The People Behind The Kayaks

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 — david@folbot.com.

David

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4 thoughts on “The People Behind The Kayaks

  1. I’m thrilled that you let the world know a little about the people behind the boats. My mom, Cindy, really lives this job – yes, I said LIVES! She has always been passionate about sewing and the outdoors. This is the first time she has been able to put the two together. She and I often wonder aloud about where “her kayaks” as she refers to them are being paddled. She prides herself on doing the job perfect every time. She owns her own Greenland and takes me out in it every opportunity she gets. I’ve never seen her so happy. Thanks Folbot!

  2. DAVID. Put these photo,s on the FORUM seperate if you like with the heading, folbot workers testing the boats they built ,or folbot people at play. They are great.

  3. Hey! I think this ‘Newsletter’ idea is great! Most of us folboters like to keep up with what’s going on, because quite often I’m asked about the Company and products when I’m setting up or paddling. I have yet to ‘unfold’ or ‘fold’ one of mine without drawing curious folks by the water. They’re always inpressed or, at least, surprised. If they seem really interested in it, I let them try it out if they want to. Don’t know how many, if any, I’ve ‘sold’, but I always enjoy giving demos. Gotta keep up if I’m going to stay on the ‘sales staff ;>)

  4. I only discovered the Folbot Company a couple of months ago and was excited when I saw your pontoons and outrigger that I could use on my hard body kayak. I realized just how personalized your little company was when I asked Wanda if she had blue pontoons and she said they make them to order and would dye them blue.

    If you ever make a high performance batwing sail similar to the Balogh’s I would be interested.

    John in IN

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