It was humbling indeed to receive all the feedback that I did yesterday. Multiple emails came through. Instagram received 29 comments alone. Facebook, YouTube and our Blog were also inundated. This series of comments and feedback almost overwhelmingly supports our Australian Made capabilities, and the wish that we remain Australian Made. Let me assure you we plan to still be Australian Made. This is why we are part of the Australian Made Campaign, and this is why I have spent a tonne of money on our machines, (new incoming machines which are unbelievably awesome), a new lease, our capabilities, techniques and team training.

VietnamComments I would like to share some of the Frequently Asked Questions, as well as responses to some comments. Before I do however, I want to reveal a little more about this “Neapolitan Ice Cream Test”, and the thought process behind. Let me begin by telling you a story.

Back when I started BOgear, a good friend told me to always start with the end goal in mind.

The end goal of this whole “Neapolitan Ice Cream Test” is to grow our Australian Made business. Sounds counterintuitive when we are making and selling something not made in Australia, but let me elaborate on the story. After 8 years of growing BOgear I have found a tonne of people really umm and ahh over whether to grab something from us. The cost is perceived to be high, particularly for those that aren’t Australian made fanatics, bag geeks, or love quality, durability or longevity of gear. That first decision to join the BOgear family is really hard.

What I have found is once that person has the bag in their hand they instantly understand. Price is irrelevant as the features, quality and durability is high, while the longevity is almost unheard of. Interestingly enough this seems to be the overwhelming feedback from most people yesterday:

“Funny this came up, I was just talking to a coworker an hour ago about my Spare Camel and Royd etc and how it was all worth every dollar I paid for it, and then some. $200ish for a bag like this is totally reasonable, if not bargain territory. And I’d have no problems paying the same again if either of these ever give out (probably not!).”

and

“What [others] said. Your bags are well worth the price given their quality and durability. My circle of friends own dozens of BOgear bags between them and I’ve not heard one complaint or seen a breakage.”

Continuing on with the story (although maybe now it is becoming more of a history lesson) what I have found is this exact same person who struggled to justify in the first place then tells their friends and family and colleagues. Word of mouth in action. Some of them even go on to buy multiple bags; one for each day of the week, some in a different size, some for different purposes, multiple in the same size but different colour, some for brothers/sisters/nephews/partners… They instinctively now understand what BOgear is all about and what we are trying to achieve. And this is what I am trying to do with our internationally produced pack; produce a lower barrier to entry product which opens peoples eyes to the world of BOgear, and invites them in to our family. You see someone wearing a BOgear pack on the street and you are as stoked as I am when you see them (it still gives me a buzz). They are BOgear family.

Put simply I am 100% serious about our Australian Manufacturing capabilities, and am fiercely proud of what we can and have achieved. I want to continue this, and want the Australian Made BOgear to continue to grow. If this test pack works, it will give us more time, more money and more resources to develop more Australian Made designs.

I’ll be honest here. This is a test. It can’t succeed without your help, nor can I see BOgear continuing to grow without your help. I do not intend to alienate people or drive them away; instead it stems from the desire to welcome more people to the BOgear family.

So with this end goal in mind – grow our Australian Made business – lets start diving into the feedback and FAQs.

 

FAQs:
Q1: So BOgear is going to be manufactured overseas now? Goodbye Australian Made?
A: No, not at all! We will absolutely still be producing in Australia, however will have a product in our lineup which is entry level, reducing the cost barrier to BOgear. This product will be made overseas, will still be to our high quality standards, yet will not be as fully featured. Because of this combination it will come in at a cheaper price point, reducing barrier to entry into the BOgear family.

Q2: What about your current range? Is it still going to be manufactured in Australia?
A: Absolutely! We are still going to produce here in Australia. All custom packs will still be manufactured in Australia, and all designs will be done in house in our Brisbane Studio.

Q3: Phew! So you aren’t going to close up shop?
A: Not at all! We are still going to be custom and specialise in hardwearing Australian Made gear! If anything, we believe this expansion is the next step in our growth, helping get the word out there, and get bigger and better, learning from the international experts and applying it to our own in house manufacturing team. And this is why it excites us so much, because it is going to open up the world to BOgear especially to our international customers who don’t mind where their gear is made.

