As we roll into 2020 (and we mean literally rolling ourselves around after all the holiday treats and meals) we feel the traditional end of year fatigue. The tree is wilting in the corner, the different events of 2019 are becoming hazy, and we are ready for a reset. Well, there’s no better way to refresh one’s attitude than by looking forward to what the new year has to offer. So take a moment to embrace this season of resolutions with us as we set a few intentions for 2020.
Intention One: Improve Sustainability
One big goal we have for 2020 is to dig into how we can be a more sustainable company. Creating and shipping products in a sustainable manner was a priority from day one. We will admit that some aspects are hard to achieve and we find ourselves constantly working to improve them. One of our biggest goals is to completely remove plastic from our packaging in 2020. We came very close to doing so in 2019 but it seems when you eliminate one piece of plastic another one sneaks its way in. We replaced the sealed plastic bags commonly used for small components with paper pouches, but those had a tendency to disintegrate in our lovely PNW weather. So, it was back to the drawing board until we eventually found a paper package that worked. We minimized the size of our handlebar packaging, but then zip-ties were needed to keep everything tightly together. Those are just a few examples and the point is we are far from perfect, but we continue to work towards a more sustainable PNW.
Here are a few things we are doing in regards to sustainability that we look to continue, and improve on in the future. We use digital manuals to avoid excessive and unnecessary use of paper. Our new t-shirts are made from 40% recycled polyester and we will look to use Earth-friendlier material as we expand our soft goods line. We will also continue moving forward with our efforts to remove plastic from our packaging. While these are not groundbreaking actions, we are a company that will unceasingly tackle each problem and innovation with sustainability in mind. We will not be perfect, nor close to it, but it is our North Star.
Intention Two: Give em’ a Second Chance
Reusing is an equally important component of sustainability as reducing and recycling, and for that reason we are planning to open an online 2nd Chance Store where imperfect products can find their forever home. We’re thinking of it as the Island of Misfit Toys but for bike components. Unfortunately, if a product has a small blemish from the factory, or even a misprint of graphics, we cannot sell it as a new product. The same can be said about products that are returned because the customer needed another size or had a problem that our team could easily fix. These warrantied and blemished products are still great, working bike parts that deserve a home. Our products were created to live and work on bicycles and, frankly, it’s heartbreaking they are wasting away on our shelves because of small cosmetic issues. If you don’t mind used or blemished gear and love a good deal, then keep an eye out for our 2nd Chance Store coming in 2020.
Intention Three: Community Engagement
Last year we had the opportunity to work with Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, here in Washington, support local high school teams, and donate to NICA through Kyle Warner’s Range Handle Bar. We want to carry that spirit into 2020. The amazing thing about biking is how it brings people together in a community. From trail building with the neighborhood buddies to supporting kiddos entering their first race, it’s not just an activity but something that truly creates community. We are committed to supporting our local and wider bike community as we grow in the new year.
Intention Four: Improving Customer Experience
The mission of PNW Components is not only to create great bike parts at a fair price, but provide the best service for our customers. We don’t exist without you and in 2020 we are searching for new ways we can improve your experience. Back in 2019 we made the huge decision to part from third party shipping companies and open our own warehouse, which allows us to quickly work with our customers to solve logistic problems. We have plans to bring that same spirit into the new year. We will be launching a “How To” series of blogs, released throughout the year, that will help with anything from “How to Pick the Right Dropper Post” to “How to Pack for a Bike Packing Trip.” We also want to use videos to highlight local trail systems, including PNW Squad favorites, so you know all of the best places to ride. While our installation videos took a big step forward in 2019 we plan to make improvements for further clarification and education. Finally, we will be launching a detailed FAQ section on our website that will provide commonly requested information up front and eliminate waiting time for problem solving.
A Word from Our Co-Founder
One of our founders and product developers, Aaron, gave us a glimpse into what the team is tinkering on for 2020. Read his note below to get excited about new things to come!
Starting at the age of 11, I wanted to create my own bike component brand. My first product idea was a little foam pad that could be strapped under the top tube for carrying your bike on your shoulder during cross country races. Obviously that wouldn't make much sense now, but in the 90's XC racers quite often carried their bikes over their shoulder to run up steep sections or cross creeks because we hadn't figured out bike geometry, suspension nor engineering very well. Fortunately, we've all learned quite a bit since then.
Building a company is an interesting journey with lots of learning opportunities along the way. And when I say opportunities, I actually mean mandatory lessons! :)
There's so much I'd like to do, but only so many hours in the day and only so much cash we have to invest in new products. Our strategy from Day 1 has been steady growth so that we could invest profits back into product without bringing in investors which would inherently mean less control over our own decisions. For those of you watching us from the beginning, you've noticed we have launched a decent amount of products but have recently doubled down on our strategy which I am very excited about.
We’ve beefed up our Product Design team in 2020 and we'll be diving deep into innovative cockpit components, feature-rich dropper posts and of course fun stuff like soft goods to keep you looking fresh out on the trail.
Needless to say, we'll be busy, so stay tuned for some exciting updates as the year goes on! ~ Aaron Kerson, Co-Founder
Bring on 2020
Ultimately none of this matters without the support of our customers and we're privileged to be a small part of each of your lives. Thank you for an incredible year in 2019. It is with excitement, creativity, and a tad bit of fear that we are jumping into 2020. Enjoy the new year refresh and we'll see you on the trails.