2008, our fifth year of operation, what a great year!
We began the year with a small but growing national advertising campaign including Banner ads on Both Hammock Forums and White Blaze and quarterly ads in “Backpacker Magazine”.
We entered the wholesale market in addition to our internet retail base. JRB exhibited at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Utah in August. Currently there are four retailers carrying JRB gear. There is a small presence of JRB in Georgia, Ohio, Louisiana, and Front Royal, Virginia. The web site has a tab for our retailers.
Speaking of the web site, the site got a total makeover in late fall. Of special note, although JRB still does not do custom work, we have added a page of frequently requested available options. Some are even FREE. You will find the page link on the Products page of the new site.
Three new quilts debuted this year:
Our Fifth Anniversary Special, the Winter Nest debuted at Trail Days. This is primarily the Original Nest, a tried and proven performer, with a 50 percent increase in both baffle height and down.
A totally new quilt the Mount Washington was debuted at the OR Show. This is a dual differentially designed, body contoured winter quilt. As an under quilt, it is a simple attach and snug up, error free installation winter quilt. With loft of 4-5 inches that cannot be compressed by the occupant of the hammock, in normal use, this quilt is zero degree capable.
A special limited offer 2/3 quilt, the Torso Length Wearable Under Quilt, was available for one month special order in November/December for Christmas delivery. This quilt transformed into a parka length vest and with the addition of JRB Sleeves and Hood becomes a full parka. It has ¾ inch baffles and is all black in color.
Several other new products found their way to market this year at JRB:
JRB Tri-Glides were developed for no-knot and lashing free hanging by users of 1 inch web straps. They are machined of 3/16 inch aircraft grade aluminum. Anyone who can fasten a tri-glide belt buckle can now hang in secure, easily adjustable, knot free confidence.
A Strap set of two 12 foot lengths of 1 inch polypropylene webbing with sewn in loops on one end and an included pair of JRB Tri-Glides quickly followed thus providing a complete package for use with hammocks that do not come with straps. They also provide the most simple, and normally the lightest form of replacement suspension for those desiring such a conversion of other hammock suspensions. In fact at 4.2 oz per set, the set reduces an Eagles Nest hammock itself by 0.3 oz when the stock hardware is totally replaced by the JRB Hammock Strap set … That’s right! The Eagles Nest hammock with JRB Strap set weighs less than the basic Eagles Nest hammock alone … plus the suspension is then included.
The first production run of the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock, the world’s first and only commercially available, true lay flat, lay straight hammock was received in January and sold out 25 percent faster than forecasted.
The JRB 11×10 Cat tarp first production run was also received in January and it too sold out far earlier than expected. Subsequent production runs of both the BMBH and 11×10 Cat tarp have been received and continue to do well.
The first true hammock tent, the JRB Hammock Hut, finalized prototyping, trial runs, and also became a full production capability in 2008.
All new color options for tarps and tents, moss green (olive) and cattail brown replaced the original kelly green color. This customer desired change has been well received.
In an effort to support customers in this uncertain economy JRB experimented with a 60-90 days same as cash sale program during the Annual Early Bird Special Holiday Sale. We are pleased that those who elected the approach, a strictly honor based, no contract approach, were 100 percent faithful. We will consider making this optional form of purchase available during future holiday sales.
Finally as a State of the Market Report to the hammock community, hammock camping certainly appears alive and well to us. Jacks ‘R’ Better grew by over fifty percent in sales volume during the down economy of 2008. We enter 2009 ready to support your hammock, hammock insulation, and hammock accessory needs.
First, all of the current JRB items will continue for 2009.
All of the Standard Family of JRB Quilts, the 48 inch width quilts, will be made fully reversible for all model hammocks, including the Hennessy Hammocks. Look for this change in late January.
There will be a three season model of the Mt Washington family of quilts. We expect it to début at Trail Days in Damascus Virginia, mid May.
Finally, JRB has obtained a large volume, assured source for a new outer shell color of quilt material. Same great 1.1 oz DWR rip stop nylon … just a new subdued color … a near return to the original olive color.
Jack and Jack
Jacks ‘R’ Better, LLC