Yearly Email Update
While I have had every intention of writing and sending emails with shop updates, fun inspiring stories, and new product releases, it seems that I have been stuck at about 1 email a year with the shop pulling me in every direction. Who knew running a business would mean I have very little time for the things I want to focus on. Anyways, here is our summer update and some news on the shop.
As many of you know, San Util finally made the move to a new shop on main street in Winter Park Colorado. Tons of friends and new customers have asked why we moved and how it has been going, so here is a short story to scratch that question. Please excuse my kindergarten like grammar and voice.
Why we moved:
Well, the short of it is that San Util was becoming an unhealthy thing for me at the size that it was. I was working 60-80 hour weeks working as hard as I could to get all of the admin, marketing, photos, customer service, business development and production done. I was running myself into the ground and this past winter was one of the most difficult yet for me because as you can imagine, I kinda forgot to take care of myself in all the chaos (we are still learning this piece). As I was working through my yearly reports, PNL, and looking at my COGS, I decided I either needed to grow and go full in, or take a step back and get another job. Issue is, I had a taste of how it feels to run my own business. The feeling I get from having an idea and executing it is addictive and I love it. So, my only option was to dive in. To scale and to grow some. I love running a business that has conviction, wants to take care of customers and wants to have employees that thrive working for it. Through the month of March during tax season, I decided to jump in and go for it. That left the month of April to actually find a space, negotiate rent, and sign a lease and then less than a month to complete all the tenant improvements on the space and get open. Along with all of that, the whole point of moving to a new space was to scale some, which meant I needed more help. I now needed to learn how to hire someone, train them how to sew and run the shop, and work in an HR position as well. This next couple months was going to be a lot.
Okay so the idea was ready to go. Time to execute. We signed our lease May 4th and dove in. I worked all day at the old shop getting orders out and headed to the new shop to knock out walls, paint, build fixtures and give the space the feel we were going for. Our first official employee (Caleb) started May 15th and within a couple weeks of training, Caleb was off to the races crushing bags (I seriously could not have done this summer without Caleb). The 3rd week of May Hannah Jensen painted a beautiful mural in our workshop and the day before moving in, we were ready to go! We moved the whole shop June 1st and were back at production June 2nd. Caleb and I worked our hardest to get as many custom orders out as we could while also building stock for the shop and welcoming new customers into the shop.
How has it been?
It has been really really good. And also so hard. I have always been a person who has been good at putting a plan together, working efficiently, and getting to a complete goal. This summer has been a summer of learning that sometimes everything is chaos and plans just need to go a different direction (often that feeling is not a fun one). We worked as hard as we could to keep up but at one point we were at almost a 1 month lead time (my worst nightmare). I was training the best I could, but was forgetting things, forgetting emails, and generally overwhelmed.
Now reflecting back on it all, I can’t believe I was able to keep my head on straight. It was the best and hardest summer I have experienced to date. I am so extremely proud of our crew of employees. Friends that jumped in to help, and my community of people made it all happen. This next year is going to be great and we are only learning and getting better.
It feels like it was May just the other day. This summer has been full of repeated wins for San Util, we have had our 5 biggest months back to back and for the first time my little dream of manufacturing something and building a brand seems like it could actually have some merit. It will work (good self talk here)!
Other things that are happening:
The White Rim
Over the past couple years, I have been pretty pumped on riding a lot of miles fairly quickly and off the couch (kind of). I did the White Rim in a day a few years back for my first time. It was an amazing time out in the desert, but I was left thinking I left a lot of time on the table. I was fairly positive that I could ride it in under 10 hrs if not faster. A few months back, (while in the despair section of the summer) I decided I needed something to train for and to get me through the busy summer. I got a group of friends together that had similar goals for a ride like that and we put a date on the calendar. The 10th of October. We would leave Monday to drive out, ride Tuesday, and drive back home Wednesday. We started at the corner of Mineral Bottom and the asphalt road and set out. If you haven’t ridden the white rim, it is a fairly sandy and rough double track road with some of the best views of Canyonlands National Park. I think it is the best way to experience the park. From the sunrise on the rim, to riding the grueling miles and burn between the shoulders and neck around mile 70, it was all an amazing experience. During a ride that far, everything in your body screams for you to stop and rest and stretch, but we had a time goal, we couldn’t stop. The satisfaction from pushing through something so strenuous feels sooooo good afterwards. We ended up hitting out goal and finished the 100 mile loop in 9hrs 46mins. It took all of about 40 mins to forget all the pain and start planning the next trip. How we could improve, what we would do differently.
I am pretty pumped about the feedback we have received on the whirlpool. Folks are loving them. For those of you who haven’t seen the pack, it is a 3.5ish liter hip pack that is designed for riding (although you can use it for anything) and can hold a bladder inside and bottle holsters on the sides. We added the whirlpool to the custom pack side of the website and just released a restock of the 3 standard colors.
New Ski Pack Coming Soon
Our first foray into winter sports will be released for presale mid to late November.