People wanting my private parts is what made me start Redpants as a business. I wanted to be able to give everyone a chance at my private parts and the only way to make that happen was to create a business in wh............. hold up... Let's start over.
I started coming up with ideas for parts for Aston Martins that nobody was offering, and these became private-label parts that I now sell through Redpants. Yeah, that's much better phrasing.
Some parts are fairly easy to get made. Some are not. I've had a relationship with the manufacturers of my catch cans, lightweight battery mounts, and air box deletes for quite a while. When I need a change to any of those, it's generally quick and easy to make that happen. Changes have been made to most of our private-label parts, too - incremental updates for some kind of improvement based on knit-picking products over long-term use.
Some parts take a very long time to get into production. Our lug nuts, for example, have gone through a lot of testing and revisions over the course of a full year. Construction, cosmetics, materials - each is subject to change and was changed at least once. In the end, we decided to over-engineer them given their importance as a safety item. It resulted in a very long development time (several months longer than originally intended) and an increased cost (25% more than the originals). But the result is something of which I'm very proud. The same thing happened with our BC Racing coilovers. Those were supposed to be shipping to customers last spring - 15 months ago!
Some parts never see the light of day. I spent a few thousand dollars on leather to create a range of accessories that were never produced. In addition to the leather, I paid for the design and labor to create a series of sample products that were essentially terrible. The quality just wasn't there, and they weren't products worthy of being sold to my customers. You guys deserve better than that. The same thing happened after I spent a bunch of money on Redpants shirts (that's odd to say out loud). The resulting quality was terrible, and they all ended up in the trash.
Some parts seem to be consistently problematic. Take our Exterior Lighting Packages. These took forever to make, and when we did get them we had a bunch of quality control issues. The supply we got sold out quickly, and I sent them out to eager customers without scrutinizing them the way I should have. Let's just say I invested thousands of dollars in that first batch of lighting parts, and lost a few thousand more because of how everything turned out. It'll take a very long time to recoup the losses, even if the quality on future supply absolutely perfect and demand continues. If it weren't for the daily emails we get asking about these things, I would have written the whole thing off as a massive loss and moved on. It just isn't worth the stress (and trust me, they've caused us an ungodly amount of stress). But you guys demand them, so we're sticking to it, trying to get them sorted, and trying to increase our rate of supply.
There's No Control Like Out of Control
As if not having much control over supply issues wasn't enough of a challenge, the other big thing out of my control really knocked me down.
A while back I said I'd get back to content creation: blog posts, videos, DIY guides, and building out my other website, Redpants Unzipped. I didn't really get that done, did I? As with parts, life often doesn't go the way you plan. I'd mentioned that a family member was going through some stuff. After my very long moving ordeal, I didn't want to keep posting unpleasant things. What's going on has really taken a toll on me, though. Each time I've tried to sit down and write, or edit a video, or do anything at all, my mind wanders. I can't even lay in bed and enjoy a book at night anymore. I get lost in my thoughts and it's affecting my ability to focus on work, myself, and Clare.
The good news is that my father is responding very well to his treatment, and the "extremely aggressive" cancer may be getting under control.
I found out about what was happening while sitting at the Tampa airport waiting for James and Lenny to arrive from England for our Tech Day. I'd been completely preoccupied with getting ready for that event so the shock of the news hit me that much harder. Even if I hadn't been stressed out already, the news would have still wrecked me. My father has always been the one stable part of my life. No matter where I am, no matter what is going on in my life, he has always been a phone call away.
The phone call I got was not something I would have ever expected.
My step-mother called me, her voice shaking and obviously struggling to keep composed. She's a retired radiologist so she's used to dealing with cancer and cancer-related topics, and how those topics are discussed based on a given prognosis. The way the doctors talked to my parents did not bode well, and she saw the writing on the wall. Among other things, the doctors said they only get a case or two as aggressive as my dad's each year. The following visit they said it had progressed faster than they'd expected. His condition had gone from bad to worse.
But as of a week ago, his latest tests showed his body was responding well to treatment. My father's a fighter, always has been, and he's fighting through this.
No matter how optimistic I try to be, it's still an incredibly dark cloud over my head. Each time I've tried to write a blog post, I keep coming back to this. If I tried to write anything about it, I'd get overly emotional and the words would come out sporadically and anything I was saying would be mostly incoherent. Take the title of this section, There's No Control Like Out of Control. That made perfect sense in my head. Not so much sense on paper. Good thing this isn't paper.
So this is why I've been a bit distanced from everything lately. That's why I haven't been uploading things, or doing much writing. I don't know how to segue to another topic, so here's a stark transition into something else.
Aston Martin Owners Club
I was recently voluntold to become the Florida Area Representative for the Aston Martin Owners Club (AMOC). To help keep things a bit more clearly divided, I'll be hosting all AMOC-related activities that I do over on Redpants Unzipped, though the occasional blog post cross-over may happen. I'm doing this because I am very careful about privacy and not misusing people's information and I don't want people to think that I'm using AMOC info for Redpants sales.
If you're interested in joining AMOC, let me know and I'll be happy to help! I'll be organizing events and getting more activities put together for Florida's AMOC members (open to all AMOC members, of course), testing out a few ideas this year and trying to get things stabilized and consistent for next year. It'll be a lot of work, and I appreciate everyone's support with it so far!
Thanks to Clare handling things, we're now taking pre-orders on things that aren't currently in stock. Parts of particular interest are our Exterior Lighting Packages, Lightweight Lug Nuts, and BC Racing coilovers. Keep in mind that we often do not have an anticipated ship date for these things - delays often happen (re-read that section above about my private parts). But if you want them as quick as possible, pre-ordering is your best bet. Especially for things that are hard for us to keep in stock; pre-ordering may be the only way to get them.