Q4: So how can I tell where your gear is made?
A: This Neapolitan Ice-Cream Test bag will be labelled accordingly, with the title “International Series”. This will be both on the website and on the product itself. Printed labels will be inside the bags stating whether it is an International Series, or part of the Australian Made Campaign. In addition to this, we are fiercely proud of our Australian Manufacturing capabilities and so are going to put a tag on the outside of the bag which represents the Australian Made version. This tag on all Australian bags should begin to roll out around mid-August. If you have a bag from us already without this tag, rest assured your bag is Made in Australia!

Q5: So where is the International Series factory located?
A: It took us a little while to find a high quality factory that we felt we could trust and that we knew was ethical. Thankfully we found one, and they are located in Vietnam. This factory deals with a lot of high end customers and isn’t a small sweatshop; after personally being on the BOgear production floor for the last 8 years I was surprised to discover they even have some practices which are better than ours.

Q6: How do I know the factory produces high quality gear?
A: Lets be honest here, you don’t. BUT, we here at BOgear know they produce high quality gear. And we stand by all our gear, and would not release anything substandard with a BOgear label on it. This means the gear will be the same high quality that you are used to!

Q7: So you will still have the same warranty?
A: Absolutely! All our gear whether crafted in Vietnam or by our Australian Team is still produced to our exacting and stupidly high standards. Our Dirtification Guarantee still stands.

Q8: Can I see inside this factory?
A: Good question! We’ve shown you around our Australian factory, so why not the Vietnam factory? I will be heading over for production of the first test series and am hoping to document and film a sneak peek to share! I am excited about this whole process, especially what I can learn from experts who are bigger than us, and am damn eager to involve you! I do need to ask permission but will do everything I can to share the process.

Q9: You keep saying the word “Test”, but allude to a “Series”… what exactly do you mean?
A: Well picked up! Well, our first pack is strictly limited to 100 pieces, will be called The Subbie, and is going to be produced as a test. Feedback has shown that some people don’t mind where our gear is made, and prefer not to pay Australian prices. We thought we would run a test to really see if this is the case. It might work; it might not work – hence the “test”.
If it does work, we will likely continue with the “series”, doing an entry level pack for some of our gear. This reduces barrier to entry, gets more people in to the BOgear family, and opens their eyes to our premium Australian Made gear.

Q10: In a previous answer you said the factory wasn’t a sweatshop and had some practices which were better than yours. Can you give an example?
A: Yup! Here it is in one: Broken needles.
Broken needles are part and parcel with any sewn good shop. In our Australian Manufacturing studio when we break a needle we replace it and keep going. This factory? When they break a needle, production ceases until they find every single little piece of it. It then has to be taped to a sheet of paper (proving it was all found) and documentation of the incident recorded. It may sound like overkill, but a sharp remnant of needle stuck in a piece of gear would definitely cause some damage – both to the production team as well as customers. Thinking and practices such as this is eye opening, and we are eager to learn from these experts.

Q11: So why manufacture outside of Australia in the first place?
A: It comes down to price, and our unwavering demand for quality. We simply couldn’t offer this kind of quality at a sub $100 price level using our Australian production. We want to offer people a choice without reducing quality, and open up the world of BOgear to more people.

Q12: Why become another Caribee / Jansport, this is selling out. Keep it Australian, your gear is great. At the least put it under a different sub brand so you don’t dilute what you stand for.
A: I can see how this can be perceived. We do not see ourselves selling out, and do not want to become a mass produced backpack company – it would fundamentally change what we stand for, believe in, and quite frankly would change our whole structure from being Custom and unique, to being “me too” and mass produced.

We are literally doing this from an end goal of growing our Australian Made business. If we were to sell under a subsidiary arm not only would it feel unethical, like we were hiding something, but would only serve the purpose of potentially making more money. If on the other hand we sell under the BOgear brand, it helps that end goal of growing our Australian Made business; people try our gear, love it, and then design their own Premium Australian Made Custom Pack to their own needs and desires.

