Today, unexpectedly, Mid-Atlantic Mountain Works went public. Look for our symbol on the NASDAQ under…..wait.
OK, maybe not that kind of public, but public nonetheless. MAMW, as it has been affectionately referred to, has been a work in progress. I have been slowly developing my designs, building the website, sourcing materials, sourcing more materials, sewing, paying licensing fees, sewing, getting business permits, sewing, redoing the website. Did I mention sewing? In any case, I thought perhaps an inaugural blog post was in order.
As we have been in the development stage MAMW has been kept under wraps. Family and some friends were aware and I am positive all quite tired of hearing me talk about it. Regardless, everyone who knew has been wonderfully supportive. My customers so far have been pursued by yours truly (creepy right?), people I have sought out who have been willing to take a chance on me and help make my product better. Overall it has progressed pretty slowly but comfortably so far, which is not really the norm for me. I am obsessive at times, I get an idea or hobby in my head and there is really no moderation. It is usually full speed ahead and at the expense of something else I was fully enjoying at the time. I have lost touch with some hobbies and activities I use to love and I am sure when I started this, both family and friends were probably shaking their heads…jeez, here we go again!
So why start MAMW? Well, I love the outdoors. It is always who I have been, even if I have to go to an office every day and sit at a desk. Even if I can’t get out and rock climb, ride my bike, hike, camp, backpack, and take pictures as much as I would like or use to, the connection to the outdoors has never faded. I think this was implanted in my brain as a kid. Family vacations were spent camping in the Adirondacks, not on a cruise, not at the beach or in fancy hotels. Simple accommodations to do a simple but pleasurable thing. Those vacations were some of the best memories I have as a kid.
I made a decision to get back in touch with that kid. I want to spend my life doing something I enjoy. My day job pays the bills, but I would so much rather take this direction. Get myself back outside. Make things with my hands that others can use and appreciate. Things that get them outside too. Of course for now, MAMW will remain part time (please see lead times!) until it hopefully becomes something bigger and better, but that is my goal. I will do my best to grow this thing through consistently improving what I make, offer new and innovative items and even items I don’t make. Above all, I will do my best to provide the best customer experience I can. I may not always get it right, but you can rest assured I will try. I think ecommerce and big business has deteriorated the personal side of transacting. Customers can hide behind a computer screen, while big business can hide behind the high school kid they pay $7.25 an hour to sell you a $100 sleeping bag made in Asia by some elementary kid for 10 bucks. I know, I know, the kid can’t possibly be in elementary school…he’s working for crying out loud!
In all seriousness, I know, that is a simple and unfair view. Some companies produce wonderful products in Asia and some pay employees quite well and have great customer support and warranty service. I am not trying to delve into the economics of globalization or the drivers of a consumer economy and I know, this is coming from a guy who is launching an online business, primarily transacted through email and a website. But I want to make the point that I plan to do everything I can to make our products and your experience with MAMW one you can feel good about, a business right here in the Mid-Atlantic, offering goods made by me, just as many of the wonderful cottage vendors in this industry have done before me and continue to do.
I will wrap up this first post by saying I am both terrified and uncontrollably excited all at the same time. I knew that there was a chance this would get out before I was ready to have an official announcement or whatever, so this took me a bit by surprise. Gloves are off now bro! Hold on, that reminds me, I need to run downstairs and remove the training wheels from my sewing machine and cutting table. Be right back.
Some may say it is early for thank you's but I wouldn't be sitting right here typing this if it weren't for some pretty important folks. A big thanks to my customers so far for taking a chance! Jeremy, thanks for the pushing MAMW over the cliff today man. Time I learn to fly.
I also want to thank my wonderful wife, for putting up with all the hours I have spent, not with her, but with the sewing machine. There are not many people out there who would be so understanding and supportive. Thanks to my family…holy cow, if we have to spend another weekend brainstorming designs and ideas and talking about MAMW they may disown me. M&D, I am sorry you have so many crappy practice quilts in your closet; we will get you some genuine MAMW sweetness soon, I promise.
Thanks to all my friends I have had limited contact with while I Frankenstein these things in the basement. To Dutch& Keith, Allied Feather and others who said yes to some random dude wanting to use their stuff to make quilts with order quantities only slightly larger than the normal DIYer.
This thing either gets better or worse from here on out, so I wanted to say my thanks when I thought the timing was right. Hope it is…
NOW LET'S SEE SOME ORDERS!
Mid-Atlantic Mountain Works
So I have received a few emails from some folks and decided it would be good to post my answers, or at least what I am thinking here so everyone can see in case others have similar questions. One of the first questions was about the loft and weight of the LOFT MOUNTAIN 0. Since I have zero information up on this quilt along with no pictures I will put some estimates up here. I am currently in the midst of building one for the website under the newest design. Should have it up soon, but am building a CS90 ARGON outer in orange with UL ARGON inner in charcoal. Thinking it should look pretty sweet.
As it stands right now, loft should be right around 4 inches. Depending on the choice of taper/width/length, it will be filled with around 20 ounces of 850 HyperDRY. I am estimating this to weigh in somewhere in the 28-29 ounce range. Weights are approximate and not something I am really targeting at this point. I have a good set of lightweight materials I have sourced and am using, but right now the weights are really just what they are when the quilt is done. I can give you and estimate and under normal circumstance don't expect them to be too far off, but the more I produce the more I can decrease my margin of error on specs and make each successive quilt more consistent. I'm not hiding anything here, this is and will continue to be, a learning process, an exercise in innovation and continued development. I think one of the things that excites me the most is the prospect of products that will continue to evolve as new ideas spring up. Along these lines, at some point I will start to target lighter materials to focus on further reductions to weight, but for now I will be using what's on the bench.
Another question was about the omni-tape and whether there is a potential for it to poke, scratch, itch, bother or bite you in the middle of the night. The short answer is, I don't think it's an issue, but understand that sensitivity to such things is relative and may vary across individuals. The long answer begins...now...
The omni-tape is sewn to an equivalent width of grosgrain. So 1 inch tape, with a 1 inch backing of soft ribbon like material. This is attached to the quilt by actually sandwiching the quilt edges in between the two layers. Now if you imagine you are staring at the quilt from the foot end as it lays on the ground, one side has the strip of omni-tape on top of the outer shell facing up, while the other strip of omni tape is on the inner shell side facing down. "That's dumb, what if I like symmetry?" you ask. I would agree, I like it too, but what this does is enable the omni-tape to meet up and "mate" so that it lays parallel with both your legs and the hammock/sleeping pad underneath you. "MMMAMW...I mean... mmmm, nice and flat, nothing poking me or sticking up in an off position under my leggies and long johns."
Thus far the edges or corners have not seemingly been an issue either. When you are laying in the quilt, some of the material from the shell naturally overlaps, or at least butts up against the edges. I wear silk long johns virtually all the time and I haven't had an instance where I have been caught on the tape or on a corner. Of course, this also depends on how well you line up the tape when connecting the two sides to form the footbox. My underlying stance is if you set her up nice, she should keep you warm, happy and free from pokes and scratches all night long.