With the dust (quite literally) settling after Sea Otter I wanted to take some time to explain in a little more detail what’s going on behind the scenes at Fat Chance. Between Chris and I we’ve set ourselves the goal of each writing a blog post every 2 weeks to give you more of an insight into what we’re working on, so here’s my first post.
I started working with Chris on the relaunch last year and since then between the 2 of us we’ve been working hard to turn this from a successful KickStarter to a scalable business. In my previous role running the UK subsidiary of Canyon Bikes I took a lot of things for granted like having a team of people working for me, a healthy budget from our German HQ and a steady stream of test winning bikes to work with. Starting from scratch on this project has been extremely challenging, rewarding, exciting (and more), with both of us wearing many hats. But seeing the results of the KickStarter, both the quality of finished product and the reaction from many long time Fat Chance fans makes it all worthwhile and keeps reminding us that we’re on the right track. We have a long list of things we want to accomplish and projects for the future, but it’s good to know we’re heading in the right direction.
Priority number one, in addition to the usual things involved in setting up and running a business is definitely to get production going faster on more bikes. We’ve been able to do this successfully in recent weeks with the Slim Chance, the next batch of Yo Eddy’s will be coming soon and then we have a long list of future models we’re working our way through. We’re constantly evaluating various US based manufacturing partners to work with, and building the “Fat Chance Family” of designers, fabricators and more to work at turning Chris’ designs into great finished product.
Part of the challenge at the start of the KickStarter campaign was exactly this idea of using outsourced manufacturing. It’s a big departure from the Fat City Cycles model of old where everything was done in house. And while that certainly worked back then, starting things up again from scratch required a different approach. While we’re not ruling out developing in house manufacturing at some point in the future, right now there are some really great domestic fabricators and builders that we are excited to be working with. The landscape for US based bike manufacturers is something of a mixed bag right now, with many smaller builder flourishing, at the same time as larger production shops closing down. For us just getting started, it makes perfect sense to partner with and support these existing builders with manufacturing capacity, rather than investing large sums in establishing our own.
Our approach in working with new manufacturing partners is rigorous and takes time to get right, it has to be to ensure the finished product is up to the standards people expect of a Fat Chance (as an example, this is why the first batch of Yo Eddy’s took longer than planned). This is where Chris’ role in sharing his considerable expertise helps to raise everyone’s standards. The partnerships we have so far with Ventana and Stinner are great examples of this, taking fabricators with excellent capabilities, adding Chris’ design & engineering expertise and years of experience in areas like volume production in steel, working with frame alignment until it’s perfect.. all adds up to a team effort on both sides.
As we continue to grow inevitably we will need more help, so we’d love to hear from anyone who shares our passion for Fat Chance and wants to get involved. We may not have the biggest budgets to pay people in a full time role right now, but what we can offer is the chance to be involved in building something from the very start. If you have some time on your hands either as a freelancer or maybe as an extra side project please get in touch. In particular we’re interested in hearing from anyone with the following skills:
– Product development & design, including engineering / CAD.
You can get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org, and while we’ll do our best to reply to everyone, we are a very small team so you may only hear back if we’re interested in taking things further.
Until next month…