First things first.... inch by inch we are getting closer to launch. We have a singled minded focus right now on getting to the point where we can show you all our website and final sample. It’s exciting. It’s happening. I’ll feel a lot better when our next (imminent) post is showing you our prototype! But this is typed with a grin – as the orders are going through!
Most exciting is the level of innovation that our team has reached. We set out to make a bag that filled a gap in the market for versatility and style. Now our product strategy includes iconic design elements, and true innovation (world leading even!) around leather treatment, production, customisation and even operating mechanics. Like all innovation, our progress has come from connecting and combining existing ideas into new and unique forms, and that is only achieved through massive amounts of collaboration. So thank you so much for all of the quiet nudges, emails, notes, texts, finance advice, networks and wall posts. They all matter. A lot.
We are finally locking down our supply chain. As part of our long term strategy, creating a truly English product is important. The reason for this is both commercial (market demand) as well as values based. It is my personal belief that having strong ethical platform will enable us to be a more enduring business, as well as making it more of a passion than a job. That will extend into our product. If you buy a Camford bag (please do) you can feel good using it, as it is made by true craftsmen (who also make for Burberry and Hackett of London) who are paid a fair wage, and sourced from local premium leather dressers and tanners who continue to use natural processing techniques that have been used for thousands of years (literally).
So... with all this good progress... why the silence? Well... the quick answer is survival. Whilst mastering the art of living cheaply (at one point we had four of us living in a one bedroom apartment for two months – oh the stories!), survival also has meant leaning on friends and family to help keep the fire fuelled, both metaphorically and financially. This led to me accepting a 3 week strategy consulting contract to cover costs in London that literally swallowed up my life. Luckily our Camford team is awesome and the wheels kept turning (if not the blogging), but it was tough. I now thoroughly understand the differentiation by investors between “lifestyle hobby businesses” and those who are 100% committing their time to it. True commitment drives exceptional results, and you can’t part-time excellence.
And now it’s Christmas. Having analysed the bag market for months now and despaired at the lack of innovation, we have identified the most Christmassy of clients – Santa! Santa no longer needs to heft a non-ergonomic sack, but could happily convert it between sack and backpack! Naturally keeping his style is key, and Camford will enable that imminently. ;)
Merry Christmas to everyone, please keep in touch... it helps!