Back in the Land of the Living. Mostly.

Way past time for an update, methinks. Where to start?

This has been the hardest 3 months of my life and while not out of the woods yet, I do feel able to at least string a sentence together. Leaving aside the personal stuff, which I don’t want to go into details about on the internet, the practical difficulties have been enormous.

Yesterday, I finally moved into my new place. I have new transport, new bank account, new paypal account. I have no TV signal and after almost 3 weeks of phone calls and site visits it finally turns out that I can’t get broadband. I’m an idiot. What other online retailer would sign a lease on a place without checking the internet availability first? To be fair though, although it feels remote it’s only 3 miles from Castle Douglas. Unfortunately the telephone exchange isn’t at Castle Douglas…

View from the lounge this morning.

Anyway, satellite broadband has been ordered at vast expense and in the meantime my computer is still at my friend’s place and I’m going back every day or so to check emails etc.

I’m behind schedule. Badly behind. But now that I’m in the new place I can start making some real inroads into the backlog and I’ve just taken delivery of a big fabric order from the US so that’s one less thing to worry about.

The new OookWorkshop. Somewhat more spacious than the last one.

Anyway, on to the good stuff. 99% of customers have been magnificently understanding and I can’t blame the 1% who have been less so.

I also want to say a big thank you to folks who have sent good wishes. I simply haven’t felt up to responding to most of them, and for that I apologise, but you can be sure they were very gratefully received.

Nests have still been shipping and here is some feedback from one of the recent ones:

“Hi Sean
I hope you’re pleased to hear that the 2OookNest is highly appreciated.
It’s cavernous. I’m 182 cm and have ample space, lying or even sitting
on a folded NeoAir…
I still can’t quite believe how small it packs down and how light it is.
I’ve used umpteen tents, but for it’s stability and space this setup’s
incomparably light weight. Utterly incomparable.
We’re impressed. And Oook’ed
So we will be taking the SL3 2OookNest tent (what a name…) on
a 18-20 day trip across the northern scandinavian mountains this autumn.

Cheers for the great job.”

And a cracking little ditty about a groundsheet protector…

“OookWorks groundsheet protector works a treat. Made of silnylon it looks so neat.

Covers the porch and under the inner; I think our Sean is onto a winner.

Extras you get are stuff bag and cord, and sold at a price we all can afford”

And finally as most of you will know, I’ve been shortlisted for TGO magazine Online Outdoor Retailer of the Year 2012. I have very mixed feelings about this. Absolutely thrilled to have been nominated alongside some big respected names, but it’s tinged with sadness because of recent events, and to be honest my customer service has been way below par recently.

I wish it had come at a different time. I have two days to decide whether to attend the awards or not, as I’m not feeling particularly sociable at the moment.

So that’s where we are at the moment. Thanks for reading. Oook.


NOT a tale of woe

This is not a tale of woe. No sympathy required, thank you very much. Pah.

It’s merely to explain my recent radio silence and the practical implications on OookWorks as a result of my life imploding 2 weeks ago. I had to leave my home and workshop and my options were limited in the extreme.

An old friend, nay, a feckin’ angel, came to my rescue and the past week has been spent moving my stuff, getting my new workshop set up, trying to sort a reliable internet connection, sorting and selling gear to raise funds for a car and generally trying to get my head together.

Yesterday I started sewing again and tomorrow I will be shipping an urgent order for someone who is off to the Alps this weekend. And that feels so good. I will not let anybody down. My customers throughout this first 12 months have been fantastic and I’ve worked too bloody hard at this to just let it all go.

Inevitably there will be delays to orders that have already been placed as I’ve pretty much lost 3 weeks of production time. I’m in the process of emailing everyone to point them to this post. They will all be getting a little Oook gift too. Because of my usual long wait times new orders will not be affected.

Ironic that this should happen just as I get multiple mentions in this month’s TGO magazine – thank you Chris. And thank you to several others who have been helpful, patient and supportive.

So there we are. It’s business as usual, if at a temporarily reduced pace. Oook is the word.

Finally a couple of photies. The new OookWorkshop is a kind of bedroom with bathroom above a detached garage in the countryside near Castle Douglas. If I lean my mattress against the wall there is just enough room to assemble the nests :)

There is a wee balcony that looks out over the fields and there are nests of swallow chicks in the eaves, and red kites overhead. So all in all it could all be a lot worse.

