Well, there’s a title I never could have predicted I’d be writing. But that’s how it goes. See, we’re over here in Wyoming, sitting on a design for THE BEST portable hammock stand out there, but the planning & production came to a screeching halt with… The Virus. It’s been frustrating. It’s been lots of work. It’s felt like trudging. But, like all difficult things, we think it’s making us better. We’ve learned some stuff so we wrote it down for you.
1) No amount of tantrums or cussing speeds up the process. (*cough* Kristen *cough*)
2) People are amazingly understanding and kind. First and foremost, our eagerly waiting customers have been SO patient. We know they are excited because of the e-mails and DMs we receive weekly, wondering what our status is. It has been frustrating to constantly tell them “we don’t know yet,” but they have responded with compassion, understanding, and kind words. Wow. Thanks everyone.
We also should mention our amazing team. We have an awesome photographer, a talented videographer, and an on-the-ball marketing team waiting in the wings for our go-ahead. They have adjusted their calendars and made changes for us non-stop over the last six months. They could have gotten frustrated and dropped us as clients, but they’ve hung in there and we are so appreciative.
People are awesome. Kindness is cool and we are thankful to have been recipients of so much of it lately.
3) The manufacturers you choose to work with are key to your experience. Trust us, we’ve been through several, American and overseas. A couple of them “dropped” us at the last minute, just before production started. We’ve had a manufacturer become very frustrated with our high standards. We’ve had companies that wanted to over-charge for crappy products. We’ve had people make promises and never fulfill them. AND. We’ve landed on a great company in China who has worked closely with us on every step of the design process. We have insisted on high quality and they have met us there. They have been kind, communicative, and really worked to understand our vision. This pandemic hasn’t made things easy, but they could have been much more unpleasant with a different manufacturing company.
4) Don’t compromise on quality just to speed things along. There were moments along the way when we could have just said, “Eh, it’s good enough,” and accepted a less-than-top-notch product. We might have even gotten to production weeks sooner. But what’s the point of selling pieces that don’t look nice, or don’t fit perfectly together? We try not to be perfectionists about everything in life, but our products are a different story. Customers are giving us their trust when they give us their money and we take that very seriously.
5) There is always plenty to do, even without product. Sure, our schedules and checklists didn’t play out as expected. But would you believe we always found something that needed to be done? There were social media posts to make, products to test, pictures to take, e-mails to return, a website to build, and blog posts to write. We found stuff to do that could still move the dial.
6) Find a way to step away. Yes, as stated above, there’s always plenty to do, but you can’t be thinking about your business 100% of the time. For your own sanity and for the love of pine trees go camping. Or hiking. Or read a book. Or SOMETHING. Clear your head. Remind yourself what’s most important. And come back to work fresh and ready to go.
7) Keep playing the long game. Did this suck? Absolutely. Did it go as planned? No way. But if we look back years from now, it will barely be a hiccup. To us, this isn’t about the hills and valleys on the journey, it’s about the end goal. We keep holding the image in our minds of smiling clients taking their new hammock stand on their backpacking, mountain-biking, camper van-ing, motorcycling, RV-ing, backyard-ing adventures. Our stands are bomb and we haven’t lost our enthusiasm about them.
8) Laugh. You can only get so many bad news e-mails before they start becoming funny, right? If you look at this whole adventure as a comedy of errors and a good story later, it becomes a lot more bearable. Besides, laughing is good for your health.
So, yeah, it’s been an adventure, and will no doubt continue to be. We will continue to keep you posted via Facebook, Instagram, and this blog. Our e-mail list hears stuff FIRST though, so sign up here if you haven’t yet. We’re grateful for you!
Cal & Kristen