It all started with a group of high school buddies prone to camping misadventures realizing they had a canoe and could start a paddling club. Then an invite from an ecommerce platform company led to some brainstorming about what products to sell on a new store. We settled on kayak seats as our focal point as well as the name for our ecommerce store and Comfykayak.com was born. The store opened in October 2010 but our first sale, which was for a Famous Big Back Seat, did not roll in until the 6th of December and by the end of that year we had made six sales. As the business grew, so did our paddling adventures, averaging about a dozen outings per season. As we got to know paddling, we got to know our products and our customers. We quickly expanded beyond kayak seating into paddles, canoe gear and even stand up paddling gear. Our mission? To provide the friendliest and best hands-on service and to match paddlers with the right gear they are looking for at the best price.
2013 was an early high-water mark for us. But thanks to Google's Penguin
update, which favored big box stores over mom-and-pop shops like ours, we spent
the better part of the decade looking to recover from the hit. It took five
years. In the interim, we expanded from our core suppliers: Watersports
Sports, Surf to
Summit, Skwoosh, Sea Eagle and Danuu, adding Accent and Cannon Paddles, Immersion Research
Apparel, Northwater, Watershed Drybags, Boardworks.
What had begun as a drop-shipping operation shifted to a warehousing operation and we began to ship over 60% of our orders from our warehouse in eastern Iowa. A key reason we continue to drop ship orders is that we work with suppliers like Watersports Warehouse, Accent and Immersion Research whose products come with a wide range of options and colors, making it unfeasible for us to inventory every product in every style and color. We ship most of our orders same day or within two business days. But wait times on made-to-order items range from 2-6 weeks (they have been longer during the pandemic of 2020), so we took a risk asking our customers to have patience when patience was required to wait for their made-to-order items. This enabled us to offer a range of products difficult to find elsewhere. More recently, we began carrying products from CreekKooler, Paddle-Buddy, Spring Creek and Trailtopia. And for 2021 we hope to add several new suppliers' products to our catalogue.
The irony of the pandemic of 2020 is that because it was safer to be outdoors than indoors, demand for paddle sports goods was unprecedented. At the same time, supply-chain breakdowns caused an unprecedented interruption in product flow. While most of our catalogue remained available for fast shipping, certain high-demand products were subject to sometimes long backorders. Our thanks go out to all our customers who showed great patience this year. We are nearly back to normal and hopeful that supply chain stability will return in 2021, and more importantly, that the infection rates from covid-19 will fall off and vaccine distribution begins to eradicate this scourge.
As we celebrate ten years in business, we want to thank all of our thousands of customers for your loyalty and support. We also wish to all of those who have worked with us or for us over the course of our first decade in business, including: Eddy, Amanda, Thelma, Brookley, Penelope, Tyler, Dharmamveer, Nitin, Ubaid, Carmelita, Nuuana, Thomas, Allyson and Herb, Michaela, Annie, Stu and Peter, Julie and Teresa, Brandon, Donna and Theresa, Morgan and Karen, Max, Ben and Marian, Grant, Ken, Darrin, Vince, the late Nick Wiltz of Windpaddle, those like Kevin and Bryan who we look forward to working with in the year ahead, and many, many more. It takes a village. Without all of you, we would not have made it to ten years.
Looking toward the decade ahead, we believe paddle sports will continue to be a vibrant and growing pastime and we look forward to being a part of it.