How do you set your prices?
- We were (naively) shocked when we turned up to make our first bag and the production rep asked us for our "target price" for construction – it never occurred to us that price would come first. Just, uh... make the best possible bag then see what price you need to charge?
- While we've learned a lot since then, and there are justifiable reasons to have target prices, we still operate with our original mindset: make the best possible gear for the end user (i.e., you), and the price flows from there.
- This obsessive drive for product quality is offset by an obsessive drive for efficiency. For example, we don't have fancy offices – well, tbh we don't have any offices. What does this efficiency mean? It means you pay for the quality, and nothing else.
The Long Version
Minaal started with a catastrophic bag implosion on the Shanghai subway (Doug) and a fun, no honestly really fun, 17-hour stretch on Changi Airport floor with an overflowing 90L hiking pack (Jimmy).
Those formative experiences on the road – and many others – meant we came at this whole thing with a dedication to building gear that won’t slow you down; gear that you can trust to take anywhere, with complete peace of mind.
Because you have more important things to do than worry about your luggage.
Chasing quality as a 'North Star' meant sourcing, and investing in, the best possible components and materials from around the world – pullers from the US and South Korea, precision metal parts from Germany, zippers from Japan, and so on. We did our best to communicate the obsessiveness in our original launch campaign in 2013.
When it came to fulfilling that first Kickstarter, our manufacturing partner – who also work with the world's biggest bag companies – kept asking us for our "target price" for construction, which made sense, because every other company they knew was completely obsessed with price.
So we said: "It doesn't matter – it just has to be the best."*
*As it turns out, this is the sort of attitude that makes accountants turn very pale and pour a stiff drink.
After all was said and done, the original Minaal Carry-on was going to cost $299 to buy. There are a ton of premium options out there now, but it's fair to say that in 2013, the advice we heard loud and clear from friends and strangers alike was: "guys, no-one pays three hundred bucks for a backpack."
So our first product – and indeed this entire company – was founded on a bet that people were willing to pay for quality.
And... they did.
Because our core community were, and are, people like us: carrying thousands of dollars of electronics – our offices, our lives – on our backs, in rugged and uncertain environments. It made no sense to risk that gear with anything less than the best protection, security, and comfort a bag could offer.
That’s how we set our prices.
Now we're 8+ years in, we hear from some folks who would love to use Minaal gear, but the price is a reach for them. So we actively work to maximise accessibility while maintaining uncompromising product standards. For example:
- We run pre-orders on new releases, where people willing to buy in advance get access to lower prices.
- We offer deals for bundles, meaning (eg) two people can team up and get a bag each for less than buying separately.
- We built the Minaal Marketplace, where we help people buy and sell Used and Refurbished bags and accessories, to help keep our products live the longest life possible (here's a twitter thread about that)
- We offer a pay-by-instalment option.
- We ship worldwide, as close to actual cost as possible.
- We eliminate everything unnecessary from the supply chain (sorry Doug, even your Hello Kitty memorabilia hobby), meaning better access to higher quality.
Any questions about prices or accessibility? Send us a message!