First Sale!

I have some super-exciting news, and also I’d like your help on what could be an industry-changing expedition!  

Big news everyone: WE MADE OUR FIRST SALE!! The crazy thing is that we’re still in the prototype phase, so our panniers aren’t even really for sale yet! …but we sold some anyway, and that’s so great!

Our first awesome customer is an attorney here in town that we met back in March. Fast forward to the present, and his niece’s twenty-something birthday is coming up. She asked her parents for a touring bike, and he thought it would be great to get her some panniers to go with it, so he contacted me and bought them from us! How great is that?!

Since our panniers aren’t ready to sell yet, I made him a gift certificate that he could give to his niece for her birthday instead. While putting it together, I realized gift certificates could be a great thing for Natril Gear to advertise. They can help us sell our product now, before it’s even ready, and they can also help us connect with non-bikers who want to buy panniers as a gift for cyclists (or aspiring cyclists) they know!

Here is the gift certificate I made for our first awesome customer (with sensitive information blacked out). In the future I think I’d like to have the certificates be bike-shaped and not just rectangles, but until I can figure out how to get special paper, I think this is alright. What do you think?  Anyone know where to find shaped paper?

And that brings me to the second thing I wanted to talk about and ask advice for: the word “pannier”. After we made our first sale, I posted on Facebook “WE JUST GOT OUR FIRST ORDER FOR PANNIERS!!!! AAAHHH!!!!”. I was all excited until one of my friends commented “what are panniers?”.

That made me a little worried, because I definitely don’t want the name of our product to alienate people! So, for everyone’s information, here is some information about panniers: Think of panniers like saddlebags for a bicycle. Bikers use them to haul things around in (groceries, clothes, books, etc.), and they are typically used in pairs, although some bikers use only one. They attach to a rack that goes over the front wheels or over the back wheels of a bicycle. Some bikes come with racks, but most of the time, you need to buy a rack separately. In the picture below, the striped bags on my bike are panniers.

My friend’s comment reminded me of something one of our business mentors recommended earlier: we should rename panniers.  Renaming them is a big task because they are currently sold in the marketplace as “panniers”.  BUT, if we get it right, it could breathe new life into the bicycling industry and have the potential to attract lots of new, non-cyclists as customers!  I’d like to give it a shot, but I need your help! What do you think we should rename them to?  What would you like to call them?

I’ve had three suggestions so far: 1) Pedal Pokes, 2) Ape Bags, and 3) Bicycle Saddlebags. I’d like the name to convey what a pannier is and how it’s used, and I’d also like the name to be interesting and memorable.

The next time you’re riding in the car, waiting through a commercial break on TV, or going to the bathroom, think about this (and before you say anything, you know good ideas can and DO happen in the bathroom all the time – come on :-)). If anyone has any ideas PLEASE, PLEASE email us or leave a comment on this blog post. This is a big, group brainstorming session – no ideas are bad. After I’ve collected ideas for a while, I’ll post a survey, and you can all see the ideas and let me know which one is your favorite.

Thanks, and have a great day.  No go think!

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