In regards to diluting, if the product quality is high, the durability is high, longevity of product is high, but only the “Made in” changes, is this really diluting? We will be unwavering on our demand for quality, durability and longevity.

Vietnam Comments

 

Comments, opinions and feedback:
I firmly believe that our growth to date has been through word of mouth. People understand what we are trying to achieve and trust what we do. They love what we do and want to share it, recommend it, and rave about it. I believe this is also partially because we operate with our heart on our sleeve, publicly sharing our wins (and mistakes), trials and tribulations. Therefore I am revealing a lot of the comments, opinions and feedback that I received over the last 24 hours, coupled with my reply in an effort to be as transparent as possible. I try to answer these comments below, but some I haven’t as they have been incorporated into the FAQs above. As always, feel free to leave your opinion below. I will personally get back to you.

1: I don’t reckon you guys need to explain your pricing at all. In my view your prices are excellent for the product you make. No matter if it was free, that would still be too much for some people.
​A: You are 100% correct. I guess why I am talking about it is I want to be transparent. I feel our growth has been organic, and people love seeing our growth (and mistakes), trials and tribulations. I am listening and people are always going to complain about price – at least this way I can say I have given it a go. I definitely do not plan to stop Aussie production! This is just a means to have an entry level bag (and hopefully silence the critics).

​Truth is though, you are 100% correct. We can never make everyone happy, even if our gear were free… Kind of an eye opening moment to hear you say that – THANK YOU.

2: The reason I’m so fond of your brand is that your made in Australia. So many brands put profit in front of integrity, I’d hate to see you become one of them.
A: I am fiercely proud of what we do here in Australia, of our Team and our Custom capabilities. That is not going to change; Custom Australian Made is always going to remain. If this test achieves it, the aim of this entry level pack is the opening of doors and showing the world of BOgear to people who have trouble justifying the Aussie Manufacturing cost. Definitely do not intend to put profit ahead of integrity, which is why we shot this video in the first place. We always aim to be open and transparent, sharing our successes (and failings) in public – and being as open as we can.

3: I’ve bought your gear specifically because it’s made in Australia and well designed. If your bags become “designed in Australia” and made elsewhere, in my mind, they’ll simply enter the pantheon of made by low paid, developing country exploited Labour tat. I may still buy your gear, but it would be purely from a price point of view.
A: “I’ve bought your gear specifically because it’s made in Australia and well designed.”
In a nutshell you hit a key point: “Made in Australia and well designed.” We simply couldn’t do both and do an entry level priced pack. This is why we are running this test pack production.​
​​If this test works, and people continue to support us, what I plan to do is have a cheaper entry level bag made overseas. This will appeal to those who only care about cost. It will still be made to our high standards, using materials, designs and techniques which we guarantee, but will be at a price point which is physically impossible for Made in Australia gear. Meanwhile we will continue to offer our flag ship, premium Custom Australian Made gear, staying true to our roots. Australian Made is here to stay.
I am both nervous and excited at the same time. Nervous as it is the only way I can see us continue to move forward and remain sustainable – and is a massive leap of faith for me. Excited as I know we will be learning heaps from the high quality factory that we have found, coupled with opening doors and being able to share BOgear with more people. Fingers crossed this doesn’t bite us in the ass!

4: That Hair!
A: Thanks! I washed it this morning. Smells great! Wanna touch?

5: I’d say your pricing is spot on… in fact, somethings I’m amazed you can make them for the price… if only people knew what’s involved…
A: To hear this from a fellow bag maker is humbling. Thank you. I truly appreciate it. We work hard to keep costs down and gear obtainable, but sometimes further advancements need to be made.

6: Whoever says BOgear is expensive obviously hasn’t owned one of their backpacks for very long or ever.

7: Worth every dollar

8: My 7 year old Papermunky is still just as tough & reliable as my 7 week old Dufflay. Not to mention the Spare Camel & Chunky Toad that are both still kicking goals with ease. I think explaining your pricing structure is a good addition to the site. It might not convince all, but your gear is worth the RRP, no question.

