Everyone here at Unshoes thinks that I am crazy. Well they may be right, but one of the reasons is because I like Mondays. I get to rest through the weekend (or at least on Sundays), reflect on how my week went and then get up Monday morning and take another shot. It’s like a fresh new start every single week! If it was a bad week then I have another chance to make the next one better. If it was a good week then I try to duplicate the good and add improvements. Maybe it comes with the added responsibility of running a company, or maybe I am a little crazy. Maybe it takes a little crazy to run a company! Either way, I find work much more fulfilling when I think of Mondays as another chance to do better.
I’ve never been that crazy over New Year celebrations. When I was young I liked the excuse to stay up late but now that I’m older I look for an excuse to go to bed! However, after reflecting on the business each year, I have come to realize that the New Year is like a really big Monday! It is a chance to look back and count the successes of the past year and look for ways to improve. We’ve had our share of ups and downs (especially during our very busy summer season). We have learned a lot and we have acquired some tools to help the next year to be a success. One of the major points of improvement have been our production method. It has been a challenge to keep quality up and also make the sandals using a system that allows us to keep up with demand. We have purchased some equipment and developed a good system that should keep production humming along all year.
One point that needs to be improved is our Wildflower line that we introduced via Kickstarter. The idea was great but we simply were not ready to embark on that journey. I bit off more than I could chew and it has come back to bite me. One of the main goals I have for this upcoming year is to set that in better order.
Despite our problems, we have been able to learn a lot and have taken a big step forward and the rare art of sandal making. As usual, I like to announce a few exciting things that are coming up in the following year.
1. Design improvement.
Some of you know that we have gone through a series of changes. It all started with an attempt to keep up with demand and have more of the sandal pre-made beforehand. We used screws to keep the straps onto the top of the sole. It didn’t work. We switched to rivets and that worked out better but it was still uncomfortable. Eventually we got a new sole material and changed the strap attachment so that they were sandwiched between two layers. This has been great! With a few exceptions… We still have rivets. They don’t look good and they are not comfortable. We have been testing different ways to attach the straps so that they are secure and durable enough that we can ditch the rivets altogether. We found a good method and as of today, all new orders will be made without rivets.
Another change is that we are replacing the webbing on our Wokova and PT Sleek models. (more info on this below…).
Now that we have our production method down so that it is more efficient, we are going to start offering our sandals to retail stores. We will start with a few select stores that are aligned with our philosophies. This is an exciting and somewhat scary change for us but we think it will help us ride through our slowest time of year… (right now!)
3. New Model
We have been so busy that designing a new model was not in the plans… but when inspiration strikes, it shouldn’t be ignored. I came in to the shop one day and Nick, our Production Manager, was running around the shop like a kid on Christmas morning! He had the idea and made a prototype on the spot. The new model will be introduced a little bit later on. We still have some work to do before it is ready. It does have a name but we’re going to wait until it is all ready to announce :) It is rugged enough for serious adventures but stylish enough to wear every day.
This doesn’t happen very often but we are going to have another sale. As mentioned above, we are going to change the webbing on the Wokova and PT Sleek models. So we are going to put those models on sale for 20% off regular price and use up as much of the cut webbing as possible. When the new webbing arrives offer a new and improved version of the Wokova and PT Sleek. (No discount code needed.)