To those interested in our Special Editions,
Many of you probably don't know who I am, so I would like to briefly introduce myself: I'm Vincent, I founded BandWerk almost exactly five years ago, and today I'm primarily responsible for the creative components of our business.
The regular e-mail newsletters - mostly on the subject of special editions - come from me, you may have noticed my name in the sender.
A few weeks ago we presented a new special edition, it bears the name Dakar and has been a good five months since the last classic car watch strap. It's quite a long time, so the expectations were high accordingly.
The official announcement with the launch date came at 4 p.m., then everything happened in rapid succession: As soon as we had made the product detail page available at 6 p.m., it was already over. The last order came at 18:03:55, all straps were sold out.
For many customers that was irritating, and so it was for us. We didn't expect this rush ourselves. Many of you had been looking forward to a new special edition for months and were now - rightly - frustrated because there was little chance of getting one of the watch bands.
Corresponding feedback was not long in coming.
Let me briefly address questions and criticisms that we have read and heard frequently:
Why were there only 249 straps? Was the supply limited artificially?
100-120 straps can be produced from one square meter of leather, and from a vintage car we get an average of 3-5 square meters of raw material.
So that should be enough for more, but it's not brand new, freshly tanned leather, but a historical material that still has to be processed. The seats and headrests are often brittle, decorative stitching and other irregularities mean that we often have to discard about 50%.
Almost 250 straps from one vehicle are actually a good yield.
Does BandWerk really sell 249 straps or is a part of the quantity reserved for “more important” customers beforehand?
In fact, the entire number is never released for sale, only around 90%. We keep the rest in stock so that we can offer replacements to customers with defective straps if necessary. Because although we put the old leather through its paces, some straps turn out to be brittle or have other flaws after a few weeks.
But we definitely do not offer the option to reserve or pre-order. That would actually not be fair, so we are not offering this option to anyone.
Why don't you use a different system to offer the editions? For example in the form of a raffle, similar to sneaker stores.
We tested this system with our special edition Aeronaut. We had over 1000 registrations for the raffle, compared to 30 airplane leather cases. Finally, some winners decided against using their purchase option and the competition went into several new rounds. We couldn't make the process really transparent either.
That was a shame for us and many other participants who would have been really interested in the edition.
We don't completely rule out another raffle, but unfortunately we haven't had a good experience with it in the past.
I already had the watch band in my shopping cart, why wasn't it reserved for me?
I did some research and spoke to other colleagues from our industry and was strongly advised against the shopping cart reservation model. Even if it causes additional frustration when you are so close to buying and then it doesn't go through: Experience shows that some buyers take advantage of this option and, to be on the safe side, place products in the shopping cart on several devices, even if they only want to make single purchase.
I was curious myself, so I took a look at our statistics and saw that just 90 seconds after sales started, over 350 customers had filled the shopping cart. With this method we would have brought the “sell-out” forward only two minutes and the feedback would probably have been similar.
The fact is that yesterday the demand was much higher than the supply, that caused displeasure and anger and also clouded our mood, although we were very happy about the great demand.
And what happens now?
We take your feedback very seriously and are considering various ways of making our actions more pleasant for everyone in the future.
First of all, there will be more special editions again. The work on an edition from the selection of leather to the final product takes several weeks. I have put together a small team so that we can increase the frequency of the special editions in the future, but only in moderation, because quality continues to take priority over quantity.
In the future, it will no longer be possible to purchase more than one strap per transaction. We want to take action against professional auction dealers who often offer our special editions afterwards at exorbitant prices on the Internet.
Last but not least, I have one more request: Please try to show good sportsmanship if it doesn't work out. We are open to your criticism and understand the frustration, but I have little understanding for personal attacks against my colleague who takes care of the telephone service and the rest of my team.
For factual dialogue, I am still happy to be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish everyone good to start into a new and hopefully less challenging year.
All the best,
Vincent from BandWerk
P.S.: Anyone who has made it this far will get another tip from the statistics: The first 15 purchases after the release were all paid via Apple Pay, you won't complete the purchase faster with any other payment system.