9: I don’t think people understand the value of the materials used. Also, based purely on my own research, I have seen other bags that are similar in build, functionality, etc., (Im looking at you Goruck) that are double the price if not more.

10: Haters gunna hate. If you have to work to win a sale, especially trying to justify price, that person is not likely a customer who will do you well. Value vs Values. Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten. Fuck em.
A: I understand where you are coming from. I have had tyre kickers like this many times before. But this isn’t who I am trying to appeal to. I am trying to appeal to those who really want BOgear but have trouble affording it. This is the entry into the BOgear family, showing quality, durability, and in the future customising to their exact needs is possible.

11: People complain about the price of tap water rising. Though they cannot create the millions of year old hydrological system, nor the utility infrastructure that exploits its resources, nor probably change the washer in their own tap. People lead each other to believe that they are entitled to everything for nothing. Unfortunately there is only ONE everything that those people are all competing and complaining for. We must only demonstrate our honesty; if people feel we are not exploiting their needs or desires unfairly, then they are only left to decide if they wish to trade the hours of their life at work, for the hours of our life’s work embedded in our products. Remember too, that as we reach out to poor customers with reduced or ‘competitive’ pricing, it’s a race to the bottom. Killing creativity, and diversity. I realize you’re educating your customers on value rather than lowering your already affordable prices – but anything like this makes my heart ache, and rant flow. I’ll get back in my box…

12: Your price matches your quality. As folks have said above, it’s likely that the people who complain about the prices are comparing your bags to the mass produced ‘big brands’ and can’t see the difference in build and material quality. Buy smart, buy once.

13: #BringBackPaperMunky #BringBackBabyCandy #BringBackLoveHandle. Seriously, I miss the small bags… and any chance of you guys doing a bar bag (Burrito style)?
A: Thanks! Good to hear our smaller bags made an impression on you. Unfortunately these are bags which are gone for good. Our product lineup was growing too big and it was hard for the Team to remember the nuances of each individual product. Plus although smaller in size, the price was high and so again barrier to entry was high. Because of these reasons we had to drop the bags.
In relation to a bar bag, no there is no plan to bring something like this to market. There are already a few experts out there who I admire who are crushing it!

14: Oh, yes, the bar bag!

15: You shouldn’t have to justify your price or lower your standards to meet the lower price needs. You make amazing gear. Don’t compromise! Your prices are more than fair!!!
A: Thank you. Appreciate it. I genuinely feel I am not doing this with the decision. We aren’t lowering our standards, we aren’t compromising, and we are still going to make amazing gear!

16: FAQ: hey Dave how r u cheers thanks harry
Hi Harry, I am good. How are you?

17: It’s makes total sense to have a budget friendly main stream option, why not have a bag line that could help support the future development of BO Gear. Plus it means the chance of further Aussie made design options down the track, that’s a win win to me
A: Mate you nailed it. This is exactly what I am looking to achieve. Thank you for your understanding and believing in what we are trying to achieve.

18: Have never questioned the price I paid for my Spare Camel. It’s incredible quality, and that’s what matters. Plus, I compared you guys to many other brands when considering my purchase, and you guys won out on bang for buck, as well as being Aussie made & independent. I wouldn’t change a thing.
A: Thank you! Humbling to hear you compared us and we won out. Truly appreciate it.

19: Since you opened this for comments I think this sort of product line will likely dilute the brand and detract from what I believed was BOgear vision. There are plenty of brands to buy gear that is made OS, but very few made in AU. If BOgear was a brand that had a combination of AU and OS built gear when I bought my gear I may have gone with other options.
A: I am genuinely sorry to hear that you don’t trust or believe in what we are trying to do. I did not do this with the intent of alienating you or our current BOgear family; instead I intended it to open up the world of BOgear to more people. We will still be proudly manufacturing in Australia – this is not going to change.

20: Ever noted how the flavours never taste as good in Neapolitan ice cream? Its like the strawberry taints the other flavours.

21: I don’t think the BoGear prices are expensive, mine looks better with age.

