Clackeys, a big name in artisan keycaps, is closing down: 'I am sorry I could not keep this boat afloat'

Clackeys artisan keycaps on display
(Image credit: Clackeys)

Clackeys is closing down. The artisan keycap maker will shut its doors by the end of the month, citing a lack of sales and growing costs.

"... we don’t make enough money to stay open and we never did reach profitability, but we somehow did have enough overlapping sales + business clients to keep us going strong for years," Robert Vignone, founder and CEO, said in a post on the Clackeys website

"Unfortunately the lack of sales (no demand?) and business clients combined with growing overhead costs has made it impossible to keep Clackeys open."

Current customer orders should be fulfilled before the closure. Open refunds will also be paid out. The company also hopes to pay off its remaining debts and payroll by selling its considerable overstock by the end of the month. 

That means it may be a good chance to secure an artisan keycap at a decent discount. If that makes you feel like a vulture picking at the corpse of the deceased, Vignone said: "Any last minute purchase from our store would be a huge help."

Vignone apologised for being unable to "keep this boat afloat".

Clackeys' Transformers artisan keycaps

(Image credit: Clackeys)

Clackeys was known for creating keycaps inspired by popular games, movies and TV shows of the day, from Widowmaker and Cacodemons to Star Wars and Transformers. Though also designs of its own creation, which is how the company began.

As Vignone told me during an interview in 2021, after putting his 3D modelling skills to the test on an artisan keycap, "I basically accidentally started a company."

Image from the Clackeys Studio in California

The Clackeys studio, located in California. (Image credit: Clackeys)

The company grew considerably since its founding in 2016—seeing a spike in interest during the Coronavirus pandemic. By the time I was speaking to Vignone in 2021, it was the 'big business' in the niche market of artisan keycaps, employing six people and rows of 3D printers. It had hoped to expand to around 20 people, to accommodate bigger projects, though it never turned a profit.

"Clackeys was never profitable," Vignone says. "At our peak our monthly operating cost was over $20,000 a month! (I absolutely hate managing cash flow)."

Sadly, we won't see Clackeys build into a much bigger company, as it had once hoped. However, it did continue to net large clients over the past few years, including Riot Games and Hasbro, just never enough to make money. We're still well served in the world of artisan keycaps, from hobbyist designers at home to larger business ventures. However, as one of the hobby's biggest evangelists, Clackeys going under is a big loss.

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Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.