Articles by Fred Perrotta

Fred Perrotta is the Co-Founder of Tortuga Backpacks. He's an avid traveler and has visited, lived in, and worked in over a dozen countries. When not on the road, he can be found exploring the restaurants and concert venues of San Francisco.

You can follow Fred on Twitter or Google+.

Here at Tortuga, the V3 project was all about getting more specific. Going more niche.

The Outbreaker backpack isn’t just a new product, it’s the next iteration of Tortuga as a company. For the launch, we redesigned our product line and website. Both are just the beginning.

The new site is meant to be a platform for our V3 strategy. We consider V3 to be a company change, not just a product change. The Outbreaker backpack appears to be an updated version of the Tortuga Backpack (aka V2) but is just the first step of a larger strategy.

The V2 Strategy

Our V2 line included two luggage-sized backpacks: the Tortuga and the Air, along with accessories including a daypack, rain covers, and packing cubes.

Together, the V2 line was a solid collection of products that worked well together.

While re-reading The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, I’ve been thinking about the laws in the context of our previous and current strategies.

The Law of the Category: If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.

Our goal with the company and the first product was to create the “travel backpack” category. Mission accomplished.

What’s changing?
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When I got the email, I took a deep breath then opened the attachment. I braced myself to read the Outbreaker’s bill of materials, the document listing each component of the bag and, most importantly, the final price that we would pay our supplier to make it. I quickly scrolled to the bottom to get to the number.

Pop quiz, Hotshot:
How much more do you think the upgraded Outbreaker costs to make than the Tortuga V2? Take a guess before you scroll down.
The Outbreaker Backpack costs 113% more to manufacture than the Tortuga did. Our costs have more than doubled. The Outbreaker Daypack also costs twice as much to make. The Outbreaker Packing Cubes cost 50% more to make.

Yet, we haven’t been forced to increase the prices that you pay by the same multiples. The Outbreaker’s price only increased 25% over the Tortuga Travel Backpack.

How is that possible?

Because we’re a v-commerce company.

In today’s post, I’ll discuss what that is and what it means for you, the discerning customer.

E-Commerce to V-Commerce

If you’re reading this, you probably do a lot of shopping online. Maybe you’re an Amazon Prime member. Maybe you have a favorite brand that you can only get online. Maybe you just hate malls.

Online shopping seems ubiquitous, but only 8.4% of retail sales were made online in Q3 2016.

Amazon may seem like a shopping behemoth, but we’ll still look back on today as the early days of e-commerce. While e-commerce is in its infancy, the market has grown enough for it to evolve and to specialize. Hence, the recent growth of _v_-commerce brands in the last five to ten years.

That one letter change makes a big difference. The jargon is new, but you likely already know a few v-commerce companies other than Tortuga. Have you heard of Bonobos, Warby Parker, Everlane, or Casper? They’re all v-commerce companies too.

V-commerce companies make and sell their own products. The store is the brand. Think The Gap, not Macy’s, but online.

That all sounds great but what’s in it for you? Click to continue…

Note: our store will be shoppable on Friday, November 25th, but our team members will be taking the day off. If you have questions or need help with your order, we’ll get back to you on Monday, November 28th.

Black Friday is a few days away. Cyber Monday is three days later. We will not be having a sale on either day. Not this year. Not next year.

Shopping online can save you from getting trampled at Wal-Mart, but you’re still part of the orgy of consumerism that is Black Friday.

Despite the flood of emails that you’ll get on Friday, 99% of the “deals” are bullshit.

So, no, we won’t be creating the illusion of savings to trick you into buying on a specific day of the year.

According to the National Retail Federation, “the holiday season can represent as much as 30 percent of annual sales” for some companies. Why? Because those brands have trained people to only buy when they have sales, and Black Friday is their biggest sale.

At Tortuga, we would rather build a sustainable business that makes money year round so that we can keep building great luggage for you.
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