Dec 31, 2010 at 2:12 pm #1267132
Before manufacturing my own products such cuben fiber drybags my company was a gear retailer. I did this for close to 2 years and had close to 1,000 products in my inventory. In order to increase my inventory I started drop shipping. This decision was a HUGE mistake and ultimately was the end of retail sales for my company. I decided to start manufacturing my own gear about 6 months back and I have loved every minute of it.
In order to make my web-store more of a one stop shop I have decided to give retailing another try. I plan to start off small and add only a small number of products to my website at a time. I still have accounts with alot of the manufacturers and distributors so I would love to hear all your potential gear suggestions.
This up and coming week I am going to add an ACR USCG approved whistle that weighs 6.6grams and includes a lanyard for $2.95, Light My Fire Spork for $2.59, the Titanium spork for $14.95, the Spork Little 3 pack for $5.95, Biodegradable Camp Soap 2oz $2.49, Aquamira Pro for $23.95, and Katadyn MicroPur tablets 30pack $12.95. Suggestions are welcome.
Thanks for your business and support,
LawsonDec 31, 2010 at 2:25 pm #1679298
@shireeLocale: Southeastern US
Seems like a good idea, I personally like the "one stop shopping" to help justify shipping.
People would probably also be interested in aquamira drops.
I think that keeping a few rare/niche items in stock would also be pretty helpful.Dec 31, 2010 at 2:30 pm #1679299
Mike MBPL Member
Lawson- I think it's a good idea starting w/ small bits. A couple off the top of my head- small (but quality) containers- squirt, jar, etc in various sizes. Maybe some of the spark-lite, tinder-quick items. If your carrying LMF stuff, might be worth carrying a few of their smaller firesteel- I think they may now have some mugs/bowls as well (not sure if they are any good though).
Maybe some stuff for the MYOG guys- buckles, cord locks, shock cord and the like- the smaller, harder to find stuff.
Happy New Year
MikeDec 31, 2010 at 2:53 pm #1679305
I was thinking about selling MYOG stuff. Maybe even cuben fiber and supplies.Dec 31, 2010 at 4:21 pm #1679336
BER —BPL Member
I think you are on to a good idea. I have often paused at making the leap at 9m of cuben. To have access to smaller amounts, bonding materials and other MYOG items under one roof would be a boon to many of us. Even if it is only weights/colors you are using for your own tarps/bags/mids, to have a consistent source for cuben with only a small markup would be great.
Good luck on your expanded venture.Dec 31, 2010 at 4:43 pm #1679351
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
for bivy floorJan 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm #1679540
@pittsburghLocale: Bay Area
I think getting back to it in small, deliberate steps is wise.
Business can be fickle & can turn one way or the other. But relationships, caring and attention to detail are all solid traits of yours, and can mean more to being profitable than the best ad campaign.
You have my business.Jan 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm #1679541
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
I'll keep checking back at Mountainfitter.com until you get some cuben stuff sacks in stock, your packliner created a convert out of me.Jan 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm #1679580
@rcowmanLocale: Canadian Rockies
What about adding titanium pots, like the firelite stuff that bpl doesn't have stock of all that often. Tibetan titanium makes those pots and there only really sold through online stores in Europe. aloksak bags too.
But I know what you mean about inventory and stocking, building a retail store is what I'm doing now and man is inventory control hard and a cruel mistress to manage.Jan 1, 2011 at 11:17 pm #1679699
I'm not sure if it would work for you, but I know there are a lot of Australians on the forums, and probably others who would jump at the chance to buy small stuff, shipped USPS First class at cost or just above. I can't justify spending $25 for postage on a pack of AquaMira that I can see on the USPS calculator could ship for $5-7
It might open up an untapped market.Jan 1, 2011 at 11:19 pm #1679702
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Maybe Lawson should start up the Australian subsidiary to his U.S. company.
Then he would have to get one of you blokes to run it for him.
–B.G.–Jan 2, 2011 at 7:58 am #1679758
Thanks for all the ideas. Please keep them coming… As far as international shipping goes I added USPS First Class International to my shipping options about a week back which is $5.00 for under 13oz. You can fit quite a bit of lightweight backpacking gear in a package under 13oz so this is a great deal for my international customers. I also offer $10.00 International Priority Mail Shipping on small packages which has a few more features. I plan to sell the Aquamira Pro Filters for $23.95 and with $5.00 International shipping your talking only $28.95 shipped all over the world. Not sure if you can find a better deal then this??? Thanks again for all the input.Jan 2, 2011 at 8:23 pm #1679971
Thanks Lawson, that looks superb. That's the lowest priced and easiest calculating shipping I've seen from any US site! If it's possible to add a packaged weight to tour products, that might avoid misunderstandings with customers, eg AquaMira might be 6oz, but 8oz in the blister pack.
I'm packing for an eight day walk with my wife and two kids now, and things I'd be interested in are Cuben dry bags and stuff sacks in various colours, or even with various coloured pulls, mini dropper bottles, Twist open Glad containers, and maybe GSI and MSR cutlery and cups/plates. It's the little things, many of which I can't get here that are frustrating and never get ordered. Of course lots of other gear like Ti pots and Petzl/BD headlamps would also be attractive, even at RRP, if the shipping is cheap.
