Since we live in the same town I get to see many of your bikes on the roads in and around Bozeman. What percentage of your work stays local and what is sold elsewhere? Do you do much overseas or do you keep it domestic?
Kirk Frameworks Co.
Kirk Frameworks Co.
Thank you for all the macro view information. Those are really good discussion.
Sorry, I did not get to say hi to you during the shows. Next time, I will make sure I stop by.
No questions here, just really want to thank you. As a new guy, it is never too early to think ahead.
Thanks for all of the incredible insight so far. I have a question for you regarding financing. Some guys view it as something to avoid at all cost and it's best to save and pay cash for tools and improvements. I lean more towards financing being a key part of the sustainability and growth of a business. I'm a little less adverse to risk. Where do you stand? With the changes in your business over the years, did financing or aversion to it help/hinder?
I want it known I think Carl and Loretta are super people and do a great job.
I have a Strong frame or two kicking around and Carl and Loretta have gone way above and beyond to deliver a super product, on time, every time.
The last one was a sterling example.
I did not want the frame delivered to my home in BC for two reasons; 1) Fedex for a frame from Bozeman to BC is complete insanity, and 2) both Fedex and UPS bolster their bottom lines by "brokering" packages into Canada.
The problem with this brokering business is that bicycle frames and parts are generally non-dutiable in Canada and under NAFTA are a protected shipment so should not attract tax either. In BC, bike frames and parts are non-taxable. So, no "brokering" should be required.
The first frame I bought from Carl was shipped to my house in BC. Combined, Fedex freight and brokerage was over $500.
The last frame and fork I asked the Strong team to ship the bike to me on vacation in Arizona, which they did ( thank you again) and I brought it home with me in the car. Total cost at the border on the way home $0.
The notion that someone would ask for value to be declared low is insanity as the insurance coverage will be based on declared value.
I understand the motivation, but for frames coming into Canada - it makes no difference at all.
The biggest cost for shipments to the GWN is simply Fedex and declared value has no effect on that.
Thanks for sharing your experiences and knowledge, Carl. Great stuff. And before asking my question, I'd like to make a comment on "Smoked Out" and the general knowledge sharing in the industry. Beeing an ethnologist and analyst by training, it's pretty obvious to me that there must be a certain business ethic - or perhaps practice - in the US that is quite different from Europe. I don't know whether that is due to the demographical differences (traditionally, that is) among the framebuilders on the two continents or whether it's due to a more "driven" business culture that understands that one build an industry and a market together - not as a single manufacturer. I'll leave that up to reflection for those interested, but I do think that most of us located over here in the old world which where interested in framebuilding before the dawn of the Interned have experienced great difficulties in regards to getting knowledge and insight from the traditional Euro-builders. Whereas (?) in the US there seems to have been a more open and sharing community dating back to the early seventies - and then we're back to the demographics of the industry... Well, enough rambling.
My question goes like this: I'm located in a high cost country with a strong currency - meaning that to be able to make a sensible living over here I would have to make around 50 frames per year at a price that is sensible/fair here in Norway - but then again quite high when selling abroad (Germany, UK and so forth). So: Do you see a pattern in regards to where you sell the majority of your frames abroad? Or to rephrase that: Are your foreign customers mainly from countries where the exchange rates goes in the customers favour?