MONTH ONE BRIEF: ENCAMPMENTS AND CLIMBING GYMS
My name is Connor, founder of The Climbing Box. We are nearing the end of our first month of business and wanted to provide a synopsis of how we got here. In the past 30 days, I've packaged and shipped over 80 subscription boxes, demoed at almost every climbing gym within an hour of Boulder, CO, had $1000 worth of inventory stolen from my front porch and then went to a transient encampment at 11pm to bargain for it. It's been an eventful month, to say the least.
I had this idea in mid-April, as there was not yet a subscription box specifically for rock climbers on the market. I immediately went to work choosing a name, creating a logo, and a website. I set a hard launch date for June 3rd with a promise to ship by June 15th. From there, I began designing and curating products. I wanted to find products for the box that are useful to climbers, made by small brands and very durable. I am extremely happy with the brands we currently have on board. Our chalk bags from Static Climbing and Love Handles from Freestone Equipment are handmade in San Diego, CA, and Squamish, BC. I also wanted to work with some local Boulder companies. Currently we have food items from Alpine Start Coffee and Bobo's Oat Bars. I created our t-shirts, camp mugs, and nut necklaces here in Boulder. Another cool synergist relationship we have developed is working with the Access Fund whose mission is to protect America's Climbing. I am donating 1% of every box sold to them.
Once I had all the products sourced, I hit the ground running with getting the word out. Weekly for the past two months, I visited climbing gyms after work, talking to climbers and sharing what The Climbing Box is all about. It was so awesome to meet climbers from different backgrounds all around the Boulder/Denver/Fort Collins area. I went to four different Queer Climb and Pride nights at different gyms and got to experience some needed diversity in the climbing community. Everyone's feedback was very positive, and supportive.
Our June 15th ship date was fast approaching. I converted my basement into a home office and shipping facility with a shipping station including label printers, scales, along with very organized shelving for all our products. Once the official launch occurred on June 3rd, I was blown away! We received over 50 orders in the first few days and by our June 15th launch date, we hit 80 orders. Safe to say I had my work cut out for me.
The night of June 13th, my girlfriend, Courtney, and I proceeded to pack and label 80 subscription boxes. This is where the story gets dramatic. I was still missing a shipment of inventory from one of my suppliers, worth around $1000. This was a crucial piece of inventory for the box and I could not send them out without it. Come Monday the 14th, I was getting worried, so I checked the tracking for the shipment and it said Fedex delivered it to my door on Friday at 4pm. I was out climbing at that time and when I arrived home around 6pm, there was no shipment. Recently, in my part of town, there have been a lot of thefts. I did not want to assume the worst, so I left notes on my neighbors’ doors describing what I was missing and asking if they had received it by accident. One neighbor texted me saying he saw an open box next to the creek by my house with my inventory in it. He showed me where he saw it, but by that time it was gone. This was around 11pm. I came to the conclusion that it was probably stolen and discarded in the area because whoever stole it saw no value in it. So I searched a few dumpsters in the area but couldn’t find it. I went back to the spot where my neighbor said he saw it and heard voices from the homeless encampment 50 yards away. I figured there's a chance someone in this encampment has it, so I had to bargain with them to get it back. I went to the nearest ATM and got out some cash. I then walked into the grouping of tents, trash, and discarded bikes and yelled “who wants to make $10”. Two men and a woman emerged from the tents and asked how. I described the inventory that was stolen from my porch and told them I’ll pay $10 to help me find it. One of the men proceeded to pull the entire box of my inventory from a cooler next to his tent, completely unscathed, unopened, and all accounted for. I gave him the $10 and went on my way just thankful that I got my shipment back. By this time it was almost midnight. I was up until 2am packaging the rest of the boxes and delivered all of them to the post office in the morning.
It's been an epic first month and I am so thankful for all of you who took a chance on me and this business by purchasing a subscription. We are going to keep working hard to provide you with the best box every month. I am also so appreciative to all my friends who have helped me thus far including Courtney, for helping me pack boxes and traveling with me to different climbing gyms, Jesse, for helping me take photos and videos while we are out climbing and a big thank you to all my other friends who shared The Climbing Box on social media and gave me words of encouragement. I am going to keep giving this business all I have and then some. Stay tuned for next month.