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blackdog
2005-01-31, 02:18
There's a lot of new products being created by the people at this place. Maybe you should consider forming a group of companies for marketing and/or distribution? The designs could be licensed within the group, allowing cottage companies to serve the local communities with specialized gear.

jimtanker
2005-01-31, 02:25
Sounds interresting.

I make stickers and can have things sewn on industrial sewing machinges. I have made pepsi can stoves but they arent that good looking. :biggrin:

Sgathak
2005-02-01, 20:37
Its certainly an idea....

My stoves are coming along nicely... I think anyway. Too bad the name "Zen Stove" is already taken :bawling:

Ive got some backpack plans in the cooker as well.

Interesting thought...............................

SGT Rock
2005-02-01, 20:59
Speaking of this, anyone know how to get lined up with a distributor to buy stuff at wholesale? I am trying to find where I can get some Evernew 0.9L Ti pots.

Sgathak
2005-02-02, 19:17
For wholesale, you need to have a wholesalers lisc. (contact the state for more info I beleive)

From there you contact the selleres, provide your wholesalers number, and they tell you what rate they sell their stuff at... usually with different price points for bulk.

Sgathak
2005-02-08, 23:30
Im liking the idea of a "hiker gear group" (Co-Op?) more and more....

Being newly unemployed, needing cash flow, and with plenty o' ideas...... Im thinking I might start up a very small microbusiness.

Might be nice to have a consortium of other like minded individuals with their own products and everybody can pimp everyone elses stuff

Major Slacker
2005-02-09, 18:41
Tomorrow is my last day at this gig. I have lots of ideas but no firm plans for what's next. I can afford to take at least a few months off -- thanks to Dad's generosity and good advice from a broker some 10 years ago.

I'm a graphic artist with 25 years of experience in advertising and printing. I'm sick to death of it at the moment, but my attitude will probably improve after some time off. Marketing something I care about and/or make myself would be much more motivating than marketing another crummy software program that nobody really wants or needs.

I, too, have lots of ideas after 25+ years on the trails. I'm looking forward to having some time to develop those ideas.

I've also got a pile of stoves. I've been "selling" them, $10 each or $25 for three, as a fund-raiser for ODATC, but I could be persuaded to pocket the money myself.

SGT Rock
2005-02-09, 20:02
Im liking the idea of a "hiker gear group" (Co-Op?) more and more....

Being newly unemployed, needing cash flow, and with plenty o' ideas...... Im thinking I might start up a very small microbusiness.

Might be nice to have a consortium of other like minded individuals with their own products and everybody can pimp everyone elses stuff

Moonbow Gear works that sort of deal.

blackdog
2005-02-09, 21:11
Consider this:

I want to buy hiking gear. A friend gives me an URL that points to an unusual homepage, at least it is for me. The place is like coming to a market where people have their blankets spread out, selling small goods. I can get a stove here and a quilt there. I can ask the seller personally and get custom stuff made, like an anorak made from fabric insulated with space-tech "blue smoke". At the bazaar I can find local (as in geographically near) craftsmen as well as people from the other side of the planet. One of the manufacturers tells me that there is merchants buying stuff for their stores and informs me how to find one that I can visit. The same guy also tells me where I can find a library of basic designs, that has been collected by the people of the bazaar, and the places I can find the materials to make them. My money ends up buying better stuff than I had planned for. ...from a couple living just blocks away. Imagine that.

Some of those things are already happening at the Hiking HQ and some of them could be started by a bunch of people and a couple of computers. The bazaar system would be for display and information. Payments could be transfered through other systems.

Finally... I don't propose a flower-power-ish system, but one that makes everyone a potential resource instead of just a consumer. It wouldn't take much. This place is already swarming with goods and new ideas. Ideas are best kept in freedom, but the goods can be sold at a profit.

SGT Rock
2005-02-09, 21:18
Well, that sort of thing could be possible. About the only drawback I see is shipping. If you go to REI and order 3 things, then all the shipping is from the same place and you pay a flat rate. If you came to the bazaar and ordered 3 things that happen to come from three different vendors, then you get three separate shipments from three different guys and pay a lot more.

Other than that, I like the idea. www.thru-hiker.com has a lot of good projects and plans, plus he sells kits and some merchandise, just that you can't get the homemade merchandise from him, only some stuff that you could already buy somewhere else.

Sgathak
2005-02-09, 21:27
BackpackersBazaar.com, and UltralightBazaar.com are available!

As for shipping? Its no worse than buying from 2 or 3 different vendors online, or buying stuff off eBay, its just the "bazaar" gives a portal(?) where a group of small vendors can show off their stuff.

SGT Rock
2005-02-09, 21:37
OK, so how exactly do you implement? Do you have a central website maintained by one guy and then everyone else maintains their own pages? You need to standardize to make it happen seamlessly. I would also recommend a forum, so folks can discuss stuff like we do now.

