What would you say if I told you there is a whole other subset of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts who pay more for keycaps than people do for entire keyboards? There are custom keycap sets that are offered on group buys, and people often pay in excess of $100 in advance only to wait for more than a year, too. What if I now told you there were individual keycaps that are sold for more than some keyboards? Welcome to the world of artisan keycaps, and what better way to talk about it than with Jelly Key.
The Vietnamese brand is an offshoot of Joiha, which itself has quite a past if you are interested. Starting as a headphone store nearly a decade ago, the company soon realized the interest in handcrafted goods in the audiophile market, which is infamous for money spent faster than a brand-new Silicon Valley hire would. Custom handmade headphones using local Vietnamese materials gave them the experience and resources to set up a studio for more, which a co-founder with an interest in mechanical keyboards used to start Jelly Key.
The Jelly Key brand itself had fairly humble beginnings, starting off making designs to decorate individual keyboards akin to headphones, but word soon spread, and the keyboard community took notice to where group buys are now the only way to get new Jelly Key keycaps. The primary components are resin and clay, but the company soon learned how to use miniature models, crystals, glitter powder, and paper, Vietnamese and Japanese wood, watch gears, fluorescent components, alcohol ink, and so on. I have here two keycaps to help better showcase the brand, which were a big deal to get given these things are either unicorns or sold for a huge markup on the second-hand market. So let's thank Jelly Key for sending the samples to TechPowerUp!