The year was 2013 when the dream to produce a high end titanium yoyo came about. I was working with two very talented people on the idea. We had produced yoyos before at a local machine shop but a problem came up. The shop got bought out by a larger machining company and were no longer interested in producing such low volume. The search for a new machine shop sounded easy - but anyone who has tried making a modern yoyo knows that not any machine shop is up for the job.
I spent a lot of time looking for one, many which turned down the idea due to the difficulty of machining titanium. Finally, after months of frustration, a shop took on the project. Many prototypes were made, and thousands were spent on tooling. A lot of tools were custom made specifically for the yoyo. Some cutting heads were even flown in from Israel. It was an exciting time, and I was at the forefront of it all.
A few months passed when they presented us with the first prototype. The finish was great but there were a few problems. It had a pretty bad vibration, and when I tried to explain it to the shop they claimed it was the best they could do. We ended up keeping in contact through email to attempt to resolve the problem. We talked and talked, and weeks became months. Progress slowed down after that.
During all of this, I was studying engineering full time. I would spend days at the library studying until midnight and my weekends at the shop talking to the machinists and helping them with the yoyo. During all that I was also in a really rough relationship. It made all of this especially emotionally straining. On the same week that the relationship ended, I got a call saying the shop did not want to produce the yoyo anymore. It was just too difficult for them to get the precision I wanted. The worst part was a letter from my school - I ended up failing a class. That was when I threw in the towel. I gave up on the project. I put the prototype in my closet which ended up just collecting dust. I spiraled into some of the worst depression I have ever experienced - I was completely burnt out from school, from working, from relationships - from life.
I was confused, and needed to take a step back to re-evaluate what was important in life. I decided to take what little money I had left from 3d printing yoyos, pack a 15kg backpack, and leave for Europe. It was my first time leaving north America. To say that was the best thing I ever did in my life would be an understatement.
I met some of the most inspiring people while traveling. I made many friends, some yoyoers and some strangers. There were times when I had to sleep on the streets. I ate the cheapest food that the groceries had to offer, usually crackers or pasta. Whenever a yoyoer or couchsurfer offered me a place to stay - I was so grateful. Hostels were my best friend - and so were McDonald's (because of the free WiFi). Being on the road all the time was the price of unadulterated freedom, the kind you can't buy.
I was overwhelmed when I was in Czech republic. I was so inspired by the yoyo movement in that beautiful city, it sparked my imagination again. Locals were so welcoming, and a yoyoer even offered me a place to stay for a week. When I left Czech for Sweden, something just clicked. I remembered that old titanium yoyo that I had prototyped. I realized what I needed to do. The first night I arrived in Malmö, Sweden sitting in the hostel bed, I drew up a new yoyo on my laptop. I drew the MFC23 - but you know it as the Evora.
I kept that with me throughout Sweden, venturing 200km north into the Arctic circle. It was there where I thought up the name Luftverk - a unique Swedish name that sat in the back of my mind as a company name. A friend mentioned that it sounded like "love work". I vowed to one day make that a reality.
When I was in Oslo, Norway I got a call from my mother. A family member fell very sick and she recommended me return to Toronto as soon as possible. On Christmas day, after 4 months and a handful of countries, I returned home. It was a surprisingly strange experience. Some call it reverse culture shock. It was a weird month of last minute hospital visits and feeling like a trapped bird. Unfortunately he didn't make it. A week after the funeral I packed my bags and, as quickly as I returned, I left again.
USA west coast was full of yoyoers I knew. I flew into Seattle (PNWR) and ended up in Sacramento (Cal States). I was lucky enough to have a place to stay in almost every city I visited which cut down costs substantially. I even hopped over to Tijuana, Mexico for a few days (which I wouldn't recommend). It was near the end of my trip when I got a lead for a machine shop from a friend.
It was a shop overseas, actually just a few hours from where both my parents were born. I didn't like the sound of that, but he assured me the quality would not be an issue. I sent them an email and a few weeks later they sent me a prototype of the Evora. It was dead smooth, and the quality was perfect. I was blown away. The worst part was the price. It was really expensive - actually 3 times as expensive as what the shop I was working with in Canada quoted me, and more than 20 times as expensive to make an aluminum yoyo. No, that isn't a typo. Its the reason why even the biggest yoyo manufactures will shy away from making a titanium yoyo. The profit margins are much small. But I bit the bullet anyway. I took the risk, got a full time job and maxed out a few credit cards. I just wanted that yoyo to exist so badly in the most genuine way. That is how the Evora and Luftverk came to be.
So that is where the story ends. But with your support, it doesn't have to. After meeting some of the coolest people in the world through this weird niche hobby, it is my way of giving back to the community. I hope whoever decides to back me and my insane ideas understands the effort and love I put into this. If you receive a Luftverk product, know that it is done with a passion for quality and perfection. The ones who already have will know what I am talking about.