Sgathak
2005-02-09, 22:09
Do you have a central website maintained by one guy and then everyone else maintains their own pages?

Thats one way to do it... There are some good php Portal Sites that could handle something along these lines, but Im not good enough with PHP to hack it right.

Sgathak
2005-02-10, 04:06
I found a hosting company offering $7 a month hosting and auto-installs phpNuke and/or PostNuke portal software, phpBB message board or Invision Message board, phpShops online store, osCommerce online store, a photo gallery, and unlimited sub-domains (plus a whole lotta other stuff, like blogging software - theoretically to be used for trail journals?)

Even if only one person had primary access, the subdomains could be accessed by the individual sellers, and I *think* each could be set up with their own "store"... conversely, the store could be set up so that each seller had their own "department" on a group store?????

Im just playing with ideas here so tell me what you think

SGT Rock
2005-02-10, 08:45
Here is how to handel orders:

http://hikinghq.net/osCommerce/catalog/index.php

blackdog
2005-02-10, 10:51
Reuse is a good thing. Why create another forum when there's the campfire? And why buy a new domain for handling the bazaar? This is all good. :)

Now there's only three steps left, imho.

1. Create a link page for the companies that we've come to appreciate, like moonbow, gossamergear, jacksRbetter, OES, etc. ...as well as other good places. (I am sorry if I forgot any of them, but it's human to err.)

2. Redesign the commerce site to match the rest of HHQ better. Colours and stuff.

3. Make bazaar.hikinghq.net and shop.hikinghq.net (etc...) point to the shop site. That shouldn't cost more than nickles if it costs anything at all.

Another good thing would be if people that want to sell their goods could put a link in their signature. That way we would all be up front when giving advice around the campfire.

A small percentage of the sales could cover the bandwidth and other costs. I suspect you'll need a better line and maybe another computer quite soon, sarge. 400 simultaneous visitors and still increasing...

And the administrative chores need to be delegated somehow. The place is getting to be more work than any individual can handle by him- or herself.

SGT Rock
2005-02-10, 11:06
Well what I would recommend is this: get a new server and domain just for the site. Set up a front page using vBulletin or something similar, then use the software for the sales. The cool thing about that software is we could set up new product folders for each vendor and then let them set up their own product listings under each section while maintaining a set style. Right now my stuff uses a good deal of server resources and adding another set of stuff isn't a great way to run it. BUT, PowWeb offers the eCommerce software for free. Cost would be domain: $15, vBulletin: $140, Server Space: about $100 a year, set up for the MySQL dBase: $20, and maybe some other costs I am not thinking of. To me the biggest problem would be time, personally I don't have the time to do all that stuff again, but I would be willing to advise anyone that wants to set it up.

blackdog
2005-02-10, 11:58
Right now my stuff uses a good deal of server resources and adding another set of stuff isn't a great way to run it.
bazaar.hikinghq.net wouldn't have to run on the same machine. It doesn't even have to be in the same state or on the same continent. So the additional domain isn't necessary, unless you don't want the commerce to be within your domain at all, Top.

One idea is to have a chain of small stores take care of the commerce bit. These loosely related stores could be the walk-right-in or local mail order companies. The owners would need to be hikers themselves so that they know what they sell, and preferably located outside the big cities to cut costs and be more in touch with the lifestyle. Maybe a collaboration with ecological stores could be the key to create this chain of stores, who knows?

Sections of the HHQ network could also be a logical next step. Europe (eu.hikinghq.net) and Australia (au.hikinghq.net) are two geographical regions it would be logical to have separate websites for. If one of the sections go down temporarily, then the other sites would be available to give the reason for the downtime. Separating the zones would also lessen the workload for each administrator.

And finally there's always the KISS alternative...
To keep the idea really simple (and still get most of the benefits), there could be a showroom area around the campfire. A thread could be started for each new homemade gizmo and questions and reviews could be typed in like any post.

The KISS alternative is what I recommend at this stage. :)

Sgathak
2005-02-10, 16:27
Well, you COULD in theory turn hikinghq into some sort of bazaar, but - is that really the best idea? and does Top really want that? I know that I wouldnt want to take my website and turn it into something totally different.

I think something more dedicated makes sense, especially if were serious about this.

Even more so in light of this reality


A small percentage of the sales could cover the bandwidth and other costs. I suspect you'll need a better line and maybe another computer quite soon, sarge. 400 simultaneous visitors and still increasing...

And the administrative chores need to be delegated somehow. The place is getting to be more work than any individual can handle by him- or herself.


A new dedicated server would leave Rocks bandwidth alone, if the subdomains were running on other peoples servers, the overall cost would jump significantly because even a small server per person would charge more than a consolidated unit.

