Massdrop and How it Benefits Cottage Manufacturers

Massdrop is an online retailer that sells niche products to enthusiasts at a discount. If you’re not familiar with them you should sign up on their website and check out the member deals that they’re offering. They’re one of the few retailers that sell ultralight backpacking gear at a good discount. Most UL cottage manufacturers don’t give people discounts anymore, so this is a big benefit.Massdrop screen grab

These are just examples of their current deals. They also work with these UL manufacturers:

If you’re interested on one of the deals they’re offering you make a commitment to buy it. If more people sign up for it, the price drops significantly. You benefit because you get a good deal. The gear manufacturer benefits because it’s less expensive to sell a product to a group than one customer at a time. It also moves products “faster,” so they can manufacture more and grow their profits.

Cottage Company Innovation

Cottage companies are really bad at marketing their products to a wider audience. It’s just not in their DNA. Many have terrible web sites, they don’t have extra staff to send out email newsletters or monitor social media, they don’t have money to advertise online and you can’t try their gear on in a store.  They rely on word of mouth from satisfied customers, but that’s a very slow way to grow a customer base. If you can’t grow your customer base, you won’t have money to invest in innovation and new product development.

Massdrop gives cottage companies and smaller manufacturers a way to access a new community of enthusiasts that they can sell to. It’s not too different from regular retail, like REI, but much more focused and geographically dispersed so it scales well even with smaller niche communities like ultralight backpacking.

So check out Massdrop. And if you’re a cottage gear manufacturer, I recommend that you run a test “drop” with them. New customers are hard to find and Massdrop brings them to you.

Updated 2017.

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  1. I see a number of imminent purchases on the Dutch Ware site…Thanks for sharing!

    • Dutchware is ingenious and infectious. I’ve bought a ton of his stuff this year for hammock and tarp suspensions. I think they’re the most innovative and inventive cottage manufacturer in the ultralight backpacking community.

      • Dutchware is like potato chips: You can’t have just one. Dutch and his wonderful innovations keep my hammock set up, and my wallet, ultralight.

      • I love dutchware. I just bought some more of their Argon 67 to make another quilt. I haven’t been able to find another fabric that is lighter and downproof.

        I also just received a pound of 950 fill power down, so this quilt is going to be something special. I will probably be able to make at least two quilts out of a pound of 950.

        I’ve never done hammock camping, that will probably be my next project. Do you have any good information on hammock suspensions? There were a bunch of options on Dutchware, it wasn’t entirely clear what were the pro’s and con’s of each type.

      • Hammock suspensions…someone could write a doctoral dissertation on the topic. My advice would be to check out hammock and read different peoples opinions. Dutch is also very responsive via email. I use a multi buckle cinch buckle suspension with straps because it’s easy and durable but heavier than other options.

  2. Thank you for writing this and giving massdrop some love. I found out about massdrop about 6 months ago. I’ve only been on a few drops, but was lucky enough to get a Toaks Ti pot, and a ULA Circuit on discount. They regularly have Darn Tough socks and Exofficio boxers on drop too!

  3. Massdrop has been my favorite site ever since my friend (who likes computer gear) told me about it. I’ve been in 4 or 5 drops for outdoor gear since. I look forward to their emails because they always have something I want.

  4. Just a correction…Massdrop does not charge companies a “listing fee” so it’s free to work with them! Added bonus! Great company to work with.

  5. I have been using Massdrop for a while. They have some good deals, and some not so good deals, so buyer beware. I use it for the EDC category and the Ultralight category mostly. I have learned a lot about other products though, as a result, and have bought some stuff in Writing category too.

  6. I’m sure it benefits the Cottage Industry, but with Massdrop, if you buy it….you own it. They won’t do refunds, or exchanges.

  7. I purchased an Insulated Klymit Static V Luxe through a drop recently. No complaints with the service and the communications are top notch.
    A caveat for fellow Canadians who deal with Massdrop is that with DHL as their carrier we get dinged for the duty upon delivery. The duty, depending on amount, may offset any perceived savings on a product. I intend to contact them so they can warn buyers outside of the USA regarding this issue.

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