Let me know when you have a bit more stock in, and I'll add a post on the Aussie Water thread. It seems to be the default thread for most Australians on the Forums.Jan 2, 2011 at 9:52 pm #1679989
I was thinking of adding weight to all the products just like you mentioned. I am thinking packaged weight and product weight in both oz and grams. I always find it frustrating that no one includes this in their product descriptions. It would be like Ferrari forgetting to put the horsepower in their ads haha.. I don't care if you are a "heavy weight" packer or a "gram wheenie" all backpackers like to know what things weigh.
I am going to work hard to get quite a few products on my website in the next few weeks. I have alot going on so it will take a little while before everything is up. I will probably start off with limited inventories per product to make sure things sell. Once I know they are hot sellers I will load up on inventory.
Also you mentioned headlamps. I am a distributor for Black Diamond and Princeton Tec. Any headlamp or flashlight suggestions??? I was thinking BD Ion, BD orbit lantern, BD Gizmo, BD Cosmo, PT Fuel, PT Remix, PT Amp 1.0, PT Blast, PT Rage, PT Pulsar, PT Impulse. These are all pretty lightweight affordable lights and use to be my best sellers.
LawsonJan 2, 2011 at 11:01 pm #1680005
Noel TavanBPL Member
In my opinion, I think you should focus on designing and selling your own gear. I got your stuff sack and will get your stakes. If you start selling other people's stuff, you will need to beat the other guys's prices (including larger retailers) which might be hard and you might spend less time designing and making new gears.Jan 2, 2011 at 11:14 pm #1680007
Thanks for your input. My focus will still be designing and selling my own gear but this will help for add on sales and one stop shopping. I will try and beat my competition with lower shipping prices and better customer service. I would also like to explore the international sales idea. I currently sell alot of my gear oversea's so maybe a few add on products will help justify shipping costs for those customers? Not sure if this will be enough but we will see. Thanks again.
LawsonJan 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm #1680202
It might be worth taking a look at some of the Australian sites. I was looking for some stuff yesterday, and saw the BD Spot in store at AU$94 That's about $US92, or $US83 if you take off sales tax. The Moxies/Cosmos are AU$60, and I'd buy two of them today at US RRP for my kids if I could get them here by Friday!!
I think the PT Eos also appeals to a different market, and might bring you some google traffic, esp if you're offering cheap or free US shipping on a single item
Again, these are just my prefs, and might be a lot different to your other customers. I understand not wanting to drop ship, but would it be viable to order in one-offs from your suppliers? eg if I want a PT Blast which you don't stock, you order it in and ship it on to me with an extra 5-10 days wait time.
Good luck with it, and I'll keep an eye on the site
RodJan 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm #1680211
Holy Crap that's a markup. Someone is making some serious money. The BD Spot will be $39.95 and the BD Moxie/Cosmo will be $29.95. So you throw on $5.00 for shipping and I will send you two for the price of one. One problem is I can't get it there by Friday. Well I could but that's not $5.00 shipping. Whats a real popular Aussie backpacking online retailer? I would like to compare their inventory with what I can get.
LawsonJan 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm #1680444
My understanding is that the importer is taking a fair whack. And altho I understand they want to smooth out currency fluctuations, I've NEVER seen the price go down, even on a long strong push by the AU$ like this one.
I don't know of any big Aussie online retailers, since once Aussies go online, we might as well go to the US. I can order by Thursday and have it here for the next weekend using International Priority.
You could take a look at paddypallin.com.au , mountaindesigns.com.au or backpackinglight.com.au/ (note the .au) It's early on my first day back after a long weekend, but if I think of any others I'll add them to this post.Jan 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm #1680480
Tony BeasleyBPL Member
@tbeasleyLocale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
>My understanding is that the importer is taking a fair whack. And altho I understand they want to smooth out currency fluctuations, I've NEVER seen the price go down, even on a long strong push by the AU$ like this one.
When I started looking at the WM Summelite bag, I found one at one at the local Paddy Pallins it was A$700, since then our A$ has strengthened it is now A$630, I got one with free delivery to a friends US address for US$315, just about every thing is half price in the US and our local retailers are wondering why we are going overseas to buy our gear.
I would actually prefer to buy locally but I cannot afford too.
TonyJan 4, 2011 at 8:58 pm #1680607
@newtonickLocale: Chicago Area
Like a few others, I have seen your craftsmanship on the products you've designed. I recently purchased the Cuben Fiber Bear Bag Kit. The customer service and product provided where terrific. I check every so often for your cuban dry bags to come in stock :-)
It's awesome your expanding, I hope your business does well. Please don't leave designing your own stuff, you have talent in what I've seen.Jan 6, 2011 at 9:34 pm #1681295
Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
Cuben burrito style tent bag? I hate a sack for a tent.Feb 4, 2011 at 9:28 am #1692398
I have redone my website and added quite a few more products. I am looking for more products to bring into the shop so if anyone has suggestions please let me know.
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