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The Nth Degree

Little Loco Company - Class 22

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I attended the Doncaster O Show yesterday and found the Digitrains stand with loads of LLC Class 15 models for sale. It appears they have purchased all the remaining stock, presumably from LLC. What worries me is that things appear to be happening but no-one is telling the funder's anything. Has anyone heard from Steve at all? There's a lot of people's money at stake here and I think it's high time we had an update from Steve even if it's only a basic response telling us the current situation. I did consider asking for my monies to be repaid in class 15 locos rather than being kept in the dark for the foreseeable future but that's not an option now is it? Come on Steve you need to start being more communicative and telling us what's going on regularly. The quieter you are the worse this all looks. I'm praying "no news" is good news but I'm not really convinced this is the case here but please prove me wrong.

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I too saw those Class 15s on the Digitrains stand. Mr Leathers needs to break his radio silence. I had rather a lot of  less than charitable talk and speculation about LLC at Doncaster yesterday. The situation is aggravated by the rather parlous state of LLC's published accounts for the year ending 31st October 2018, which seem to be light on cash. 

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It would be very interesting to know how many people subscribed to the class 22 project. If we take a moderate guess at 150 then there should be about £600,000 in the pot. Admittedly some will be spent on the set up but there must be a fair wedge in the bank ready to pay the manufacturers to produce the parts. Then the cost of assembly has to be accounted for and I assume there was an expected profit at the end of all this. Another factor is the Ruston diesel shunter as we know LLC money has been spent on this. It would be good to know what has happened to all funders money as there should still be a considerable amount in the bank but you suggest the accounts are not showing this.....worrying!!!

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29 minutes ago, chris coates said:

It would be very interesting to know how many people subscribed to the class 22 project. If we take a moderate guess at 150 then there should be about £600,000 in the pot.

 

It would be better if people didn't stick a finger in the air and then start making calculations based on a guess. At the moment, those who do know something are choosing to keep quiet. While nature abhors a vacuum, can we avoid filing it with guestimates and stick to facts. In situations like this, there can be moves behind the scenes, but those making them won't give a running commentary on a public forum.

 

If anyone involved wishes to post a message but indirectly, please PM me and I'd be happy to do this as there are plenty of people who have money in this and rightly would like some answers.

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Posted (edited)

Chris I think the maths is not quite right there, 150 units at the crowdfunder price is not £600,000 - one too many zeros there in your guesstimate.

Still a big figure there though.

I didn’t go for a crowdfunded one as he seemed to have difficulties with his Chinese suppliers, then his UK suppliers, so he couldn’t have had a supply chain in place for the class 22 when he started the crowdfunding.

 

 

Edited by Cliff Williams

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4 hours ago, chris coates said:

Come on Steve you need to start being more communicative and telling us what's going on regularly. The quieter you are the worse this all looks. I'm praying "no news" is good news but I'm not really convinced this is the case here but please prove me wrong.

 

3 hours ago, Earl of Pembroke said:

Mr Leathers needs to break his radio silence. I had rather a lot of  less than charitable talk and speculation about LLC at Doncaster yesterday.

 

With all due respect to everyone - Steve has said there will be updates published here when he has them.  Random thoughts and speculation from all of us who know bu$$er all about the situation, what's happening and where things are going, really do not help in these circumstances.  All they do is serve to wind people up who then start to believe what started as assumption, guesswork or otherwise.

 

Just cut the guy some slack and let it be. You may not like it but it is the responsible, respectful and adult thing to do.  No disrespect to anyone but social media, forums and the web in general at great at whipping up the negative chatter.  Just because we want Steve to publish an update, does not necessarily mean there is an update to publish.  I have confidence in Steve that he will do his best - all previous history shows that he's not the kind of people to 'chuck in the towel' quickly when things don't go to plan.

 

We'll find out what's happening, when it happens, good, bad or indifferent.

