October 8, 2014
Man this has been one of the busiest months in a long time. We’ve been just totally slammed.
Our first round of inventory arrived, and instead of starting out with just a few orders/week and building from there, we started with a large backlog of rush orders, all of which had to be shipped out ASAP. Many of those orders were for customers who were literally about to leave on trips and they needed their bags. Plus there was a flurry of last-minute calls/emails/posts about address changes, order changes, special handling requests, and rush requests.
This was our first go-round with order fulfillment and we were learning as we went. Things like order management, collecting and accounting for payment, assembling product, packing and shipping, etc. One example: after packing/shipping all the pre-orders we realized that we didn’t have a way to gather and redistribute tracking numbers. We got swamped with emails/calls from customers understandably wondering whether their order had shipped, where it was, and when it was going to arrive.
In addition to the above, we also had three back-to-back rallies in New Mexico, California, and North Carolina. Each rally is a Wednesday-to-Monday affair including packing, traveling, and setup, which means nearly a week out of the office for one of us. In a business with only two employees, being short-staffed by 50% is a lot!
All the pre-orders have now been shipped. We’re mostly caught up on email and voicemail as well. There were a few shipping mistakes, mostly related to mounting pucks. Hopefully all those issues have now been resolved and everyone is happy! It’s awesome to see all the reviews and pics on advrider.
Administratively-speaking, things are running a lot more smoothly. We’re linked up to the warehouse — albeit still somewhat manually — and they’ve been packaging our outgoing shipments for the last two weeks. We moved the Mosko website shopping cart from Paypal to Shopify, which so far seems much simpler and less glitchy all around. It’s still a totally homemade and basic website/cart, but at least it’s working, and the price was right ($0). The ongoing daily/weekly flow of orders is much more manageable than before, and our order/payment receipt process is more automated as well.
Our main ocean shipment of inventory arrived in Portland last week. It cleared customs Friday and is expected at the warehouse this week. This round of inventory is expected to carry us through next Spring. This batch should be easier to handle because the time-sensitivity is less, and we have some established assembly/packing processes that we learned the first time around.
KTM Rally Taos, New Mexico
We heard about this rally from Tracy at Revit and decided to check it out. Because of everything else going on, I flew in instead of driving, and rented this 10′ uhaul box truck for transport and sleeping.
Mike Rowland, who lives in Santa Fe (an easy stop on the way from Albuquerque to Taos), let us borrow this nicely kitted KTM 690 with Touratech racks to demo bags at the show. I stopped-off to pickup the bike before heading up into the mountains.
The Rally itself was at the base of the ski resort in Taos, a bit over 9,000 feet. The altitude took a little getting used to, particularly with respect to aerobic activity and whiskey consumption. Here’s what the vendor area looked like. Pretty much all the riders were out during the day, so most of the activity was in the morning and late afternoon.
The Mosko booth was situated between Revit and Jesse Luggage. Giant Loop, Klim, and Wolfman were directly across the way. When things were slow I got to hang out with Tracy and Paolo from Revit, plus meet Al Jesse and hear some of his stories about trips around the world. I also got to meet Eric from Wolfman, and learned that in addition to being the founder/owner of the business, Eric also does all the design and pattern-making himself. That’s something I have a whole new appreciation for. It was cool to meet the people behind these companies that I’ve been a customer/fan of for years.
Setup camp in the Uhaul right around the corner from the show.
Burger, fries, & whiskey.
Horizon’s Unlimited in Mariposa, CA
Right after getting back from Taos, after two intense days of shipping (covered in Andrew’s last post), I took off for the HU gathering near Yoesimte, about a 14 hour drive from Hood River. After a clusterf@#k of trying to borrow trailers from different friends the morning of my departure, I ended up renting another uhaul. We really need to get our own Mosko trailer.
Got a flat tire on the way down, which with the camper and trailer attached, was kind of a pain.
Thanks to the trailer delays and flat tire en route, I pulled in late and barely even had a chance to setup the booth before getting absorbed in interesting conversations with folks about future/past trips, our bags, etc.
Reconnected with Ed Surman (center with hat) who is on a multi-year RTW trip and also my buddy David (far right, orange shirt) who I met 5-6 years ago riding in South America.
We got Ed setup with some new bags for the rest of his trip. His advrider thread is here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=952183
This was the first event where people actually arrived with Mosko bags already on their bikes. So cool!
Check out this cool heavily-modified BMW with KTM 950 SE forks on it.
Regina tried to teach her corgi to drink from the MOLLE hydration pouch.
Got Phil setup with a new Backcountry duffle for his ride to South America.
A recent convert to soft bags stopped by and showed off his swelling & scars from breaking his leg on aluminum panniers while riding offroad. Three different people came by with similar leg-break stories just at this one event alone.
Got to hang out with Roel and Azure from My Ticket to Ride. They’re posted-up in California working at a winery, saving up money before heading South this fall. Roel’s thinking about adding a set of Scouts to his Africa Twin crash bars. It’s not where we designed them to go obviously, but it’s a cool idea and they would definitely get a good thrashing up there, which is good from a product testing/design standpoint. Stoked to follow the rest of Roel & Azure’s trip.
On the last day Ed and I hung out for a while and I watched him pack. These bags will be logging a lot of miles. It’ll be great to incorporate his feedback into future designs.
It’s different packing a bike when you’re living off it for years, as opposed to going camping for a couple weeks.
The HU event was a great one for Mosko in terms of being a fun and interesting trip, and also in terms of actual orders. After a busy couple of weeks I decided to detour through Yosemite park and drive home on 395 through eastern California. On the way I stopped and camped for a night at this awesome hot springs, which I had all to myself.
Overland Expo East in North Carolina
Andrew and I overlapped in Oregon for only a few hours before he took off for Overland East. He just got back last night and emailed me these pics.
Looks like our shade structure was damaged in the wind/rain they had out there.
With this especially busy stretch behind us, Andrew and I are looking forward to slowing down a bit and re-focusing our attention on product development, particularly with respect to the Reckless designs and riding apparel. Product development was temporarily on hold while we figured out how to receive, assemble, collect, and ship our first round of products. Now it feels like we’re officially in business, finally.