When we spend our hard-earned cash on an expensive product we expect it to be top-notch, right? We work hard, we save hard, and we think very carefully about what we spend our money on. Yet, when the thing you want to invest in is a new invention, a new concept, something that pushes the boundaries of progress when that something is an innovation that adds to our human experience, sometimes we need to show patience and trust, and nurture these ideas, and give them time to develop and grow.

 

At Tentsile, we have been incredibly lucky, because for the past two years our customers have done exactly this. You have been patient and forgiving. Certainly, it is true we brought the Stingray out before it was perfect – yes, we did! We had no choice. With no backers, no help, no advice, all avenues were blocked to us when we started; no one thought this idea would get 'off the ground'; no one took the chance. So we did it ourselves. With your help.

 

Not really knowing much about the tent industry (as we came from treehouse and product design backgrounds ), our early supporters understood that they were buying into a dream that still needed refining, and many of them have acted as our product testers from those early days. And for their support, encouragement and feedback, we still send them upgrades each year as a thank you for believing in us and sticking through the bad stitching days....

Last August, we were finally strong enough to open our own factory and take control of quality and production for ourselves. It took a few months for our new workers to learn how to make top quality tents, but with regular testing, assessment and inspection, we now feel that we are nearly at the top of that mountain.

 

But it has not been a simple task, as this is not just about immaculate stitching. Many of you are used to buying gear from perfect, top-end brand names, who not only have honed their production processes over decades, but who use automated precision machinery to mass-produce their products. Our tents, however, cannot be made like that. Firstly, we couldn't afford those machines, and secondly, our tents are structural; they need to be safe enough to carry you and your children! Crucially, this means our workers need to feel the fabric layers by hand, ensuring the stitching reaches deep into the hidden layers that you cannot see. And these are the bits that do all the work. Every part of our tents is made by hand and put together by a trained team, whose skills are vital for both the safety and the weatherproofing of all our tents. And by the very nature of this tailor-made process, there is sometimes the need to include an asymmetrical stitch (shock horror!) because that is what is required for that particular strap on that particular tent.

 

At Tentsile, we do not see ourselves as a top-end brand. We are not trying to be exclusive. On the contrary, we see ourselves as a small start-up, trying to create new ways for more of your you guys to enjoy the outdoors! We are trying to be inclusive. We are trying to unite in a common goal of getting you up and out, enjoying the world around you. We are not lightweight (yet) or immaculate (yet), but we do aspire to be. And we hope that you can forgive us the growing pains and sit back and enjoy the view that our tree tents can offer, both alone and with friends! So, thank you for continued support. And let’s make a quality camping experience together.

 

May 11, 2015 — Alex Shirley-Smith

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