Well...we finally did it. After a lot of conversations and deliberation, we finally launched a Patreon campaign and opened up the swag shop on the website. It sounds super lame to say, “people have been asking us to do this….” but I don't know any other way to describe it. There have been several requests for ways to support the show financially and people have asked how they can get some branded swag, so we did it.
When this ride started 7 years ago, I didn’t know where it was headed. When the show started almost 6 years ago, I was certain that I would be talking into a microphone and only my Mom would be listening on the other end. Thanks, Mom. I think part of the reluctance to do the shop and the Patreon account was this internal struggle to really believe that what we do every week is valuable enough for people to shell out their hard-earned cash to support our shenanigans or walk around with our logo on a shirt. Clearly, I was wrong.
As I write this, less than 24 hours after publishing the Patreon account, we already have people signing up to join the Trailchasers Support Team (TST). I am truly humbled. We put together what I think is a great benefit package to insure that there is a real value there for the TST:
We will mention our supporters on the show
Two exclusive Patreon Only Stickers
An exclusive Patreon Only Shirt (After 3 months)
Access to our Patreon Only Forum Page (on the website and/or the native Patreon app)
Access to trail maps for any of the trails we have available
Early access to Trailchasers Expedition Registration
Discounted pricing for all Trailchasers Expeditions
10% discount on the Trailchasers Shop
Exclusive Patreon Only Camp-outs or Meet-ups
We will be scheduling overnight camp outs or meet-ups that only Patreon supporters will be invited to. The trip may-or-may-not include offroading, but it will definitely include shenanigans!
Partner Discounts and Drawings
We are working with our partners to develop discount codes and monthly raffles. As these become available, you will be able to gain access to the codes and be included in the drawings for give away items. We will be updating the website as we get access to new discount codes from our partners.
Companies that have committed to participating so far (subject to change)
Outer Limit Supply
I am personally most excited about the Trailchasers Expeditions (TCX) and Camp-outs. I really love the opportunity to hang out with everyone and this will encourage us to get more events on the calendar. Not only for the supporters, but for us too. I don’t know about you, but I can feel my sanity slipping away the longer it has been since my last trip. The daily grind has a way of grinding us down and the best way for me to recharge is to hit the dirt, especially if my girls are with me when I go. The TCX trips are always fun, but we only do 4 of them each year because they are a lot of work. The idea for the camp-outs and meetups came from our desire to get together with people and our families to share the campfire even when we didn’t have the time or energy to make it a 3 day trip. I am envisioning more local camp-outs to places that may-or-may-not include offroading. An overnight stay near the beach, a yellow post site in Big Bear, or a local RV park in Lytle Creek. We can get out there, share stories around the fire, and sleep under the stars. I definitely need more of that in my life.
The guys and I went back-and-forth with several iterations of the Patreon account. We had 3 tiers, then 5 tiers, then back to 3 tiers, until we eventually ended up launching a single tier campaign. Primarily, to keep it simple. I have already received some very constructive feedback from one of our long-time listeners (you know who you are and thank you very much) and I really think it will shape the inevitable evolution of the Patreon account. As will the continued conversations we will have with people in the future. Our goal is for the Patreon support to do the following:
First and foremost: Provide value to those that join the Trailchasers Support Team through the benefits we offer directly and the benefits offered by our supporting partner companies.
Second: Drive meaningful opportunities for us to connect with people in a more intimate and consistent way through events and interactions.
Third: Create opportunities that will turn into more relevant, engaging, and fun content that we can share with the community on the show.
We have already had orders on the shop and again, all I can say is thank you. We’ve talked about this...I am a logo nerd. I can sit and design t-shirts with random variations on our logo all day long. Just ask my wife. I can’t tell you how many times I have spun my laptop around and said, “What do you think of this?” To her credit, she always says something supportive even though I know she wants to roll her eyes far enough into the back of her head to make her pass out so she doesn’t have to listen to me babble about the slight adjustment I made on this design to set it apart from the last design even though we both know I am the only one in the word that will ever notice the difference. If I had known graphic design was a thing back in my 20’s, I definitely would not have ended up in air conditioning. Most of the designs on the shop are the result of me tinkering with ideas until I get something that makes me think, “I would wear a shirt with that logo on it.” I am sure we will continue to add new products and designs on the shop as we go forward. I hope you find something you like enough to wear on the shop too. If not, tell me what you want and I’ll try to make it. Maybe I will buy your design too!
To all of you that have shown support through the years, to all of you that have already signed up for the TST or bought swag, and to all of you that are just discovering the show and are joining our community, I would like to say, THANK YOU! We have had such a great ride so far and I am looking towards 2022 with the same anticipation as a kid that’s been good all year, waiting for Christmas to come. You and I both know that I haven’t been that good this year, but I am still really excited about the things on the horizon. No matter what happens, we will continue to try to see you out on the trails and make you laugh whenever you put us in your ear holes. That I can promise!
We appreciate you.