Waypoint and Azimuth
It is time to review how the year went and plot the course of progress for the next year. As we stand here in the middle of the shop, surrounded by hundreds of quilts, tarps, hammocks and other stock items we are in our tenth year. We just registered for JRB’s eleventh annual Trail Days at Damascus in May. And the following month, on 4 June, Jacks ‘R’ Better LLC will celebrate its 10th Anniversary.
OMG, I just realized the Original under Quilt, The JRB Nest, prototypes actually had their 10 year anniversary last month … They were literally sewn up during the Christmas Holidays of December 2003 and tested on a 27° night the week between Christmas and New Years on a windy bluff high above the James River a few hundred yards north of Jamestown, Virginia, the site of the first permanent English settlement in America. Guess that settlement and the JRB Nest under quilt have success and staying power in common.
Like our country which has sure seen growth and change in the last 237 years, the Nest has seen its fair share of growth and change … 19 changes and improvements in its first decade.
2013 was an excellent year by every standard. Quilt sales, our primary yardstick, continued our 10 year growth pattern by an amazing 50 percent. We are thankful to the Lord and our customers. We hope that our business conduct is pleasing to Him and you, and that you are warmly enjoying your JRB gear.
2013 saw the conversion of all top quilts to the new 14 baffle design for improved down control.
2013 saw the introduction of hydrophobic down, Activ-Dri down, as an option in all quilts and our standard offering in both JRB down hoods and down sleeves. Activ-Dri Down is a polymer treated down, independently tested to be five times slower to absorb moisture and three times faster in drying than un-treated down. The recognition of the value added by Activ-dri down is shown by the high rate of customer preference. Fully 75 percent of quilt orders since its introduction have opted for Activ-Dri down.
Our continued growth demanded increased capacity for 2013. For the second consecutive year we added permanent staff and machine capability to the JRB shop. As importantly, we increased USA factory production by well over 50 percent and local sub-contractor production by 25percent. These increases insured our fundamental commitment to customer service. Our goal of same or next business day shipping was met on 99 % of orders.
Rounding out our tenth year we added new items to both our kitchen section and repair section.
The OliCamp XTS Pot, with its heat exchanger, for faster boils and fuel savings, joined 2012’s selection of 15 tasty Enertia Trail Foods Meals, the Vargo Titanium Long Handle Spoons and the Vargo Titanium Spork.
Mc Nett product availability increased with the addition of Tenacious Tape and SILFIX to the previously available SILNET, SEAMGRIP, as well as their ReviveX Down Cleaner Concentrate and ReviveX Durable Water Proofing.
Looking ahead to 2014, Jacks ‘R’ Better will debut a new quilt for our Tenth Anniversary. Initial prototyping and testing is well underway. It will be available at Trail Days … We expect it will be a big item on launch. Hope to see ya’ll in Damascus.
We will be expanding our available pads for the ground sleepers.
We currently have two prototype tarps in development, both with increased design capability and new material capabilities. Look for a spring introduction.
Minor design improvements are in store for the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock, deluxe models for 2014.
In closing, we intend to make 2014 another great year of value in both products and customer service. Our pledges:
*Fair, Competitive Pricing
*And, as always, “Same or next business day shipping”
Jack & Jack