Gear, Misc

The Gear Biz

This is just 1 really pertinent and commonly know example out of a great many that one could choose to illustrate a point. And this is not me saying ‘boo hoo it’s so hard for these millionaires’, far from it. I just barely ever see people who work in the realm of creating gear actually talking about the reality of their work, meanwhile most consumers naturally do not have an understanding of the business side of things. I’m not an expert in this by a long way, but there’s a few very basic things I think I can say.

One thing that’s certainly a fact is that for most businesses it is usually not really appealing to offer variants (sometimes referred to as Stock Keeping Units or SKUs) of a product outside of their top sellers. Variants that only have a very small potential customer base. This can be negated to some extent if the product is made to order, but it’s also generally not at all efficient to make product to order, certainly not “onesie twosies”, which might be a term you’ve heard banded around by an employee when someone comes to them with a cool idea but small buying intentions.

Quite simply, the more of the *exact* same thing you make in a batch the more efficient the business will be just as a result of setting up machinery, training personnel, acquiring the materials in bulk etc etc. In a perfect world you’d be constantly churning out the exact same thing 24/7 using full automation, selling huge quantities to the same place all the time and buying the raw materials in gargantuan quantities. If you’ve ever watched any sort of TV show about how mundane everyday things are made like pens, chains, pipes, basic food stuffs etc then that is how gear companies probably wish they could run; but generally they don’t because they can’t. Things go a bit more that way when looking at mass military orders done by unknown, faceless contractors, but this certainly isn’t in the case in the commercial world.

To look at this issue another way, this is often the reason why X product isn’t available in Y trials camo from the 80s outside of maybe a rare limited edition. Even then, that’s not an efficient business venture a lot of the time.

To circle back to Crye, even though people don’t generally see it that way, what CP is actually doing is offering 360 variants of a product, which honestly you could just view as making 360 different products since that’s pretty much the reality of manufacture.  While Crye certainly don’t offer 9 colour variations on every product, there are 36 listings within their clothing line up that is currently commercially available and most of those come in at least 4 colourways, if not more.  All of that is without even including the Outerwear section, let alone cordura goods.

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