New As Tucas Foratata Quilt

Discussion in 'Where to buy' started by Marco, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    I agree 100% @Munro277. It's not a problem unique to astucas either. Most small businesses have issues, illness slows/stops things, family problems, staff leaving you short etc etc. but a bit of communication and genuine updates go a long way to keeping customers happy. Promises that aren't kept do the opposite. The same goes for work quality, quite a few of the companies I've purchased from have sent me below par workmanship for a high price and it's not acceptable.

    Disclaimer: I've never bought anything from astucas. I nearly bought a quilt last year but saw someone else having a lot of issues with delivery times and communication, so I didn't bother. I've also never seen a complaint about astucas workmanship, I was talking about other companies... I specifically have experience with Zpacks (horrendous workmanship, and pretty crappy cs) and MLD (not great, certainly not considering their claims on workmanship and quality).

    It's a very good thing on this forum that we're not over moderated on calling companies out like many other forums have done in the past, either due to advertising, personal relationships, not wanting to damage rep etc. and tbh I'm starting to think it should be done more often. :thumbsup: Shewie.
    tom, Padstowe, Mole and 4 others like this.
  2. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    I probably have a unique viewpoint on issues like this being both a small business owner making kit and also a normal punter buying kit.

    Running a small business on your own can be really challenging when life intervenes with curveballs at the time you need it least. But that said you still have an obligation to your customers from both a legal and moral standpoint. Small cottage makers of big ticket items make a rod for their own backs by taking up front payment and then failing to deliver within agreed timescales. Even if their personal life is running smoothly its easy to get overwhelmed with the time taken to complete big and complex items. In the worst cases financial strain can lead to customers being left with no product and no refund.

    Ive always said consumers give way too much slack to cottage makers. I think its because you interact on a more personal level and tend to get more of a friendship vibe from the relationship rather than thinking of it as a business transaction. What many makers dont realise is that their customers are their biggest asset. Not only do they pay the bills, they have an untold amount of knowledge of using kit and know what works, what doesnt and how things can be improved. Out of say 100 emails i get i probably see 99% that just say 'i wanted to let you know how happy i am with xxxx, its awesome'. Thats really nice, is deeply appreciated and makes you feel great but its the remaining 1% who suggest improvements, new products or who are unhappy that are the most important. Craige is right though that people dont speak out. I recently found out about an unhappy customer because i saw information on Reddit. I can honestly say id rather know about problems first hand as if i dont i cant, a) work to put technical things right and b), make amends with the customer. Most cottages get far more business from repeat customers and word of mouth than they do from organic growth as they seldom have marketing budgets to access a huge audience. A happy customer will tell his walking buddies about his new awesome kit but an unhappy one will tell them to avoid. For that reason id always suggest you feedback your thoughts to the business owner to allow them the chance to respond and sort it out. Which leads neatly onto comms. It takes two seconds to keep people in the loop so why do all the cottage makers who have problems just go silent. It makes no sense. As we read all the time, people are more prepared to give small makers more slack than they would a big box manufacturer so to ignore them is the wrong way to go. I can completely understand why @Munro277 has taken this public and so he should.

    The other major thing that gets my goat (nearly as much as cottage makers that dont pax taxes) is how the likes of Zpacks, HMG, MLD etc are classed as cottage makers. Zpacks employs 90 people which at $20k average wage (its likely way more) would give an annual wage bill of $1.8m. To afford that level of wage bill turnover is likely in the order of $5-6m at the minimum. They are no longer listed in Florida as an LLC but as a Corporation which should tell you something. Put simply they aint cottage makers anymore. I dare say its true of the other major players too so im not just singling out zpacks. Perhaps it suits them to be under the cottage umberella. To me if you work at home you are a cottage, if you have premises and staff you are a SME. I think its this growth from cottage to proper big business that drives the quality issues. nobody you pay is going to put the love into your product that you did when you were working out of home, flying by the seat of your pants just trying to make rent each month.

    I hope you get sorted Peter
    tom, Padstowe, Enzo and 13 others like this.
  3. Munro277

    Munro277 Thru Hiker

  4. Robin

    Robin Thru Hiker

    Wise words, Paul. I think you are awesome :inlove::D
    edh likes this.
  5. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    I wouldn't class Zpacks as a cottage company. I'm sorry to hear @craige has had poor workmanship and poor cs from them, too. It's quite a long time since I bought anything from Zpacks other than small stuff but I've found there cs to be excellent in the past. Ironic that it was better when they were actually a cottage company.
    *Thread drift*
    I've just received a stuff sack and lantern from you. Unfortunately everything is perfect; maybe next time you could mess up a little so that I could send you some useful feedback ;)
    Actually, I'll probably switch the torch on the lantern with a Photon Freedom I normally have on my key chain, as it is easier to switch on. Supplying the lantern with a Photon Freedom would probably push the price of the lanterns beyond what most people would want to pay though.
    *End thread drift*
    paul likes this.
  6. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    I had a dry bag from Zpacks six months ago. As everyone knows i hate making them lol. The bottom seam tape was not properly attached and the bag was poorly finished in general. Luckily fixing the tape was an easy job.

    I agree on the lantern unit. Im always on the look out for new units but the economics seldom stack up. The XL one although heavier is so much easier to operate with the tail click but 16g is just too much for some :D *end thread drift*
    WilliamC likes this.
  7. Clare

    Clare Ultralighter

    Agree, and have also replaced Paul's light with a Photon Freedom in my lanterne.:) *re-starts thread drift *
    WilliamC likes this.
  8. Dave5791

    Dave5791 Trail Blazer

    @Munro277 - Sorry to hear about your frustrations, but I was wondering, did you win the quilt or pay for it?

