Frostbike is behind us. I'm both thankful for having this event behind us and a bit anxious at the same time. I've worked 13 Frostbikes and prior to that, I participated as a dealer for several years. Frostbike is a big deal for Salsa. It represents so much and is an important part of our year.
When it's over, I take all the conversations and feedback and go into a cave. I don't think I'm alone here as I'm sure our dedicated readers are wondering why we haven't posted in over a week? I'm a full on introvert when it comes to processing events and conversations. Frankly, this Frostbike really gave me some gems to process. I'm still processing a few, but truthfully, I have almost mentally resolved and filed away most of them.
Initially, Frostbike 2008 was supposed to be a time when we launched a new and important product. In the end, we couldn't answer two key questions needed to introduce said product. Those two questions are "When will it be available?" and "How much?". Because we couldn't answer those questions and chose to not launch this product, I went into Frostbike a bit on the down side. Looking back now I'm confident in our decision and walked away with so much. Not showing this specific product actually helped us and will give us time to do things differently. I believe things happen for a reason. What are some of those reasons?
We were able to really connect with some of our key retailers. This is so important. Frostbike is about relationships. What we found here is that the Salsa brand is growing. Dealers want to stock our product. Now we need to help them. Our focus can and should be in support, service and education. We walked way from Frostbike with some amazing ideas.
We were able to focus on what we are doing now and what we are doing well. In the end, we signed up 13 new dealers. That's a big deal for us. Just go count our authorized dealers on this website and you can figure out on your own just what this might mean to us. On top of that, they are all good quality dealers.
We had a product brainstorm and walked away with some good ideas as well as some satisfaction and support for a few products we hope to introduce this year.
We got to spend quite a bit of quality time with our distributors from Japan and Germany.
The part I struggled with and fought the most with was some feedback I received about "Where is Salsa going?" One dealer said during a product brainstorm, "This is great, but I want to know what you offer me and my shop?"
Well....That is certainly a great question and one we need to clearly answer. It was a wake up call for me. I think folks that get Salsa, get what we are doing. That said, it is clear that some folks don't get what we are doing. We are growing. We have more staff. We are going to more events this year. We are getting more interest from folks that don't know our history. Our distributors are having more success selling Salsa.
Clarity in our direction?! Sounds simple enough, right!? This was the best feedback I could have gotten. This is one gem I'm still processing. This is one gem that will influence some of our future choices and direction.
Looking back, I'm thankful the event is over, but a bit anxious to get some of these big issues worked out.
Lastly, I'll share my favorite photo of the weekend. This was a dinner on Friday night with our Japanese Distributor, a few Japanese dealers, our German distributor, Guitar Ted, the Surly crew and a couple ladies from Momentum Magazine. After this, we all went out into the freezing cold temps for a photo shoot and a ride through beautiful down town Minneapolis.
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Growing up as a Minnesota farm boy, I developed an appreciation and love for land and open space. This appreciation has fostered two passions, cycling and photography. Both of these passions provide freedom, encourage me to explore and foster creativity. More importantly though, my journey with a bike and a camera reminds me that the world is big and I am small.