22: Having some knowledge of the costs involved in business, I’ve always been surprised your gear isn’t a lot more expensive. If anything, I hope your faq spells out exactly why you’re raising prices
A: Thank you. From a fellow bag maker to another I truly appreciate it.

23: Your products are high quality at a low price point. BOgear bags last longer, they are custom to my needs, they keep me organized, I use them every single day (I even use them when in hospital), they are better for the environment because they will out last, out play and out dirtify. I own several BOgear bags each having a particular role in my adventuring. I just want to say thank you to you Dave and all the BOgear team thank you for putting a smile on my face everyday. Thanks for making my life easier. To anyone else spend a little more initially and save massively in the long run.
A: Thank you. Humbling, especially as I know you are a big fan. What you just described is precisely what I am trying to achieve; growth of our Australian Made business. Invite people into our BOgear family through the cheaper OS produced bag, and then let them discover their own need for a Custom Aussie Made BOgear bag for each particular role in their adventures/Dirtification experiences.

24: As long as you still offer the all Australian options without reducing your companies commitment to the local team and product I for one have no issue with BOgear putting out a cheaper version of their great designs from over seas for people to enjoy. P.s. Still looking forward to the medic pack video… Hint hint
A: Absolutely. Our commitment to our Australian Made capabilities, and our Australian Team is unfaltering. We want to grow this, producing custom bags for more people. As for the Medic Pack video, you got me there. It has been shot, just needs to be edited…

25: Saw your post on IG, whether there is ‘good’ profit margin on the subbie for brand exposure is business but the competition out there is fierce in this range, honestly for this price range there many many options
A: Very good point, and you are absolutely right. However The Subbie is not being released to directly compete with other brands. Rather it is meant as a low cost entry point into the world of BOgear, designed to get those on board who would otherwise go elsewhere simply because of price.

26: Awesome video by the way. It’s gonna help you guys a ton producing that pack. I personally have a few friends who saw my Bullpup and wanted one right away but were turned off by the price, just because they aren’t as big of a gear head as me… And appreciate where/what it’s made of. They just love the look and you guys have that down. For $65 I bet every single one of my buddies will buy this thing. I love seeing you guys grow as a company it’s really a great thing to watch. Great job. And I just read all the comments on the Facebook post. The guys disagreeing obviously don’t understand what you are trying to do. One bag being made overseas is in no way taking away from your company. All its doing is appealing to a larger audience while still keeping your die hard buyers happy with the real Australian stuff. I was going to chime in on there but I try to stay away from an arguments on Facebook for many reasons haha. In the long run you may loose a customer due to lack of understanding or their hard heads but I think you’re doing the right thing! Mystery Ranch does the exact same thing except with most of their packs being made overseas and they still have one of the largest cult like followings out there.
A: Thank you. You absolutely understand what I am trying to achieve, and I appreciate your continued support.

27: Love this Dave, it’s great to see you’re willing to listen to your customers, find a solution to the problem they’ve been telling you about then be able to watch and see if people take up the offer and adjust accordingly. I love my BO Gear bag and that it’s made by a mate in Australia, but I’d also love for you to get your products into the hands of more people based on their budget decisions. I know that you’re not compromising on quality and, at the end of the day, people will talk with their wallets so you’ll get some interesting feedback to show just how much people value Australian made. I also really appreciate you being honest in pointing out that it’s NOT Australian made, unlike the rest of your lineup. As always mate, great work!
A: Thank you! Absolutely a bit of a gamble as the overwhelming public response has been to keep it 100% Australian. However I know there are people out there who have budget requirements, and this will cater to their needs. This test is solely done with an end goal in mind: grow our Australian Made side of things. To some this sounds counterintuitive, but hopefully my explanation above explains more!
Thank you for your support over the years, and your faith in what I am trying to achieve. I do believe in transparency, and honesty, and so trust others will understand what I am trying to achieve and continue to support us like you plan to!

