Road show during the pandemic in 2020Share on Facebook
In this article, we'll tell a little about our Roadshow in 2020, which didn’t really go as planned thanks to the plague. And also a few words about this year’s plans.
When we started planning the next year's Road Show in the fall of 2019, we didn’t really take into consideration a global pandemic, meteor strikes, alien invasions, or super tsunamis while sitting in our apocalypse bunker. The Covid situation was quite good in February, so our first pitstop at GoExpo in Helsinki wasn’t affected. However, things got quite bad after that, and in March we decided that it would be safer to cancel the Road Shows of the spring and the summer.
Even though the container was stuck at our parking lot and was not going to move any time soon, we didn’t rest on our laurels. The container had served us well but it could always be improved. We re-decorated the whole thing, bought a new register, and even added a wooden wall. And it turned out super neat! In the fall, the Covid situation improved, so we packed masks, disinfection spray and wipes, as well as some hand sanitizer and hit the road.
Not surprisingly the market squares around Finland were quite a lot emptier than usually, yet we were still able to pull it off without losses. Our customers are one tough bunch. During the biggest storm, we happened to be in the beautiful and colorful city of Kouvola. Despite heavy rain and wind, 36 people battled the hostile nature and harsh conditions just to shop at our container. The only pit stop we ditched was Vaasa because it got hit quite hard by the Covid at the time.
The year in a nutshell: 4,300 Kilometers in 10 cities with 13 employees. We sold stuff for a bit over €100,000 and printed 3,571 receipts. The most sold items were Särmä Assault packs, Scho-Ka-Kola, and Särmä TST L1 Balaclavas.
Road Show: What? Why?
If you have survived this far but kept wondering what the hell are they talking about, it is about our pop-up shop that tours in Finland. The idea of the container shop was born out of a student project, where local students wanted to sell our gear at a shopping mall. That went quite nicely and our gang thought that maybe we could try to do something similar with our own crew in another city. We deployed the container prototype in the midst of winter at the Tammela market square in the city of Tampere. Naturally without heaters or anything that would have made the life of the workers comfortable. Nevertheless, the trip was such a success that we bought a proper container and modified it with 8,000 euros to turn it into a proper shop.
Now, a few years later we have toured around Finland with around 60 pit stops at markets, festivals, and other events. One could say that seeing our container shop around is not a surprise anymore.
The concept is pretty simple. The container arrives at the destination followed by our gang. They plug it in, open the doors, and in about five minutes the customers can browse our wares. After a few days of drink... customer service, we unplug the electricity, pack up the stuff, and take the next train back to Helsinki. The container follows. After getting back to our parking lot, the container is refilled, cleaned, and maintained if needed. Then it is good to raid the next city.
Because the selection of the container shop is quite a lot smaller than at our store, we compensate it a bit by offering our customers free shipping when they order stuff through the container shop. When the stars are right, people ordering stuff on Thursday have gotten their new gear by Saturday. Since buying stuff blindly isn’t always ideal, we bring along some of our latest products in various sizes for people to try them on.Many of our customers do live quite far from our store, so the container shop is a really nice way to give them the proper Varusteleka experience at their home towns or at least a bit closer. It is a quite nice addition to the other stuff we do, like our Sotima bar, our own festival called Leka Fest, and the Finnish Brutality/Winter Brutality shooting contests.
How about 2021?
If the world doesn’t get hit by asteroids, WWIII, or a new plague, and the Covid situation doesn’t escalate, it appears that we will hit the road again this year. We will update the list of the pit stops on our Events page. We will also put additional information in our Popaganda letters sent to our regular customers, i.e. Regular Pigs. If you are not a Regular Pig yet, you can join here and subscribe to the Propaganda letter there.