Pedal builder Chase Bliss says it plans to switch to selling its products directly to consumers via its own dedicated online store, rather than distributors and retailers.
The brand’s thinking is explained in typical heartfelt, roundabout way by founder Joel Korte in a clip on the firm’s YouTube channel.
“I’m getting super ramble-y but that’s how it’s going to be because I just really want to explain everything from my perspective here,” he prefaces, before taking time to discuss the company’s position and the various reasons for the change.
In the video, Korte discusses the sense that Chase Bliss occupies a niche that he alleges isn’t always fully understood or properly marketed by certain retailers. More importantly, though, he says they‘re facing pressure caused by rising costs of parts and labor.
“If there was one single thing that pushed me to this decision, it’s this: I couldn’t see any other way to go forward without raising our prices,” says Korte. “Our pedals are already expensive – and I also don’t want to compromise on the quality to save money.”
The idea then for the brand to absorb the component price increases it is facing by effectively cutting out the distribution/retail middle men.
As part of the move, the brand will setting up its own hub in Amsterdam in the Netherlands to send pedals direct to European consumers. Korte says it should make it easier and more affordable for its customers around the world to get hold of Chase Bliss gear, trial things at home and return items for repair, alongside developing its product support.
Watching the video, though, there‘s an overriding sense that the decision is based on Korte’s desire for creative freedom with Chase Bliss, as opposed to treading the usual path of ‘scaling up’.
“There is this pressure to make products that are more appealing to more people… and I don’t like where my head goes [with that]. I hate it. I don’t want that sort of calculus playing such a big role in my head,” says Korte.
“I want to be able to swing and miss. To maybe make something every once in a while that… won’t make sense to people now, but maybe it will in 10 years. I feel like this allows us to do that, because we don’t have to worry about selling a million of everything.”
As such, Chase Bliss has now stopped taking new orders from dealers or distributors but says you can expect to see “rolling availability” from retailers for the next few months as they make the transition to using their own site as the sole platform.
Keep an eye on ChaseBliss.com for more information.