Thank you for reading. Hope I didn’t bore you too much.

An update

I haven’t been online much partly because I still haven’t got my own dedicated connection yet and partly because I’m not feeling particularly communicative just now.

But I’m sewing, which is the main thing, and look at this! The very first Oookstar from the new place. A somewhat bittersweet moment, but immensely satisfying because the customer needed it for a trip to the Alps next week and I was concerned at one point that I was going to have to let him down.

Here’s a photo of my buddies in the eaves.

And here’s one of them 2 days later on it’s first outing.

And here’s one of the coos. Which somehow have all turned into sheep this morning. Which kinda freaked me out for a moment.

The modular OookSystem

Roughly 12 months ago I came up with a modular system for Tracksterman comprising a bathtub floor and a separate midge proof net. The idea was that he could use the floor on it’s own and add the net when the wee beasties were about.

It worked well, he was very happy, and I sold a couple more to folk who had seen it on his blog. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with it though, so I didn’t put it on the site and pursued it no further.

Fast forward 12 months and Martin from Summit and Valley sells his Trailstar and buys a Golite SL3. He’d seen the system I’d made for Tracksterman and wanted something similar so it was back to the drawing board.

Rather than attaching to the outer as in the old system, the floor is now self supporting using the same strut system as some of the OookNests and the OookTubs. The net attaches to the floor at the corners using a simple toggle and O-ring and there is another attachment point in the centre of each long side to help achieve good tension.

The net extends about 40cm lower than the tub edge and the idea is that your mat and various bits of kit will hold it in place.

The door has a two way zip so that once you’re inside and all tucked in you can open it from the top to access whatever you’ve just realised you’ve left in the porch.

This modular system will be available across the whole range of OookNests (including the Duomid and Trailstar nests) and will include solid ripstop uppers to allow for different conditions while still using the same floor.

The floor on this one is Chikara PU nylon and weighs 188g. The net weighs 229g

The net to floor attachment system is robust enough to allow the two to be left connected for faster pitching.

From £150
Ta for looking.

7 Steps to happiness – 2OookStar pitching instructions

1. Throw the whole thing behind the pole. There is a bit of red cord attached to one of the groundsheet main seam tieouts. This is the back centre pegging point and helps to get things positioned correctly first time.

2. Attach the 3 main seam back tieouts (starting with the centre one identified by the red cord) to the corresponding pegs on the Trailstar outer. Attach the mid point tieouts at this point too, if you think they’re needed. Adjust until it looks ‘right’ – evenly positioned in relation to the outer.

3. With the 2OookStar still flat, line up the top hole and the bottom hole.

4. Lift the pole and drop the end through both holes into the ground.

5. Grab the cord and lift the whole thing up. Clip the cord to the apex hook in the Trailstar apex and adjust using the linelok until the 2OookStar looks tight.

6. Peg out the two front tieouts.

7. Tighten the drawcords on the OookGussets to keep wee beasties out.

Done :)

35g cuben fibre door screen for the Trailstar

Privacy on those occasional campsite pitches and protection if the wind and rain change direction in the night. Fast and simple to fit and remove, adjustable and only 35g!

Update: There’s been a fair old flurry of interest in these already so I’ll get them on the main site ASAP. In the meantime they are £35 inc UK shipping and if you want one just get in touch.

The new 2OookNest for the SL3

Finally, the first 2OookNest is done. This one will be off to Wales with us this weekend for a bit of product testing. The pictures are pretty self explanatory I think, but it’s basically a two person inner for the Golite SL3 which allows for a decent porch space. It pitches and drops under the outer too, which should make for a more pleasant experience in shite weather.

This particularly one has the heavier 70D PU nylon floor and weighs 730g.

Cost will be around £185 using a 70D PU or 30D silnylon floor and as with all the nests will be available in any combination of mesh and ripstop that takes your fancy.

2OookNest dimensions

Another Custom OookStar*

This one has a different shape to the standard and a smaller footprint. Using a 60cm high ripstop wall and a 30D silnylon floor it weighs 330g. Packed size is tiny.

I’m thinking of offering this as a standard item if there is interest in it. An all mesh version would be lighter still and nice for summer bug protection.

It has the working title of the BartStar* after the customer who came up with the layout idea.