long wait between production and shipping. Once your local vendor has stock (3-6 months later usually), they will then let you know your order is in and will be dispatched in the days following.
Why buy from SwitchKeys?
SwitchKeys combines a love for the hobby with a well developed business acumen, with a considerable funds backing behind it. We are in it for the long haul, and aim to be a one-stop-shop for all your key and consumable needs. Have a question? Just reach out via email or discord and we will be more than happy to help.