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.
These are just examples of their current deals. They also work with these UL manufacturers:
- ULA Backpacks
- Fizan Trekking Poles
- Dutchware Gear
- Borah Gear
- Tenkara Rod Company
- Bearpaw Wilderness Designs
- Ruta Locura
- Big Sky International
- Seek Outside
- Black Rock Gear
- Lukes Ultralight
- Zerogram Gear
- the list goes on….
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.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the affiliate links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.