I was looking at a website the other day that got me thinking.
Guy works in the cycling biz most of his life.
One day he decides, "eh, fcuk it, I can do this better on my own."
Designs a bike part the way he thinks it ought to be made.
Then goes out and finds the best manufacturer he can to build it.
Does everything himself, from importing to hand-building wheels.
Products have a reputation for being good stuff.
Dude has a reputation for outstanding customer service.
Plenty of privateers start using his stuff. Lots of them rave about it.
He has a viable business. He's a full-timer and a lifer.
Everything about that last paragraph is Salon-esque. If I'd told you I was describing Gaulzetti, you'd nod and say "hell yes."
Here's the problem: The dude is John Neugent and the company is Neuvation.
And nothing about Neuvation is Salon-esque.
I've never used any of his products, and don't have any desire to, but the people who can get over how lame his branding and marketing are seem to like them just fine.
And so I guess that's my question: What is it about Neuvation that is so woefully unSalon? Is it just that his logos, stickers, and website are so god-awful ugly? Is it that he sells on price alone?
My guess is that it's because nobody would ever have an emotional attachment to anything he sells. Even if his wheels are well-made, they're about as sexy as a Russet potato. His stuff lacks that certain je ne sais quoi. But really, I don't know what it is and can't quantify it.
What does it mean (not) to be a Salonista? What does Neu lack?