Wow time flies when you are having fun! 2017 was our first full year in business and things have gone fast and slow at the same time.
I won't do a 2017 recap because those can be boring, but let me just say that getting a new product to the market is a real challenge. The Vecto is proving to be just the thing that hikers were missing: a truly practical and simple way to gather and carry water. It has been demanding and tiring and exciting and amazing and many more things to launch the Vecto, but mainly, we got to know so many new people who have supported Cnoc which is really inspiring.
For 2018, we are making big plans on small things. Instead of launching a host of new products that we've been developing based on your ideas (and mine), we are going back to basics. 2018 is the year that Cnoc Outdoors moves to be a "USA Made" company - yes, we are moving production to the US.
Now that the designs for the Vertex and the Vecto have proven themselves, and we have a bit more money in the bank, we can find local factories to make our products. There are two main reasons for this move:
- Quality Assurance - as much as the factories in Asia are professional in making things, the final result is never as good as we want, no matter which factory we work with. We have had to deal with too many issues of someone in the production line just slacking off. Even when we have offered to pay more for each unit to make sure things are done right, products come from the factory with faults. We hope that by moving to the US, we can find factories that hold themselves to a higher standard.
- Agility in Design - we like change (well, I do at least) and updating and tweaking gear is a big part of what Cnoc is about. With big factories who also cater to many other brands, a small brand like us can't get the responsiveness we want to make those changes.
What does that mean?
It means that all your ideas and suggestions (feel free to send more) will be taken into account when we are redesigning our poles and the Vecto. The goal is to make a better product that is still light, comfortable and affordable.
Prices will rise, but we hope that by staying true to the price structure we have had so far and eliminating the retail costs, our products will stay affordable.
How we are going to make it all work is still to be determined as we are finalizing factories, designs etc. We might use the Kickstarter platform again or maybe just offer a pre-order structure on our new products to cut some of the costs that a Kickstarter campaign requires. What do you think? What will work better? I'd love your input.
Last, but most definitely not least, we are expanding. In the last year I have been doing almost everything myself with the help of family and friends when needed. This year, the official Cnoc Outdoors team will expand; you can check out the new jobs page soon.
Part of the expansion means we will be using a fulfillment center, with the hopes of getting orders to you faster and more efficiently.
Those are our preliminary plans for 2018, well, besides hiking, backpacking, more product ideas and development. Oh, and trail days!
Happy new year.