Joel & co at Chase Bliss Audio have announced that they’ll no longer be using their stained wooden boxes for future releases. This process is all currently done by hand (by Joel’s family & neighbors) and really is quite a lot of effort for something with no sound implications. I love the CBA packaging, design and pedals but it makes sense that they’d need to make this change.
Packaging as a whole is rather polarizing topic, with a pedal landscape full of $200 drive pedals with all kinds of different packaging swag, stickers, pins, enamel pins, buttons, bags, leather pouches, strange bondage style enclosures etc etc. How much of the $200 price tag is coming down to the extra stuff they are jamming in the box? Apparently with Chase Bliss it was enough to make them have to discontinue the boxes rather than raise their prices. Solid choice guys!
In a blog post on July 8th:
When I started Chase Bliss Audio, there were a lot of things I never anticipated. One of those things would be the growth of the company. Of course I wanted it to be successful, but I had no idea what that would look like. At the onset I knew I wanted to do something special with the packaging and I always had an affinity for pedals shipped in wooden boxes. I also liked the idea of picking a different stain color for each product.
As the company grew, this turned into an incredible amount of work. At first, my wife Kelly stained, branded, and stamped the boxes but when she became pregnant with our first child, Chase, my parents offered to take over the job as to not expose her to the fumes from staining.
It has turned into a really, really big job… but it never was a big impact on the bottom line because my parents refused to get paid for their work. A few years ago, it became too much for them so we hired my parents’ neighbors, Steve and Rita, to help and support with the staining. Even with all of the work Steve and Rita and my parents are putting in, we still are not able to make boxes fast enough meaning that we’d have to hire additional help to get the boxes done. At the same time as this, we’ve experienced a significant rise in the cost of our parts (for several reasons but primarily from tariffs) as well as cost increases on the boxes themselves. In short, the boxes are getting really expensive from both a materials and labor standpoint.
All of this presented an unfortunate reality for us. We either needed to replace the boxes or raise the prices on our products. We decided that we did not want to raise prices (they are already SO expensive!) and that getting rid of the boxes was the right move to keep the prices on our pedals as low as possible.
To celebrate the journey of the “bliss box” I enlisted the help of my friend Joe Clark to film the piece below, and capture some of my parents’ process and reflections.