It’s been a bit since I’ve posted much on our Slackline Express blog. Some astute people may have noticed that our order delays went up quite a bit over the last month or two and I figure that it’s only fair to say why. The short story is, I got another job. The long story is well, a bit longer.
You see, we managed to move to a larger facility and makes some big investments in growing our little eco-friendly, made in the USA sewing shop right before the economy decided to fall in the crapper. This isn’t an unusual story and I know we weren’t the only ones who saw a lot of pressure from the recession. Frankly, I should be happy our doors are still open judging from the evening news. Small business loans and lines of credit are nearly impossible for emerging companies right now, so it left us in a bit of a lurch (understatement of the year). Trouble is, when all of our funding dried up, that meant no inventory unless it was in very small batches, and often only once the orders were placed.
Adding insult to injury, all of our shipping carriers raised rates a substantial amount, same with several of our materials providers. We had offers from Chinese manufacturing companies to produce our slacklines at what I can only assume is slave level labor prices, but having seen the quality control as well as the ethical dilemmas involved, we had to take a different route than some of the other slackline companies out there are currently doing.
Since I refused to lower our quality on slacklines, we had to make a few price adjustments (yes, I can hear the moans now) and push back our response time (again, more moans). We won’t be doing super-duper-absolutely-insane sales this holiday either (but there will be some good deals). I picked up a technology job here at University of Colorado Boulder and handed off the company’s reins to our longtime production manager, Teale Niemeyer. I’m still around for design and long term planning, but as an owner’s role rather than a general manager’s role. This wasn’t my long term plan to say the least, however, by doing so, it moved us from shaky ground where I honestly thought we were going to have to sell off the company to a more stable situation to ride out the economic downturn.
I’m also currently looking for another investment partner to help us continue to grow as we’re on the cusp of a very large opportunity that will continue to be delayed until a better foundation for our company’s future can be laid. We’ve looked at some options, but taking on someone who is willing to have an active role in the company is by far the ideal solution.
Hopefully, these problems will be continue to be improved and we’ve already had response times lowered significantly. We expect to be back to more reasonable time from order to ship within the next three weeks, just in time for the holidays.