This year, I'm sorry to say that we lost track of that goal. With the financial uncertainty surrounding everything, we've ended up grabbing all the orders we could get.
I'm pleased that we have managed to resist the temptation to rush boards through or cut corners. Our standards haven't slipped, but high order volumes coupled with material shortages and staffing issues have led to long delays. Our customer service also hasn't been as good as we would like.
To avoid the same situation in the future, we've decided to change how we manage custom orders at OPEN. Instead of ordering your surfboard without seeing your place in the queue, you can now pre-order your board based on the month you want it delivered.
The plan is to cap orders each month to keep production below 300 boards a year (less than one board a day). From this point forwards, we won't take on rushed jobs or last-minute orders. This gives us time to take pride in what we do and give your boards the attention they deserve. We'll also keep you better informed about the progress of your board.
We appreciate this won't be for everyone and goes against the attractive immediacy of modern online shopping. But we're not in the pile-them-high-sell-them-cheap business; we build custom surfboards and we want those boards to be of the highest possible quality.
So how does it work?
1) a £60 (fully refundable) deposit reserves your place in the queue for the month you want to receive your board.
2) We'll be in touch as soon as you've reserved your spot to chat through the rough details of what you want - this means that we can order any special materials or accessories your might need in plenty of time.
3) We will get in touch again to confirm your order the week before your board is due to be shaped (4 weeks before the delivery date you've chosen). If you want to go ahead, you pay the balance of your board, and if not, we'll refund your deposit and build a stock board in its place.
4) Your custom board is delivered on time - we are all stoked :)
This approach means you can book your spot for a Christmas present board in August or a new summer board in January. Which in turn, helps us plan production, order materials in plenty of time and give our team a consistent year-round salary.
We aim to get to the stage where we have an idea of all the boards we are building up to 6 months in advance. This approach applies to all custom boards built at OPEN; Guest Shaped Boards, OPEN EGGS or Shaping Workshops.