Jollylook Faces Fiasco After Over a Year of Delay and Manufacturing Problems

The Jollylook was a promising project that was funded by over 6,000 backers, but one manufacturing problem after the other right up to recent times has it facing a fiasco.

Does anyone still remember the Jollylook? The quirky but kind of cool foldout camera was geared to be the first cardboard Instax camera, a novelty that garnered way over its funding goal of $15,000 thanks to over 6,000 backers. But, over a year later, the Jollylook team was still facing some manufacturing issues and have only started shipping last month. The ones who have received their cameras are reportedly unhappy with non-functioning units. Some are furious to have found the Jollylook out in retail stores when they aren’t even sure when they’re getting their cameras. What a fiasco this is turning out to be.

For those who are hearing about the Jollylook for the first time, the cardboard Instax camera was launched last year on Kickstarter. Aside from being made entirely out of recycled paper and cardboard, a pair of lenses, some metal parts, and cartridge for Instax Mini film, it also featured aperture control (f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22; f/32; f/45; f/64 and pinhole) and manual shutter mode (essentially bulb mode). To get and the develop the Instax Mini print, simply turn the handle to roll it out and initiate the developing process. Top all these hands-on details with a vintage-inspired design and you have a project guaranteed to draw flocks of backers with a taste for unique cameras.

You can also check out our exclusive interview with Jollylook creator Oleg Khalip if you’re curious about the origins and inspiration behind this project.

Jollylook, however, was plagued with one manufacturing issue after the other, delaying production and shipping to way over its first year of being launched. As we all know, this is guaranteed to get backers irate. According to the latest update posted this June 14th, the first 2,000 cameras already passed their quality control tests and were already on the way to be shipped. The next two months should see all backers receiving their Jollylooks.

“Such a long delay and the need to correct and remake a lot of parts led to a big cost overrun, and OIeg had to invest an additional $65,000 of his own savings in order to complete settlements with contractors and pay for part of the Instax mini cassettes that come with every camera for our backers. But this is not enough for Jollylook to survive and we still need to pay for the rest of the cassettes and the costs of the shipping,” the update explained on the factors that caused the delay.

Still, backers seem to still have cause for concern, as some who have already received their Jollylooks are faced with non-functioning units, with problems ranging from missing parts to shutter issues. The fact that the finished cameras have also been available on retail stores like Freestyle Photo has further infuriated some backers.

“Super frustrating to visit Freestyle Photo in LA a couple of days ago and see finished Jollylook cameras available for purchase at retail while I haven’t seen any hint of delivery yet,” said backer Daniel Neal. “I appreciate the note about needing to sell to retail partners before shipping to Kickstarter backers, but, yeah, it stung seeing finished cameras available for retail sale while I’m still waiting for my copy.”

For the Jollylook team, this was necessary to keep the manufacturing going and funding the shipping. “We have to start selling a part of the first batch to dealers before all the shipping to backers is complete, we will use the funds received to fulfill our obligations and to continue the manufacturing, it was a difficult but necessary decision! We are also looking for an investor and we will solve this issue in one way or another.”

We await the next developments and see if everyone does receive their Jollylooks within the next two months, as promised.

Images from the Jollylook Kickstarter campaign