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11 hours ago, MarshLane said:

 

 

With all due respect to everyone - Steve has said there will be updates published here when he has them.  Random thoughts and speculation from all of us who know bu$$er all about the situation, what's happening and where things are going, really do not help in these circumstances.  All they do is serve to wind people up who then start to believe what started as assumption, guesswork or otherwise.

 

Just cut the guy some slack and let it be. You may not like it but it is the responsible, respectful and adult thing to do.  No disrespect to anyone but social media, forums and the web in general at great at whipping up the negative chatter.  Just because we want Steve to publish an update, does not necessarily mean there is an update to publish.  I have confidence in Steve that he will do his best - all previous history shows that he's not the kind of people to 'chuck in the towel' quickly when things don't go to plan.

 

We'll find out what's happening, when it happens, good, bad or indifferent.

With even greater respect, what people want who have money at stake is their emails and telephone calls answered, even if it is no more than a holding reply with the promise of further information as soon as it is possible to disclose. This does not require a general announcement to the public.  

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Hi all, As many of you will be aware I was the designer for Little Loco Company but had no financial, business or manageable stake in it - I was only a contractor. We had started to set up another company which my husband and Steve were partners on ( Kitpart ), this never did anything really as you can see by the fact it is Dormant and it will be removed completely at some point soon. I cant answer for Steve not answering communications he has not been in a great place since he become ill and he also has a young son to deal with as well, so contact is some what sporadic with him. I  too have been quite heavily affected by all this having given up my own work and small business to concentrate solely on LLC last year, and have had to suddenly swing everything right round at some cost to reboot that again. That is pretty much all I can put forward for you at this moment, and I know he does intend to get things sorted out but that his personal life has really got in the way of everything. 

 

Nikki 

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After I made a comment on here about honour a couple of weeks ago and got a few points back questioning my point, I sent Steve an e-mail and cancelled my order, asking for my money back under the terms of the deal.

 

I wasn't part of any funding and merely ordered two locos in good faith.

 

To be honest, I was a bit surprised when the money went out of my account straight away.

 

To date, I haven't had so much as a word of response!

 

I'm giving him one more week then the gloves are off!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi All,

 

Its all very well mentioning that moves are afoot behind the scenes (wink, wink, nudge, nudge stylee), but folk have invested £100s if not £1000s. AND communications from LLC have been - and still are - dire to say the least. Ergo folk are, understably VERY nervous.

 

Whilst confidential and commercially sensitive information may not be for the profane, some sort of communication is required. There has been very little and many only found that the project had stalled third hand - very slipshod.

 

It is little wonder folk are now speculating, and, some speculation is warranted, thus the simple question: 'where is the lump sum, the money and where is my money?" is valid. Such goes hand in glove in such circumstances.

 

People invested acting in good faith.

 

Fingers crossed for best outcome? Grossly unfair for those that have stumped up cash.

 

My family and I know how illness and family life can go haywire, only too well and I have great empathy for those in similar circumstances. But, when in business and using/managing others' money, one has an obligation, a duty of care and just has to step up.

 

ATVB,

 

CME.

 

 

Edited by CME and Bottlewasher
additional info/typos
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2 hours ago, CME and Bottlewasher said:

My family and I know how illness and family life can go haywire, only too well and I have great empathy for those in similar circumstances. But, when in business and using/managing others' money, one has an obligation, a duty of care and just has to step up.

 

 

I can understand where you are coming from, but it is not always possible. One member of my family went from being fit and active, to being in a coma and subsequently having severe brain damage. Had he had any such obligations and duty of care, they would have gone out the window as he was unable to "step up".

 

Roy

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4 hours ago, Roy Langridge said:

 

I can understand where you are coming from, but it is not always possible. One member of my family went from being fit and active, to being in a coma and subsequently having severe brain damage. Had he had any such obligations and duty of care, they would have gone out the window as he was unable to "step up".

 

Roy

Running a business (especially one funded by customers invested money) is a serious business, any event which causes cessation of trading or a major upset due to ill health or,personal tragedy should be handled with care of course, but a business is a business and hiring a commercial lawyer (or even an entrusted friend/family member) to handle communication (if this is impossible by the owner) as part of the continued running of the business seems the obvious answer.

