It happened that we had discussions about the price of our BAJAO Cabin at the numerous fairs we visited this year. Some guests were of the opinion that our BAJAO Cabin should not cost more than 200 euros. But how much is a tent allowed to cost and when is it too expensive? We have taken up the questions and describe our view of the things.
Let’s start with the basic question: What does the price of a product actually consist of? In our example, of course, we are talking about our first product: BAJAO Cabin. A tent that can be set up on a paddleboard, allowing you to spend the night on the water. Or on land. Or on the roof of a car… BAJAO Cabin is the Swiss Army Knife among tents.
First, of course, there is the material. In purchasing, you lay the foundation for the later costs. We didn’t necessarily think economically here, but decided on the best and most suitable material. Instead of polyester, we chose much more expensive and lighter ripstop nylon. Why? Because nylon has much better properties for our product. For example, it is stretchable to a certain extent, it is quieter, more robust and longer lasting. By the way, the thinner and lighter a fabric is, the more expensive it will be, and we chose extremely light but robust fabric.
The coating also plays an important role, not only in price, but also in subsequent handling and longevity. Our BAJAO Cabin, the SUP tent, is double siliconized on the outside and PU coated on the inside. A PU coating on the outside would have done the trick to make it waterproof. But silicone is not just waterproof, the water rolls off. And the effect remains. Also smaller holes, e.g. from blackberries or other thorns, can simply be “rubbed” shut again. A really great thing. We need the PU coating inside to be able to tap the seams. This makes the seams waterproof.
The floor is made of a robust 150D Oxford Polyester. Here, too, we had to rely on the very highest quality, because straps are sewn to our floor, with which the SUP board is integrated into the inflatable frame.
We based the design of our air frame on the kitesurfing industry. We made our first prototypes from old kites. For the bladers, i.e. the air tubes of the kites and wings, TPU is used. PU is often used in tent production. But where is the difference? To make it simple:
TPU is more elastic, more temperature resistant, more abrasion resistant, more slip resistant and more robust. But also much more expensive. PU, on the other hand, did not provide the desired safety in our tests and was too prone to leaks. In all our two years of testing, we have yet to have a hole in our TPU frame. This is probably due in part to the fact that we chose a stronger TPU than we use in kites. Our SUP tents are meant to do a lot of things, but not fly.
In summary: We were not able to save on the material due to the usage, but rather paid attention to the very highest quality. A not insignificant part of the price is therefore our chosen material.
Production accounts for a considerable proportion of the cost, in addition to the material. We had our product manufactured in China. We asked many producers, looked at the manufacturing processes and compared the quality. Not every manufacturer can sew and weld, and they also have a good development department based in Germany, with which we worked intensively for over two years.
Surely we could have found a cheaper producer, but a SUP tent is new and has special requirements. In addition, our producer had to be able to show all certificates. ISO, fair treatment of employees, no child labor, etc.
We are happy with the choice of our producer, because we could order and test samples at every stage of development. This is the only way we can guarantee the safety of our product.
In addition, it should be noted that you can get “cheap shit” in the Far East, but you can also get excellent quality. The development of our product would not have been possible there due to the complex requirements and real innovation, and for the Corona wedding, travel was not possible either, so we deliberately decided on production with a development department in Germany.
Summary: We could have also saved on production and put an inferior product on the market. But we did not.
Thinking, drawing, sewing, trying, failing, rethinking, remaking… Anything but being discouraged. Until the prototype is finished. When we reached this point after three years, it still took 2 years until we could hold the first finished products in our hands. You can’t plan the development beforehand, and you can’t put a figure on it. But over the years we invested countless hours in our project. Until our harshest critic was satisfied: ourselves.
Summary: How can you realistically quantify the development time for a completely new product? We didn’t, but enjoyed and celebrated every moment of development. Nevertheless, we have the hope that it will still be included in the calculation by one or the other.
Our SUP tent BAJAO Cabin is something that not everyone has to have, nor should have. It is a tent that meets the highest expedition standards. But it is specially designed for use with SUPs. That’s currently still a small target group, but one that has enormous growth. Why not? Multi-day tours by canoe have been common practice for a long time and the SUP even offers some advantages here. But currently we could not have afforded large numbers yet. We are a small, up-and-coming start-up and do everything on our own. Small quantities also mean high indirect costs per unit, higher purchasing costs, higher production costs, and so on. Of course, we can’t keep up with the big players in the industry.
Summary: Larger quantities mean cheaper purchasing. But as a startup, we naturally can’t afford large print runs.
We could probably have offered more economically through pure direct sales, i.e. directly to the end customer. But BAJAO Cabin is a product that needs to be explained. And it doesn’t matter whether it costs 199 or 599 euros: Such an investment needs to be well considered. That’s why we decided to combine our own online store with a specialized dealer. Here, all your questions can be answered competently and correctly. But of course the trade also wants to live from something and therefore we include a profit margin for the specialized trade.
Summary: Direct sales would be cheaper, but we stand on advice. And we like the store around the corner. That’s why we’ve decided that retailers should have a piece of our pie.
We are unique. And so are our customers. Who wants to have a tent off the shelf – Feel free. Of course you can do a multi-day tour with a 39 Euro disposable tent from a discounter. Or the 149 Euro mass-produced polyester tent. That is completely OK. But don’t compare it with a BAJAO Cabin! Try to set up another tent on a SUP. Or use your tent on the water or car roof. If you have good taste and want something special, go for a BAJAO Cabin and become a SUP Nomad.
However, you have to be aware of one aspect. It has already been called “the BAJAO effect”. No matter where you spend the night, you will be approached every time!
Summary: We could sell it even much more expensive because of its uniqueness. Often enough we were advised to do so. But we are not greedy. Everyone who wants to have a BAJAO Cabin should get it. Even in up to 3 monthly installments.
Shipping, customs and taxes
Regardless of the fact that shipping costs have increased significantly, which of course is reflected in the price, duties and taxes are calculated on all accumulated costs. And customs duties on tents in Germany are comparatively high at 12%.
Our team is very small and we don’t receive a salary at this point. But of course we plan to be able to hang up our side jobs at some point and make a living from our work. Therefore, we have calculated a little profit.
Our goal is to build BAJAO into a significant brand. But this is still a rocky road. Nevertheless, we have to attract your attention, of course. We try to compensate our small budget with a lot of commitment and dedication. But of course this also has to be financed.
Research and development
Last but not least we would like to continue to develop new and very good products and produce them for you. There is no lack of ideas, but these also have to be implemented. And of course we need a budget for that.
So how can we answer the initial question of how much a tent should cost? Anyone who has read and understood this article knows the answer. It is not just the addition of manufacturing costs, but you have to think a bit further. Anyone who decides to buy such an exclusive product recognizes the value and is probably just as special as a BAJAO Cabin.
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