28: Dear Ferrari, I’d like to buy my 16 year-old one of your fine vehicles. The problem is the price point. Could you please dilute the brand down to something more affordable? I don’t care about build quality or materials, I really just want that logo on the hood. Thanks in advance.
A: Humbling that you compare us to Ferrari! Thank you. Let me assure you however that we have no plans to dilute the brand, nor to reduce our build quality. We 100% are doing this to help grow our Australian Made side of things. We want to get more people into the BOgear family by reducing barrier to entry and showing just how good our gear is. I’m currently writing a FAQ post and will be sharing tonight – hopefully it will make more sense if it doesn’t already..

Hopefully expanding on your analogy would help: Consider Mercedes-Benz; their top of the line AMG GT is made in Germany. Yet most of their other “entry level” cars are made overseas. This is precisely what I am hoping to achieve.

29: I truely believe your gear represents excellent value, especially after getting hands on some of it.
A: Thank you! Much appreciated. We are also proud of our gear and what we achieve right here in Australia!

30: Aaaaand I’ve now found the pack to get for the kids. Good for you for finding a way to make your pack design a realistic buy for pretty much anyone.
A: Cheers! This is also a good point; I didn’t consider it as a kids pack, but this would totally function perfectly for this. Appreciate the continued support!

31: This is the beginning of the end; stay 100% Australian manufactured!
A: I can definitely see how it might appear this way, but let me assure you this is not the case. This is done with the end goal in mind; grow our Australian Made side of things. Sounds counterintuitive, but I hope the post above explains it better!
Thanks for your support and belief in our Australian Manufacturing abilities!

32: Is it opposite day in QLD? isn’t your band all about being Australian made? I found your brand by googling ‘Australian made backpacks’ come on Dave don’t sellout mate
A: Thank you for taking the time to comment, and no it is not April 1st! Good to hear Google ranking is working correctly. And it will continue to do so as we are not ceasing our Australian Made Backpack production. Instead we are using this test as an opportunity to grow our Australian Made side of things. I’ll explain better in a Blog post tonight, but we are starting with that end goal in mind; grow our Australian Made business.

33: I wanted to add my comments to your email update about the ‘subby’. It should come as no surprise that I’m a supporter of local and hand made custom stuff and I have no issues with your pricing. In fact I am often pleasantly surprised with your pricing when compared to local and OS bag/equipment manufacturers. I know all to well the workmanship that goes into your gear (and all the quality thought both pre and post purchase).

However I still remember being broke and hustling for craft beer gear on a XXXX Export budget! I think if you keep the bulk/OS made gear as a niche in the range and that the very excellent BOGear R&D and Customer Service remains in place then its a great opportunity to get your bags into the hands and on the backs of people who might otherwise settle for an over-hyped and priced, lower quality bag. I look at it is more of an entry vector into the ‘good stuff’. Once they get a taste, they are way more likely to be back and going custom, expanding or upgrading into something local. A lot of other industries do this, and I think it can really been a boon for a brand if managed and more importantly explained well.
A: Thank you. Honestly you nailed it 100%. This is exactly what we are trying to achieve. Thanks for believing in us, and understanding what we are trying to achieve.

Categories: Backpacks, Behind the Scenes, Our Gear, Updates

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  • phillious

    Dave, it’s been a few years since I’ve had a reason to buy another BOGear pack as everything looks as good as the day I bought it. My custom messenger with Austri Alpine clasps (I think it was the first you did with then ;) ) is still going beautifully. My fiance’s bag which she ridiculously overloads every single day as a teacher looks almost new as well!

    I think I’ll grab one of these international series bags just as an excuse to buy something from you again! I hope I can get in on the first batch!

    Keep up the awesome work, dude!

    Phil

    • bocrew

      Thanks Phil! Yours indeed was the first with AustriAlpin Cobra buckles! I remember it well! In fact, yours was the first Donkey too… well before we shared photos online! Bit of history in your pack.

      So good to hear you are still loving your gear, and that both yours and your fiancee’s bags are looking new!

      Would love to get some more BOgear into your hands – thanks for the continued support! (Pre-order will go live late this afternoon or tomorrow at the latest.)

      Cheers!

      Dave