In the last couple of months I have written about Tony and me coming aboard at Folbot and about the importance of the Folbot community. This month I wanted to share some thoughts about the folks who actually make the boats that we get to sell and you get to paddle. Without them, there would be no Folbot.
The first thing you notice about the staff at Folbot is how seriously they take their jobs. Whether it is Viet working on the frames or Cindy sewing the decks to the hulls or Herb finishing the keels, there is a sense of intensity and attention to detail that fills the room. These folks do not want to make a mistake and really want Folbot owners to be delighted with their boats. They are VERY proud of what they do.
To help achieve everyone’s goal of building a perfect folding kayak, we have put in place a weekly quality assurance meeting where everyone on the staff evaluates the same boat at the same time. The kayak is selected at random from orders waiting to ship and is gone over with a fine-toothed comb – with the entire staff present and participating. This is a very engaged process and, if something unsatisfactory is found, everyone is involved in creating solutions. A boat that is less than perfect is viewed as a challenge to be overcome – and it is also a bit of an affront to the staff. Quality is taken extremely seriously.
But it is one thing to know what the boat should look like and how it is made; it is another to know what it is like to paddle one. So, about a week and a half ago we took all the boats and all the staff out to the Ashley River near the factory – and we paddled and paddled. (Yes, that is why you could not reach us on November 2nd.) The wind was blowing (Cliff Branham joined us and brought his Greenland II with the sail rig – now that was fun!), the sun eventually came out, and we had an award winning chicken and rib chef whip up the food. Ray can now tell you why the Yukon is his favorite boat, Wanda will sing the praises of the Kiawah, Mary will tell you all about sailing, Billie enjoyed paddling with Cindy in the GII but wants her own Yukon, and Kwame is still deciding between the Cooper and the Kiawah. We learned a lot and had a blast.
Click here to see the fleet getting ready to launch; here to see the fleet on the water; here for the crew getting ready to set sail; here for Cindy and Billie heading out; and here to see some grilling Charleston style.
Folbot is real people handcrafting your boats for you. All these folks want you to love your kayaks with as much passion as they have in making them: Dot (with Folbot 37 years), Wanda (7 years), Cindy (3 years), Billie (4 years), Herb (2 years) John (2 years), Kwame (2 years) Linda (11 years), Mary (20 years), Phong (2 years), Viet (24 years), Ray (1 year) and, of course, Phil (24 years).
As always, I’d love to hear from you — firstname.lastname@example.org.