As for osCommerce... its good software! I cant get it to run on my site at all, so I dont too much on the backend functionality, but I do know that some solid websites do alot of sales with it.

blackdog
2005-02-10, 17:07
Well, you COULD in theory turn hikinghq into some sort of bazaar, but - is that really the best idea? and does Top really want that? I know that I wouldnt want to take my website and turn it into something totally different.
Hiking HQ is already kind of a bazaar. The commerce is already taking place on linked sites, such as jacksRbetter and Brian's OES. Why not use a system that works? It wouldn't change this place at all, imho. ...except for more visitors.


A new dedicated server would leave Rocks bandwidth alone, if the subdomains were running on other peoples servers, the overall cost would jump significantly because even a small server per person would charge more than a consolidated unit.
The overall cost would be higher, but the cost per server would be less. And Top would only pay for his own server. The others would have to pay for themselves. The companies originated from this place already pay for their web sites.

Besides, a single server would be vulnerable to network failures and other stuff, in a way two or more servers wouldn't be. Even with a more serious business I would go with server and network redundancy.


As for osCommerce... its good software! I cant get it to run on my site at all, so I dont too much on the backend functionality, but I do know that some solid websites do alot of sales with it.
It is good software, but I would choose a plone-based product instead. Closer to what I work with normally, and a very capable system.

I suggested the hiker gear group, i know, but i didn't do it just to mess with things here. Top is still the numero uno here and he gets to decide what to do with things. In theory he doesn't have to change anything. Things are already working.

But I still think the group would be a good idea. Otherwise I wouldn't have suggested it.

Sgathak
2005-02-10, 17:46
Im completely unfamiliar with plone, and dont see any standardized web commerce offerings.. is building a functional shopping cart something that would need built "in-house"?

blackdog
2005-02-10, 18:22
Im completely unfamiliar with plone, and dont see any standardized web commerce offerings.. is building a functional shopping cart something that would need built "in-house"?
Not really. There is a product called plonemall that can be used for the shop.

The responsibilities of keeping prying cracker noses out of the "plastic card money" customer database is not to be taken lightly. I would certainly think more than twice before doing so.

Sgathak
2005-02-10, 18:26
PloneMall is not planned to be an out-of-the-box shop solution, but you can easily create a shop with it. If you are a Plone developer and you need to develop an e-commerce application, you are in the right place.

Hmmmmm


The responsibilities of keeping prying cracker noses out of the "plastic card money" customer database is not to be taken lightly. I would certainly think more than twice before doing so.

Thats why God created 3rd party money handlers like PayPal

blackdog
2005-02-10, 18:53
Sgathak, I would use plone but wouldn't force anyone else to do it, especially since there's simply no time for me to help create a bazaar site right now.


Thats why God created 3rd party money handlers like PayPal
Not sure God created 'em, but... :) You're right. That would solve a lot of problems without creating too many new ones.

Sgathak
2005-02-11, 12:25
Hey Top

How much space does osCommerce use up on your server?

SGT Rock
2005-02-11, 12:59
I don't know, it isn't much. The big files for me are the Database which is mostly forum for now.

Sgathak
2005-02-11, 13:46
Hmmmm... Ok

Well, I think Im gonna get some inventory built up, and if no one objects, Ill get a suitable domain name registered and build up the basic core for a "bazaar".

It seems to me that if osCommerce isnt too big, each "store" could have its own subdomain, with its own frontpage, eShop, and its own database (to keep things secure from shop to shop), plus each store would have its own pop3 email(s) at the primary domain name... The main domain would share a "portal" (ala phpNuke) with all of the stores. Finally, there would be a message board system with each store owner being a moderator of their own section.

Start up costs would be roughly $17, with only $1 per store per month for all of the above.... if the hosting company Ive found turns out to be decently reliable (I sent emails to a few of the site owners they claim as clients)

SGT Rock
2005-02-11, 14:54
Who all is getting in on this?

Sgathak
2005-02-11, 15:18
Well, I figure that for the cost, even if it ends up just being me, its only a few bucks a month, and the 5 spot is worth it if even 1 thing sells........

As far as Im concerned, its completely open to any one who sells ultralight gear, even if its just 1 or 2 small items... or they can run a full blown store. Ive got about 5 or 6 things Im finalizing designs on and will make 1 or 2 of each for testing/display and go from there.

So, yeah..... anyone wanting to get in on this?

blackdog
2005-02-11, 15:45
So, yeah... anyone wanting to get in on this?
I'll be in...
IF the strange ideas I have for gear work out as expected.
IF I can find time to make them become real.
IF people like the end results.

The odds are stacked high against me on this, though. :( Time will tell.

Major Slacker
2005-02-11, 15:45
I'm interested but still in the thinking stage on most of my ideas.

I'll have to decide if I want to cut the trail club out of the stove sales. Hmmm, I could keep them in the loop for any sales that come directly through the club and pocket the bazaar sales. Worth considering. Yup.