Blog tagged "equipment" - N-Product
2012 saw a huge increase to our marketing budget, but going up from zero wasn't too much of a challenge. While we have never spent a dime on advertising or pr, we knew that we needed to set up shop at these events to maximize our outreach to international retailers and distributors.

Our online customers have been mainly been outside of Canada, and building that presence abroad was always part of the game plan.

The New York International Gift Fair would be our first foray into the trade show world. It is one of the biggest, with an expected traffic of over 200,000 people coming from all over the globe. It was also our most expensive activity to date next to our tooling and North American manufacturing set-up costs. Suffice to say, that we were a bit nervous when we considered the 'investment vs return' equation.

Was it worth it? For us, it was a resounding 'YES!'. Yes, it was expensive. Yes, we had no idea what we were doing. Yes, it was stressful and a lot of hard work. But it was indeed worthwhile. The most valuable part of the experience was the education we received from our fellow exhibitors and the experience. It gave us a glimpse into the market, how the big and small players acted. It also gave us the confidence and the resolve to continue on this long and winding journey.

What was supposed to be a quick synopsis of our experience turned out to be quite a long post, so we decided to divide them up and posted them in parts over the next week or so.

We broke it down to 3 main sections:
  1. Pre-show
  2. At-show
  3. Post-show
We’ll also have some Tips at the end of each article that we think may help ease your process a bit. Just like these below.

Tip: Remember, just like your daily business activity, all decisions are influenced by time or money. Sometimes, the cheapest option will require more of your time and your time is valuable. Don't always go for the cheap.

Tip: Every industry has a calendar of events, a bit of research will help you find the right event that makes sense for you, your product and your potential audience. You can cut your costs by planning ahead and registering early.

When we mapped out our course for the company and our designs, we had a very clear perspective on the colours and materials we wanted to use. We were methodical in this process, because in the world of physical product manufacturing, one has very little control. So, we focus on what a small company like us can control. We can only stay resilient to our values. 

We have ideas, good ideas—but, can those same ideas come to fruition under our main goal of producing them in North America? We had a little checklist in our heads. Each idea, no matter how big or small needed to be vetted via that list.

Case in point, we always wanted to offer non-leather, vegan options for our fans and customers. But it quickly became obvious that sourcing rubber or plastic in North America wasn't feasible for a small company that wanted to make small production runs. We have witnessed a strong community of makers who have help add upcycling to the everyday vernacular. So naturally, we went down that route.

We hunted. We gathered. We found a partner.

Mountain Equipment Co-op is a Canadian institution. They're in the business of making people active and happy, which you can witness when you see the faces of their customer shopping in their aisles. When we approached them about our idea, they were more than receptive. 

It has been a slow process (6+ months in the making) but today we launched our Re:Class line for Deckster. We have taken their unwanted backpacks, inner tubes and tires and made high-end timepiece band options. 3 in total, two of which are 100% vegan. We collected the materials and our great manufacturing partner in Montréal takes them, cleans them, cuts them and then handcrafts each band with artistry and care. The results have achieved our goal of being both top-shelf in aesthetics and more sustainable in its genesis.

So instead of wasting away in landfills, those same items will now grace fair wrists near and far. Pretty cool, no?

This has been an especially proud and rewarding product release. We never thought that our path would be a straight vector from A to B and clearly it hasn't been. If zig-zags are the only way we can stay true to ourselves, we wouldn't want it any other way.