2023 is our 4th year in business. Ripton started right before covid, and when the pandemic emerged the only adjustment was we lost our job at a hotel and nobody was too worried about jorts. Then people got bored and when they started buying aggressively online we were so small and primitive we were not in a place to capitalize on the online shopping bonanza.
We were still handwriting addresses on your packages in 2020, sleeping next to boxes in our room, and trying to get our factory to make us more jorts, too small for any stimulus payments, and not carrying enough inventory to get our denim out in a big way. But, where there is a will there is a way, and no obstacle is too great.
We’ve worked hard, built products we love, and grown steadily and gradually over the last 4 years. Where some business’s grew too fast, Ripton has been chugging along, living paycheck to paycheck, as they say in business.
If we don’t make performance denim that you love, and we don’t safeguard that revenue for future orders, then we don’t have the cash flow to make our next purchase order. In fact if you don’t find Ripton so bizarrely awesome that’s you’re telling your neighbor about us, then we are unlikely to survive. It’s sort of like playing cards but you need to pretty much win every hand.
The Ripton customer list has grown from 0 to over 20,000 today, motivating for a quirky back-of-the-jenvelope idea. The overwhelming realization we’ve had is that a lot of people far and wide GET Ripton, they get that we’re different, they GET that we’re building great products from a different paradigm, that the more different we are, the better and cooler the products become, and the more the brand can create positive change in this crazy rat-race of a world. They want performance denim to exist!!
I know that if you’re still reading, you’ve probably had at least a day of spring skiing with your jean jacket wide open or a bike-packing trip in jorts, that just felt so different than when you’re wrapped up in all that waterproof plastic. This soul shredding, for lack of a better term, is all we do, it’s the headspace that is our destiny. Rugged, simple, workwear-inspired outdoor wear.
From an operations stand point we’ve hustled to get our most popular items back in stock faster. Diesel Jorts, Diesel Overalls, and Hiko Jackets are all items we’d like to have in stock, but still spend most of the year sold out in key sizes. Some of our styles like the Deluxe Overalls will never come back because they are just too impractically expensive to make. The factory doesn’t like making them, and they absorb a ton of working capital. So I would nab a pair as they are our favorite Ripton product. We are still in an early stage of our evolution that is exciting, raw, perilous, and organic. We have a tight-knit relationship with our jortbags, and welcome any ideas, suggestions, words of encouragement please send them along to firstname.lastname@example.org. We need the support of your wisdom and insight as much as your dollar.
Margins going into 2023 are tight. Many of our prices have continued to climb as much as 40% since we started making jorts, and we have been reacting by lowering our prices. The more clear we get on our mission and our customer, we continue to believe that value is important, and a fair and affordable price for everything is essential. Tighter and tighter margins means we have less operating income to pay our employees, build out marketing and customer service. Hence we need to run a VERY tight ship, and in the end this means the most amount of value gets passed back to our community, our jortbags in the form of lower prices and razor thin margins. The promos we run via our email list further intensify this element of the Ripton business model.
There are a lot of ideas we’re working on right now that I wish we could share with you. Crazy ideas, big ideas, challenging ideas, that we hope will make the future a better place. Thanks for being along for the ride, and believing in Ripton, after all life is jort!