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Old 02-01-2024, 7:16 AM
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Default Yeti buys Mystery Ranch

As the title says, Yeti has picked up Mystery Ranch, hopefully the quality doesn't go downhill or manufacturing get shipped overseas.

https://www.backpacker.com/news-and-...mystery-ranch/

Yeti, the company known for its trendy drinkware, insulated bottles and high-end coolers, will acquire backpack manufacturer Mystery Ranch according to an agreement announced by the two companies on Wednesday.
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Old 02-03-2024, 11:16 PM
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Ick is my first reaction..
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Old 02-07-2024, 8:03 PM
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Old 02-09-2024, 9:57 PM
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I am buying another MR bag now
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Old 02-10-2024, 5:56 PM
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I expected something like this was coming when Sportsman's Warehouse began carrying their packs a couple of years ago. Here is a 2018... Interview: Dana Gleason of Mystery Ranch...

Quote:
...We were at a point in time where I was trying to build a line that would work really well with hardcore specialty dealers that were willing to provide service. At that same time, the hardcore specialty dealers were getting utterly freaked out about the reality of eBay.

It is something that really disrupted the model that we had started up with Dana Design. And, as it turns out, we needed to find some people who need what we do - which is very reliably let people carry whatever kind of load they?re going to need for what they?re doing in the field. That turned out to not be the outdoor industry as we knew it very early on.

So we had to start thinking about Plan B. We also had virtually every dealer telling us nobody would ever pay $300 for a pack again, and to get our prices way down. We ended up producing in China for a full year, and it pretty much shut down our own production. That was a nightmare. Just a damn nightmare...
My personal suspicion is that COVID caused a similar disruption to the business. When you produce a specialty product for specialty users and charge a premium, there has to be a steady, even if comparatively small, measured by the overall market, demand. Without it, to keep product moving out the door so as to keep the lights on, compromises ensue in materials, marketing, etc. Sooner or later, those compromises tend to degrade the 'specialty' aspects, but the marketability attracts companies looking to 'diversify' for the same reasons; i.e., to keep product moving out the door to pay the light bills.

When you set aside all the hype and marketing catch phrases, the 'integration' of the two 'teams' usually boils down to... How can we use this acquisition to make money? This further degrades the 'specialty' aspects of the original product.

We saw the same thing with Dana Designs. We saw the same happen with Gregory packs (Gregory Mountain Products) when it started getting passed around to different corporations. We've seen something similar with rod and reel manufacturers in the fly fishing industry. We've been witnessing it with firearms manufacturing. What's happened to Cold Steel, the knife manufacturer? Don't believe me? Here's a piece from Winter 2010-2011... Leader of the Pack...

Quote:
...By breaking up functions of the pack in areas of stability, load control, and fit, Dana and his team made tremendous steps forward within the backpack industry, and created packs that stood out on the worldwide market. "It was the largest company we'd ever created," Dana explains. "It got bigger than anything we could have envisioned." In 1995, Dana decided to sell the company to K2 Corporation in an effort to productively channel their growth. "It worked out reasonably well for a while," Dana says. "We learned a few things about how companies were actually run."

Despite making good money with their three Montana production plants, K2 shut down their stateside facilities, moved manufacture overseas, and terminated nearly 300 employees. "K2 was moving all its production offshore?that's how you save money?and our stuff went offshore as well," Dana sighs. Unimpressed with how K2 made "corporate sausage," Renee left the company in 1997. Dana followed in 1999...

In 2000, Dana created his fourth pack company: Mystery Ranch. Due to pricing standards within the outdoor gear market, production initially began in China. Fortuitously, in 2003, several Navy SEALs came to Mystery Ranch looking for a version of the Astralplane that K2 wasn't willing to build them. Dana agreed: "We decided 'sure, why not.'" Word of their quality packs spread, and by using income generated from different military contracts, Dana was able to bring production back to Montana. "Ultimately, it felt so good to build the gear by ourselves and ensure that it was built right," Dana says. "We began to question how outdoor gear was sold in the US." Through relentless markups, he explains, most outdoor gear is originally bought for one-fifth its retail price. By building specialized equipment for core users locally and selling it to them directly, Mystery Ranch has created a bit more of what Dana calls a "naked business transaction."

Through building packs for the military, Dana and crew found other hardworking groups?wilderness fire fighters, medical workers, and hotshot crews?who needed quality above all else, and thus developed a deep reliance on Mystery Ranch products. "If our packs don?t work for these customers," Dana notes, "the consequences could be severe. They need what we do." Ultimately, the Mystery Ranch team adopted the working mantra of "creating tools, not sporting goods," and production went beyond just creating a pack that carries well. Currently, the majority of packs built by Mystery Ranch are designated for military contracts?including foreign militaries as well. "It's had a large impact on how we designed our gear," Dana says...
If you design for a market niche, then you have to be prepared for when that niche no longer remains sufficient to sustain your business model. Unfortunately, its typically the very niche you were designing for which ultimately loses the benefits of the product. The problem is, once a product becomes 'mass marketed' rather than a 'specialty' product, it is difficult, nigh unto impossible to, once again, be viewed as a product for that market niche or similar. Thus, customers begin looking elsewhere.

It's just like McHale Packs. They are selling for the same price they were back in 2001 and there are more offerings. That has to mean some 'compromises,' be it materials, workmanship, whatever, were made. Whatever the marketing, you won't convince me the quality is the same.

It's a frustration I've had over the years. Sometimes, I manage to get a product when it is at, for me, the height of design and production. Other times, I miss the boat and have to wait for something to replace it. In that context, I missed the boat with Mystery Ranch, even though I looked into them a number of times. It's just that I couldn't afford the trip to Bozeman and I could never find a dealer close enough to work with.
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