Over the last four years of operating Steeltooth, one thing that has become evidently clear is that most of our customers are from the western part of the United States with a concentration of purchases happening in Southern California. Aside from the metropolitan area of New York City, at the moment purchases on the eastern part of the United States have not been what we would expect. Moving the operation from Chicago to the Inland Empire of California is an incredible investment of time and resources, but long term it is the correct decision. Here are some of the opportunities we feel moving to California will provide us.
It's not secret that California has multiple landscapes that can be visited in a single day. You can surf in the ocean in the morning, and by early evening be in Big Bear with a snowscape. This provides incredible opportunity for photos, videos, and other types of content creation. Aside from what the environment can provide, there is also the opportunity for collaborations with other talented content creators that have made California their home. There is a large concentration of individuals that aspire to work in television and film from both the acting and production side. This will allow Steeltooth to find talented individuals to assist us in high production value content creation as we take our next steps as a business.
When we get a purchase and the person lives in Chicago, we can tell a lot about who that customer might be just based on what neighborhood they live in. This helps us create customer personas and create new products that appeal to our demographics. When that same thing happens in California we don't really have that same connection with the customer. As we get more familiar with our new home it will start to become more clear as to who our customers actually are. Another benefit is the faster shipping times and cheaper shipping costs. It can take 3 days currently to ship our products to our most frequent customers. That will be reduced to about 1 day which can make a huge difference for people especially during holiday seasons.
Year Round Production
In Chicago, there comes a time when things start to really slow down from a content creation side. From about November to March the weather can severely impact the ability to do much in terms of filming or taking photos. It's not just the low temperatures but also the precipitation. If you're lucky enough to get a warm November day, it's probably due to a storm system that came up from the south. Having to remain indoors can impact how often prototyping can be done as well, since you can't predict what a prototype can involve. Prior to actual production, we might be using spray paint to see what colors look good on the comb before we go to powder coating. Polishing thousands of combs indoors can also be a huge pain even though use a natural based polish solution. Being able to do these things as needed, and not just when they can be done, is a huge advantage as a growing business.
Proximity to Retail Focal Points
A four hour drive to Las Vegas which hosts many conventions for retailers is much different than having to load all of our stuff on a plane to attend a convention. We will have much more control being able to load our stuff in a truck and attend conventions in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. Visiting and interacting with our wholesale partners that exist on the west coast will be much easier and can actually be done in person instead of over Instagram. Collaborating with our wholesale customers to create content has an exponential number of benefits when it comes to both exposure and the quality. At this time, the collaboration doesn't really exist and it's something we want to.