    As Paul rightly points out, communication is key and not giving people false hope by (perhaps unintentionally) overestimating lead times. I can well imagine some genuine 'cottagers' having cash flow issues and biting off more than they can chew in terms of orders only for delays to come back and bite them on the proverbial. Not an easy balancing act in my view. I can also sympathise with Munro277's reluctance to go public with criticism as I wouldn't want to potentially burn someone's livelihood supplemental or otherwise.

    Having said that, I'm sure most on here are grateful for the heads up so they can weigh up the potential headaches of purchases no matter the manufacturer.
  9. Munro277

    Munro277 Thru Hiker

    Yes Dave I won it in Hiendrichs competion,which he runs every xmas,well for past few yrs,I was out with a lad who won a paramo jacket on the comp the yr I thought I’d make an effort and try and answer the quiz question and try and win..which I did and luckily I won .....
  10. Munro277

    Munro277 Thru Hiker

    Here’s a screen shot off As tucas FB page showing the comp,it’s called the Advent calendar comp

  11. dovidola

    dovidola Ultralighter

    Paul has it right, as do others who remember that they are running a business, irrespective of the size of their 'cottage'.

    An example of a 'cottage' getting it wrong, and demonstrating its belief that customers are a necessary evil coming a poor second to their own convenience, is a small culinary supplier I used to buy stuff from. When a repeat order failed to arrive, my queries resulted in a lengthy tale of woe from the proprietor, detailing why various domestic happenings meant she hadn't the time to access my ordered items from stock. When I enquired as to how long I might expect it to take, I got a rude reply, so I asked for a refund instead, which I received along with a shedload of abuse and a lifetime ban! Nice.
  12. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    The excuses and wall of silence always surprises me. I would much prefer honesty like "I'm up to my neck in orders, wont be x weeks until i pick it up". The lack of replies are annoying and excuses are often comical.

    We bitch about it in private because we want them to succeed, I totally understand people going public, otherwise they won't change.
    Mole, Chris2901, Arne L. and 3 others like this.
  13. Munro277

    Munro277 Thru Hiker

    Ta El
  14. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Likewise I have been put off a couple of smaller enterprise purchases due to personal feedback; As Tucas being one...a pity as what I was after looked great.

    TBH it is not an issue I have had with US cottage suppliers...and I've bought a lot from them. The USA does, however, have a very customer-focused service ethic in the main...unlike some other places...
  15. Chris2901

    Chris2901 Section Hiker

    As Tucas always had a problem regarding their custom offers. It would probably be better if they focussed on their core business?!
    el manana likes this.
  16. Dave5791

    Dave5791 Trail Blazer

    I'm probably mistaken here Munro277 but it crossed my mind that you may have slipped down the priority list because you're not a paying customer. If Marco has some internal issues maybe he feels obliged to deal with those orders first? Who knows? I can appreciate your frustration, doubly so if you are relying on delivery of said item. As for cottages, regardless of size, at the end of the day they are businesses and people's expectation of them are viewed as such especially if they have slick e-commerce. If they are happy to take your cash can they really complain if customers get peeved if the level of service or quality of product is sub-standard?

    Personally, I don't think so.

    How much does caveat emptor enter into the equation though?

    I hope your prize turns up sooner rather than later.
    Shoarthing, Mole and Munro277 like this.
  17. SafetyThird

    SafetyThird Ultralighter

    I'm a paying customer, ordered my quilt mid December. After a lengthy delay, I did receive a reply and my quilt should have shipped at the end of last week. I'll cut small businesses a lot of slack, I'm a small business owner myself, but not keeping customers updated is poor practice and just sending an email saying 'sorry, it's going to take longer than planned' will normally make me happy, it's the not knowing and not getting replies that I find annoying.
    Chris2901 likes this.
  18. Munro277

    Munro277 Thru Hiker

    I had reply 2 fridays back saying I would get a tracking number Monday/Tuesday just gone ..since then nothing again
  19. Chris2901

    Chris2901 Section Hiker

    @Munro277 : I think you should ask for a refund?!
  20. Munro277

    Munro277 Thru Hiker

    Mine was a prize in a competion ..
  21. Chris2901

    Chris2901 Section Hiker

    Ok I see...ask für a refund then!!!:D
    edh likes this.
  22. Gordon

    Gordon Backpacker

    Is that it?

    I love my Sestrals trousers and quilt, a well as their beenie and merino hooded base layer - all top class gear. I was looking forward, with interest at the launch of the Foratata quilt.

    It's been a while and there's been no obvious movement on the situation with @Munro277 's quilt. The As Tucas website has shrunk.

    What is happening?
  23. SafetyThird

    SafetyThird Ultralighter

    I received an email 2 days ago from Marco saying that he is delayed with the quilts. He's reworking some patterns and it's taking longer than he expected. He now expects to ship my quilt to me in 7-10 days and says he'll keep me updated as he progresses.
    Gordon, Munro277 and theoctagon like this.
  24. Munro277

    Munro277 Thru Hiker

    I’ve had a reply along the same lines, saying he will be in contact but hopefully in 7-10 days he’s had to or decided to redesign the quilt which has caused him delays
    Gordon likes this.
  25. Gordon

    Gordon Backpacker

    Good to hear of the contacts and an explanation. Hope the quilts are soon forthcoming and business gets back to usual. Quality gear for sure.

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