 

Not just go silent.

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8 hours ago, CME and Bottlewasher said:

My family and I know how illness and family life can go haywire, only too well and I have great empathy for those in similar circumstances. But, when in business and using/managing others' money, one has an obligation, a duty of care and just has to step up.

 

Can I just remind everyone that there is a real human being at the end of this - one whom people were lauding not so long ago as being agile and so much better than all those old-fashioned big companies. While I appreciate the frustration of anyone with money sat in the business, telling someone who we know to be unwell to "step up" isn't going to have the required result. 

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On 03/06/2019 at 19:27, Clarky1000 said:

I'm giving him one more week then the gloves are off!

 

Oh, hurray, that'll really sort it all out.

 

48 minutes ago, Phil Parker said:

 

Can I just remind everyone that there is a real human being at the end of this - one whom people were lauding not so long ago as being agile and so much better than all those old-fashioned big companies. While I appreciate the frustration of anyone with money sat in the business, telling someone who we know to be unwell to "step up" isn't going to have the required result. 

Well said, Phil.

 

I'm still not worried about the money I paid in. Steve's health is far more important.

 

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The difference in tone between this thread and DJM is marked. In this one, loads of people leap to defence of a proprietor, in the other one, loads of people seem to wish to put the boot into the proprietor. Same result, some people are likely to have lost money, both proprietors  are likely to be struggling emotionally.

 

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2 minutes ago, 96701 said:

in the other one, loads of people seem to wish to put the boot into the proprietor

 

Although, those doing so have been heavily moderated recently.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Phil Parker said:

 

Can I just remind everyone that there is a real human being at the end of this - one whom people were lauding not so long ago as being agile and so much better than all those old-fashioned big companies. While I appreciate the frustration of anyone with money sat in the business, telling someone who we know to be unwell to "step up" isn't going to have the required result. 

I think my comments have been 'sound bitten' somewhat and singled out/taken out of context.

 

Please see my previous comments/posts Phil, I have great empathy for Steve and his family. But empathy works both ways and so I also have empathy for the other customers too.

 

I personally know what it is like to be in a very similar situation as Steve is. And effective communication is key. I communicated with all involved, at that time, even if it was painful to do so, as they were my customers/clients.

 

I am still hopeful for a positive outcome for all.

Edited by CME and Bottlewasher
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8 hours ago, Roy Langridge said:

 

I can understand where you are coming from, but it is not always possible. One member of my family went from being fit and active, to being in a coma and subsequently having severe brain damage. Had he had any such obligations and duty of care, they would have gone out the window as he was unable to "step up".

 

Roy

I'm truly sorry to hear that Roy.

 

Our family has been in VERY similar circumstances, many times over too.

 

AFAICT, Steve was well enough to post here and elsewhere and the current state of affairs didn't come as a bolt out of the blue to LLC. So even prior communications weren't always effective/frequent from LLC.

 

I just feel for everyone involved and communication - not every detail admittedly - is key (perhaps by a family member or other representative)?

 

Like others have said, hopefully no news is good news.

 

I hope Steve and his family can get through it all, it was a brave effort, a bridge too far perhaps.

 

Regards,

 

CME.

 

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6 hours ago, Phil Parker said:

 

Can I just remind everyone that there is a real human being at the end of this - one whom people were lauding not so long ago as being agile and so much better than all those old-fashioned big companies. While I appreciate the frustration of anyone with money sat in the business, telling someone who we know to be unwell to "step up" isn't going to have the required result. 

 

Phil - that is the most sensible thing I have seen posted here in a long time. There is no way that Steve would have wanted this situation to arise, from a financial or personal point of view. The guy needs support from the model railway 'community' and hopefully there will be a satisfactory solution in due course for all parties. Whilst I appreciate he money aspect, time is needed to resolve that and in the here and now, the health and well-being of a human being are far more important than toy trains. 

