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!