Business Strategies

That is a funny title because it isn’t like there is much of a business model steering this whole thing. There is certainly some steering away from what I think is wrong in modern business practices. Quite often there is a real emphasis on marketing, at the expense of quality. It’s everywhere in the mass market and spills into the cottage industry too, especially as cottage brands grow. It’s sad to say that, in terms of finances, the strategy often works for that company….but it isn’t really doing any favors for the consumer.

The general model is to produce a product that is juuuust good enough to keep people from complaining, make it in a bunch of pretty colors and convenience features, and then put the bulk of your money and effort into marketing it. There is usually a marketing team that will spam exposure out to every corner and spokesperson who will make claims like “worlds best X”, which of course is a real sneaky, manipulative, commonly used tactic. It’s basically a claim that no one can disprove because it’s so subjective, so it opens up the door for them to make wild and clearly false claims. The time and effort in these products is primarily in the marketing. The design is a small slice that usually focuses on copying a proven method used by other companies. This will minimize their risk and design effort since someone else already did that work. Improving a product through innovation really isn’t even on the radar….unless there is something flashy about it that can sell through the above methods. Otherwise, it’s too much risk and effort when they are going to pour so much into marketing.

To Timmermade, these entities are probably a good thing. The goal of Timmermade is kind of to quietly produce good designs, over in the margins. I mean, oftentimes it feels just too easy to improve on some of the products out there. When something like Timmermade grows bigger and bigger, it tends to get watered down. The original ideals that are the life of such a thing, start to fade into the background as the products cater to whatever is selling to uneducated masses. Even if I remained defiant and stuck to producing the best products I could produce, if they gained in popularity, due to their advantages, then someone, at some point, will knock it off. They’re going to copy it and ram it through the above marketing model. It’ll be a watered down version of our product, that looks similar, but comes in pretty colors, includes a bunch of convenience features that degrade its performance, and it’ll be spammed to every corner of the internet.

I’m happy with Timmermade just hanging out over in a little niche market, where we can keep doing what we’re doing, without much attention. The bigger brands that want to follow a marketing heavy model will hold onto the low effort, uneducated consumers that wouldn’t work well with Timmermade anyway. Good performance rarely comes from a product alone. It comes from a well engineered and designed product that can perform well with a user that will do the right things, at the right time. This is one of the effects of modern business. The idea that a product should do all the work and the user should be exempt from any responsibility for the process. Reality couldn’t be further from that truth. These heavily marketed, mediocre products will do all tasks poorly, for the unaware user that will put them into the wrong scenarios. These items will need to build in compensation to overcome inefficiencies and this results in heavy stuff that doesn’t do anything well.

This sounds a bit elitist if you assume that the demand is an “educated user”, but really the demand is just a consumer that is willing to put in some effort to become educated. That certainly isn’t to say that everyone should agree with me and that our designs will always work for everyone. I don’t take any issue with people who’s opinions might not line up with my philosophies in outdoor gear or take issue with people giving negative feedback. Negative feedback is inevitable at some point when you’re producing specialized gear, and it should be considered of great value. These are data points that will result in better designs in the future. What does create an issue is the consumer who just isn’t willing to put effort into the use and purchase of gear. The process for purchasing Timmermade products intentionally involves some effort and works as an automatic filtering system. The filtering is a byproduct of a necessary process of getting all the details right, but I’m happy if this also means the low effort consumer gives up and goes elsewhere.


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