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Getting sleeping bags back on track

By alpjim
16, Jan, 2014

We are looking at production methods and longer term sustainable ways that will allow us to remain in stock of all products at all times

An original PD600 in the field.

Firstly please let me apologise for the service we have given all our customers on our sleeping bags recently, we need to get our butts into gear on this. I know the frustration in continually waiting for stock and this is in part one of the reasons we have currently removed them from our webshop. Until we have concrete news on their delivery, please assume we do not sell sleeping bags.

So what has gone wrong?
The biggest criticism currently levelled at us is that we are always out of stock. Some of this has been slightly exagerated: we did stock PipeDream and SkyeHigh bags in 2013 however we get the general point. We are currently looking at new production methods and longer term sustainable ways that we can remain in stock of more of our products more of the time. Yep, this probably means big bank loans which we’re pretty nervous about and unfortunately this will cause some short term pain and disappointment. Alpkit has been perhaps more successful than we first expected and we will continue to swing from feast to famine if we continue with small to medium size deliveries. Smaller deliveries also go hand in hand with long lead times because overlapping orders puts yet more pressure on the cash-flow to fund deposits and the purchasing of fabrics. As people have suggested it would be really easy to stay in stock by just charging more for our products but we feel this strays away from our inherent values. We are striving to find a sustainable way we can continue to offer products with class leading performance, that are stocked conservatively and sold at our current direct prices.

During this whole process we have also decided to move away from our original down equipment manufacturer. Whilst they delivered a good product it was never amazing and the future development opportunities were limited. Since we have decided to draw a line under our current supply chain we have been talking to new factories and suppliers. This process has already been completed with our Filo down jacket. Whilst there was nothing inherently wrong with any jacket we have sold in the past, anyone who has purchased or has seen this season's jacket will agree the general look, feel and quality is a cut above what we have done before.

I would love to give everyone an accurate timescale of when we may have any new sleeping bag stock coming online, but at the moment it is just a finger in the air. We are working on new models with new factories, testing them ourselves along with our sponsored athletes. As soon as everything clicks into place we will endeavour to get our sleeping bag programme back online as quickly as we can.

Sorry I could not bring news of impending deliveries but I hope this goes someway to explaining the reasons why. Any changes to the situation will be published via Facebook, Twitter and in our own monthly newsletter.

This article was first published in response to a question in the Outdoors Magic forums.

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