I built the KUIU business plan to support a level of growth that we quickly exceeded. I projected the 1st inventory purchase to last 15 months. Refilling again in June of this year.
As most of you know, KUIU is a new business model, wholesale direct online only. There was a lot of educated guessing building this business and financial plan. Most people I talked to about a direct online only brand thought it would not work because we would not sell enough product.
I believed building trust through transparency, delivering twice the product at half the price is a recipe for success if enough people would try our products. Once they tried KUIU the word would spread. Well, this happened a bit faster than I expected.
KUIU did more our 1st week than Sitka did our 1st year!
As soon as I realized I underestimated the demand for KUIU I placed a second purchase order with the factory. And then increased it a month later.
The challenge with Toray is the strict quality requirements for Primflex yarn that creates long lead-times. 6 to 8 months depending on the time of year. Throw in an earthquake and tsunami and it extended our lead-time even further.
We use Tamoda Apparel to cut and sew, a boutique operation in Vancouver. They focus on quality and are unable to turn out large volumes of product like a large overseas facility. Because of this, factory space is limited and our production runs take time. But we get a very high quality product.
These are the challenges we have been dealing with and the reason we have been out of stock for so long.
Not being happy with this situation, I have been building a new plan to manage the increase in demand.
Since the launch, I have worked with Toray, The Merino Company and Tamoda to increase how often we deliver products. This will keep us in stock more consistently by refilling on a more regular basis.
Out growing my original business plan, we needed growth capital. In December I secured a substantial bank loan to pay the larger inventory purchases to meet this seasons demand.
I share all of this with you to give you better insight to the challenges we faced this first year and the work and planning behind the scenes to insure we have product available this season when you need it. I am optimistic these measures will help meet the demand this year.
Since the 1st of the year we have been receiving shipments from Tamoda filling in on our back orders. Over the next 3 to 4 weeks we will be receiving a shipment a week, which will put us back in stock on most items. Your gear is coming soon.
Thank you for your support, patience and understanding.