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Agree totally with the well wishes.

 

Re comments around the lack of communication, we’ve been told first hand why and that a buyer is now needed for anything to progress.

 

Until that is resolved, I can’t possibly see how absorbing funds in paying a legal representative to send out bland, placatory updates would help anyone.

 

In the meantime I do hope there is a satisfactory resolution for everyone.

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14 hours ago, 96701 said:

The difference in tone between this thread and DJM is marked. In this one, loads of people leap to defence of a proprietor, in the other one, loads of people seem to wish to put the boot into the proprietor. Same result, some people are likely to have lost money, both proprietors  are likely to be struggling emotionally.

 

From an outside, and perhaps wantonly simplistic, perspective though, the circumstances don't appear to be the same. LLC's demise seems to be (in part) due to unforeseen health issues, while DJM's seems to be (in part) due to poor business management. The major commonality appears to be that a one-man band has no backup.

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1 hour ago, truffy said:

From an outside, and perhaps wantonly simplistic, perspective though, the circumstances don't appear to be the same. LLC's demise seems to be (in part) due to unforeseen health issues, while DJM's seems to be (in part) due to poor business management. The major commonality appears to be that a one-man band has no backup.

The other major common factor looking at the most recent published accounts for both companies on Companies House is a lack of cash.  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Earl of Pembroke said:

The other major common factor looking at the most recent published accounts for both companies on Companies House is a lack of cash.  

 

Which maybe shows how difficult for small companies or one-man-bands to compete in this market. This is despite the obvious enthusiasm, commitment and knowledge that both blokes undoubtedly have. Things can just unravel. Competing with the likes of Hornby and Bachmann on a level playing field is almost impossible and let's face it, even with their vast resources and expertise, neither of those have exactly had a bumper few years. It means smaller manufactures have to create a niche, something I think Steve at LLCo had undoubtedly began to carve out. However even with that enthusiam, as ever it is money that makes the world go round...... 

 

Edited by south_tyne
Ridiculous predictive text... grrr
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Posted (edited)

As I've long said, to succeed in this business requires business acumen, prototype knowledge, knowledge of the model rly industry, knowledge of manufacturing processes, contacts, supply chain/contract management etc etc etc. In other words, a blue leotard with an S on the front, red pants worn outside of said leotard and a red cape!

 

Also tooling costs are a considered purchase/commitment and manufacturing abroad, in a communist country with its own cultural aspects/differences, presents other challenges too.

 

Then there is the current economic climate (with some aspects relative to the 'B' word but mainly due to the Banking boom/same old same old) and according to the business/market life cycle we are due another recession. Bizarrely there isn't a boom as such (only for super elite, certain banks and financial institutions which are causing their own inflation bubble), so that may fend such off a little longer. Many are still bumping along the bottom though with a great deal of stagnation over the past ten years and hobbies take a battering due to disposable income vs cost of living etc. etc...

 

None of the above is easy and can't be taken lightly.

 

Although, thankfully, Minerva, Ixion et al have been successful in RTR.

Edited by CME and Bottlewasher
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On 07/06/2019 at 13:41, Earl of Pembroke said:

The other major common factor looking at the most recent published accounts for both companies on Companies House is a lack of cash.  

In neither of those cases do their micro accounts show their cash position, only their asset positions, creditors due payment within one year, net current liabilities, and what is referred to as 'capital and reserves'.  The latter of course does not mean cash although it could include cash.

 

If you look at Minerva's micro accounts you see a generally similar overall picture although the numbers are much larger and the 'capital and reserves' figure is larger but the difference between it and 'creditors due payment within one year' is still a negative figure, albeit with a smaller deficit ratio than LLC's.  in terms of assessing the health of a company these micro accounts are of comparatively little value and in any case were a snapshot at the time they were prepared so could be considerably different from the picture now.  As it happens DJM's ratio between 'capital and reserves' and 'creditors due payment within one year' was again a deficit but a small one - and no indication at all of cash held or cashflow.

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