Friday the Fourteenth

Yeah, yeah, I know. I’ve been silent for several months. But tonight, my wife is out of town, the dog and cat have been fed, and I have no excuse not to catch up.

If anyone is still checking in, here’s what’s been happening at Folbot. Please use the comment section to tell me what’s going on in the rest of the world as you see it, because we certainly can’t seem to figure it out.

Generally, sales have been soft. A graph of our monthly shipments clearly shows a precipitous drop occurring immediately after August 31, 2005. We were humming right along till then. What happened at that point? Well, hurricane Katrina, obviously, followed quickly by a $1/gallon increase in the cost of gasoline. But our boats don’t use gas. And if we could paddle the Interstates, that might make a difference. But you can’t paddle to work, and I think that for the typical American, mad money for those things you could enjoy the most has taken a hit. Do you agree?

But to quote a friend on the west coast who owns a folding kayak shop…
“I just love these boats so much, I’m going keep selling them till I’m totally out of money and then find something else to do”. In our case, we’ll keep manufacturing and selling.

So what have we been doing when we’re not banging our heads repeatedly on shop tables trying to figure out the world economy? We’ve been improving our boats.

Besides a new hypalon hull fabric that won’t oxidize, has a tougher substrate, and better topcoat adhesion, we’ve retailored each skin to all-but-eliminate tension ripples. And we’ve tested a new spray deck and skirt on the Greenland II that will soon become standard on all of our boats. Gobe would even be proud. And there are some new deck colors, a very nice looking teal, a pewter gray and yes, even a purple (more like wine) that will also be added soon.

We have also installed some RF sealing equipment that will allow us to control the quality of our inflatables, such as sponsons, safety bladders, pontoon bladders and the like. I was amused by a posting on the forum recently from a customer who loved his boat, but had a sponson that leaked and was amazed that a company would ship a boat without testing the sponsons. This should no longer be a problem, but for the record, not only do we test all sponsons, we inflate them all to very high pressure for a minimum of 24 hours before we even install them in a boat. Go figure.

We have other changes in mind for the future, so stay in touch!

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6 thoughts on “Friday the Fourteenth

  1. Sounds like you have been busy with the always ongoing improvements. They all sound good, Mr. Phil.

    Trying to figure out customer buying cycles is probably a ‘crap-shoot’ at best. Good luck! You’ve got great products and unbeatable customer service, as many ‘Folboters’ can attest to.

  2. Mr. Phil,
    Congratulations on your improvements! They are always wecome, although I think any of the Folbots I’ve purchased were perfect from the factory.

    The new tougher skin is a boon to those folks that don’t realize they have a skin boat and insist on paddling on oysters (geees!).

    The picture of the frame going into a Cooper would make a great ad in Canoe & Kayak mag.

    Best to ya, PeteS

  3. Sorry things are slow, but glad to see that you’re continuing to make improvements to the fleet of already very fine boats.

    We just got back from a paddling vacation, and at every put in folks came up and asked about our GII. I did the best sales job I could, but if you send me a few brochures to pass out and I think we could boost those sales figures for you 😉

    All the best,

    Dave

  4. Good to hear of all the new things coming up.

    I think paddleboat sales are soft everywhere, but don’t have any data to back that up. These things go in cycles — I bet it will turn around in a year or so.

    Thanks for making such great boats!

  5. I know we have stopped flying with our Greenland – DHS/TSA/Airlines have made the entire experience unenjoyable. Yet there are plenty of places here on the continent, and people always ask about the odd boat-in-the-bag. And thanks for the continueing improvements – they make the Folbot a better and better value. Looking forward to the new sprayskirt. Please do it in a solo version!

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