So at the end of last year we shipped our final Crowdfunding orders. It had been a long journey, fraught with setbacks and challenges that we had never foreseen. Then one day, we get this email from a couple of backers named Dem and Ayo, and I couldn’t stop laughing. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think, especially with the videos, but as I got deeper into it, I couldn’t help but appreciate it more and more. Maybe it’s because these guys turned a frustrating situation into something positive, or maybe it’s because there’s a little Dem and Ayo in all of us. Anyway, they have given me their permission to share this with you. Enjoy, and thanks Dem and Ayo.
Dear Don and Adam
Can I start by saying I have just turned 40, am a successful businessman who for 5 years has been getting a consulting business off the ground. I have very little time for frivolity and there is so much good in my life that time must be spent wisely. However. For me and my closest and lifelong friend of over 20 years (an equally successful PT at the top of his profession and also starting up his own business), your bag has become one of the most epic of tales between us that has spanned over 2 years and countless moments between us, and for a while it became the soul focus of our lives. Nothing else mattered. Only we understood how important your bags were. Only us, and of course you.
So I hope this tale fills your heart with joy. It all started when I saw your original Kickstarter, what must be over two years ago. I bought quite a few things from there, many utter shite, some surprisingly good, one or two actually worth the money and every once in a while something actually fantastic. The latter is nowhere near enough to justify the time and effort and painful moments reading heartfelt personal updates when all I really gave a f**k about was where my product was. But again, with you it was different. Now, every now and then me and my friend tip each other off about cool stuff being released on the market. Neither of us lazy, we both always read emails and looked into things even though we are always busy. To give you a window into how it is between us, there are time’s when we’ve introduced each other to something (like a belt shop called Elliot Rhodes, check them out) where one of us has then proceeded to forward every newsletter and product release to the other suggesting we get some more. We know when we do it it will p1ss the other one off, that makes it all the more hilarious. He does it with me with something like made.com, forwarding their weekly product roundup to me suggesting I “embellish my front room and life with some faux leather” or some crass play on whatever their marketing bent.
Anyway. When I saw your kick starter, I knew he’d love it. Although I looked at it and thought omg incredible, I knew that he, being in fitness and who had carried around with him this crusty nylon Spurs (Tottenham Hotspur FC, his soccer team he loves more than his wife) drawstring bag for nearly 10 years, would absolutely love it. In fact, it was so up his street that he would probably explode with joy on seeing your kickstarter and thank me forever.
So I forwarded him the alert email. And waited. He didn’t respond. Nothing. Weeks went by, the Kickstarter closed, and all I remember was a brief convo where I asked him if he’d seen it and what he thought. But he dismissed it. He completely poo-poo’d the loctote theft proof bag. So for a brief moment I thought nothing of it. Then, a few months after the Kickstarter closed after ordering mine from you obviously, when you started production and I realised this shit is getting real, I decided to remind him about what he’d missed and dismissed. One evening I took him to your Kickstarter page, showed him the bag and his eyes dropped open lower than his jaw. He put his hands to his head in dismay. He nearly got on his knees and looked up to the sky like that dude in Platoon for some kind of salvation. It didn’t come. He realised he’d missed the boat. Then it started. From a smug smile, I chuckled. I’m gonna make him pay for poo-poo’ing my tip I thought. For poo-pooing your bag. What had he done?
The night ended but I knew something had just started. From there, with every update you sent, I forwarded it onto him, to goade him, to laugh. Each week he would not even have the usual witty comeback or dismissal. He knew he’d missed out. The updates continued, and the excitement started to build. The prospect of your bag arriving at mine started to become a life event, a moment that generations wait for, like lifetimes are lived but this not experienced yet but still anticipated. They talk about the second coming of Jesus. Well if he does still come, he’ll be donning one of your bags.
This had become so big that neither of us could contain it anymore. Your updates continued. My excitement grew. His pain grew. My laughter grew. The anticipation of you even just talking about shipping was gripping, never mind the actual bag arriving.
Then, out of the blue, he came to me one day rejuvenated, joyous, like he didn’t have to work anymore. You’d moved over to Indiegogo. He bought himself a bag. Now the irony here is that whilst you’d think this would change the game it hardly did at all. I can’t quite remember exactly, but soon after you released (only to kickstarters) some update about it looking like production may slow to 12 months lead time, and that we were not to worry you wouldn’t touch the indiegogo buyers until you’d serviced your Kickstarters. I showed him this update. He nearly cried. I laughed.
