Glad to see some responses from the designer/producer. But I'll be waiting to see what happens.
To wit: I was manager and purchasing agent for an independent wilderness sports shop for several years back in the late 1970's. We had a number of folks bring us really impressive and uniquely designed products, like one couple who had an entire line of frame, day, summit, shoulder and fanny packs made from all natural products like hemp and linen canvas, laminated wood and leather. We loved them and placed a large order, even persuaded them to give us several samples to put on display with their photo catalog. This was in early summer and we had tremendous response from customers to the packs, collecting a whole file card box of pre-orders for them. By Fall the makers were only able to send us about a dozen daypacks and shoulder bags. A few items trickled in until late November, at which point we finally tracked them down by phone (they had stopped returning calls around September) and they admitted they were having trouble getting quantities of the materials and labor they needed to fulfill their orders and had decided it was "too much hassle". The frame pack "sample" we had bought for display was so popular we had to do a drawing to see which of the pre-order customers got it. The dozens of other customers we had to disappoint were very unhappy.
This happened more than once, which was discouraging since we tried to support small craftspeople and offer unusual and innovative items in the store. I have also seen it happen in the construction business, with new products heavily marketed to designers and engineers before the inventors can actually produce them, leaving contractors with specified design items they can't procure. The term "unobtainium" becomes more than a joke. It's great to have a brilliant design, but being able to produce it to meet market demand is a whole other game.
My advice to the Orukayak makers would be to get as many of the best prototype you have NOW out to the first line of buyers as Beta testers, with an express liability proviso and a promise to exchange them if they have problems or you do a major engineering change as the production ramps up. There could be no better field testing for useful feedback and it would greatly improve your marketing position. Just having ten or 12 in the water around the country would allay people's skepticsm.
If you wait until you are "sure" the design is "perfect" you may lose all your momentum.
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles
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