Every click on the keyboard is a sale


Kaelin David, Staff writer

The mechanical click of a keyboard cuts through the incessant whirring of computer fans as juniors Aiden Yue and Eric Tsou pore intently over their monitors to find the perfect hue for their new keycap set design. 

They have garnered hundreds of sales through their platform, ePBT Basin, where they offer personally designed keycap sets and mousepads. Their products have appealed to a large consumer audience, amassing a response of over 5,000 likes after launching their first product. 

“We both just enjoy keyboards. There’s different styles like linear, tactile, and clicky. People like to design keyboards for creativity, so we decided to pursue [a business] for keycap sets, since it’s simple and easy to do,” Yue said. 

After meeting in a seventh grade history class, the pair discovered that they shared both a love for video games and an entrepreneurial spirit. A business seemed far-fetched in middle school, but when the pandemic struck, they saw the chance to make it a reality in January 2021.

“First it was reselling shoes, which proved to be inefficient; and then it was drop-shipping key, which was even worse,” Yue said. “Eventually, we gave up until Eric found the custom keyboard community. We got hooked and decided we wanted to create a keycap set. We had no intention of making money but we realized how much we could make after endless community support.”

The process began with trying to discern what designs were the most sought-after and connecting with the most reliable manufacturers for their products, among others. After months of relentless research, and having to grapple with a manufacturer shutdown, they settled on their first keyboard set, fitted with a blue gradient colorway. 

“It really got us to exercise our creativity in the process, which made the process more enjoyable and rewarding. It was difficult at first because we were trying to match the success of previous companies, but we realized that it’s up to us to create our own unique design.” 

In June of 2022, they finally decided to launch their sales for a month through a group-bind method, working alongside regional e-commerce businesses specializing in keyboards to send out keycap sets to their first customers. 

“To be honest, we weren’t expecting to get such a large response because the market is so competitive… but when we received all that support, we were really encouraged and excited to continue” Yue said.  

However, their overwhelming success was inevitably preceded by designs that fell short. Many companies previously had similar sets to theirs, and consumer interest began to fade. The two began fusing their creativity with entrepreneurship to design a novel set. 

“For the failed attempts, we just learned from our mistakes. We find what we like, and also what gets community support. We found a mixture of colors that we liked, and we ended up designing a blue gradient set. It was meant to reflect the ocean,” Tsou said.  

The two utilized keyboardsimulator.xyz and Blender, a 3D design and rendering software, to draft their sets. Every day, they receive notifications from consumers and collaborators, constantly resolving issues with manufacturing and the more mundane obligations of operating a business. Nevertheless, the pair appreciate every facet of their entrepreneurial endeavor, working to design a new, vibrant set called ePBT Fans Pink Lemonade. 

We’re really happy with the results but know we can do better in the future. Hopefully with our experience, we can expand our business into other fields, like switches, boards, mice, and maybe even full on electronic devices. It’s a really competitive place where designers can make stuff. At the end of the day, I just think it’s just fun and it’s just so interesting. [We’re] also into keyboards [ourselves], so [we] have a passion for it,” Yue said.