Then there was a period (weeks, perhaps months) where even I started to worry if id ever see my bag. Some problem with the water proofing liquid. Some other supplier issue. I got scared. There was too much riding on this now. For a brief moment, even my friend started hitting me back. But then like manna from heaven you announced that somehow my odd combination of being oversees, choosing the orange bag orange string combo would be nearly first to ship! I cried with joy. He cried with dismay. For the first time I realised I would get a bag. Weeks ticked by. I stopped bombarding my friend for some reason. He thought it had gone away. Even I forgot about it now briefly. But then all of a sudden I got the shipment notification and then one day the bag arrived. No one knew. Not even my friend. The moment had come. Like opening the ark of the covenant, I opened your package and then I decided to video the moment to send to my friend. I knew that for a while he wouldn’t know what the hell the video clip was about. But then I knew he’d get it and realised that my bag had arrived. So one morning I made sure he was awake and then sent him this:
(Don’t worry it’s not a dodgy video or something else weird, it’s just a link to the phone vid I took that I store on Box which I sent to him. I think only he and you will understand the emotions I let out and felt in that video)....
After he’d seen the video he didn’t know what to do. He went quiet for weeks. No one heard from him. Then he came out of the cave from whence he went and admitted that he’d made a mistake he would regret for the rest of his like. One day he came around mine to see the bag. But He was not expecting me to say no, I will deny you the chance to see the bag you must wait for your own to arrive. He couldn’t believe his ears. I laughed.
Then your emails and updates continued and many were of more stories of woe, some mentioning how the indiegogo people wouldn’t see a bag for likely a year. I laughed again and forwarded these to him, what riled him all the more was that he wasnt getting these updates direct.
Then, having not always read all of the update I mean after all I had my bag so why did I need to read anything, I spotted buried in one of your updates that you’d mentioned you actually have cancer. I think you even said in the email update that you fully expect many people not to even notice knowing that not everyone reads all of the details. And then you said that actually it was only the people who could be bothered to read everything that you say whom you wanted knowing such a personal and impactful thing.
Then when I showed him this update and pointed out the fact that you were ill I said to him half joking and half serious “this guy may not even make it you ain’t never gonna see a bag bro...” I realised that for the first time he was indeed starting to wonder whether he would even see a bag at all. The updates continued. I continued to send them to him. He continued to get no confidence from indiegogo that he would ever see his bag. Months past. I will tell him stories about how I would use the bag and how great it was remembering that he still hadn’t actually seen one in the flesh. It was getting too much. I decided to stop. I actually forgot about it all so happy was I with the bag and probably so painful for him was it to still remember that he didn’t have one. But then one day, on Christmas Eve, he sent me a short video in WhatsApp, and even before I had properly opened it, I knew what I feared most had probably happened. Yes his bag had arrived. The brilliant thing was the first video just gave me a taster, and still allowed me to hang on to that faint glimmer of hope that he hadn’t actually received a bag and it was all just a bluff. The first video was brilliant. It was cryptic enough not to be too obvious what had just happened. Enjoy the first video.
Then the next day, for us in England that being Christmas Day, a holy day, where only moments of goodwill are exchanged, he decided to settle the score and he sent me his video. Enjoy.
The irony is that, whilst I was completely happy with my bag and thought I had definitely chosen the best colour I mean what could be better than fluro orange, the truth of it is his bag actually looks a whole lot better than mine. So after all of that, he’s actually the one that’s come out on top - The wait was actually worth it!!
What I hope I’ve managed to show you in both the story and these videos is how emotional the journey to get a bag was, and how much it meant to us, and how funny it was along the way. We will never forget your bags and the story that I’ve told for the rest of our lives. Every time I pick up that bag I think about moments of this journey whether they be some of the email updates I sent my friend or whether they be some of the conversations we had between us and moments where we laughed at each other or whether it was the moment we each received the bag or when we received each other’s videos telling the other that their bag had arrived. We thank you and wish you all the best.
Please let us know what you think!!
Dem and Ayo.