The path of bringing a new product to market is rife with obstacles.
From materials and assembly to functionality and feasibility, many items do not make it past the concept stage, much less through beta testing to production.
Cape Union Mart’s dedicated Research & Development team in Cape Town are committed to developing world-class products for their K-Way brand. From trail running to high-altitude mountaineering and polar exploration, K-Way products are thoroughly researched and tested in conditions that range from sweltering summer heat to Antarctic blizzards before making it into production and onto the shelves of Cape Union Mart stores.
Last month, a team made up of Cape Union Mart employees set off to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. With its peak at 5,895 metres above sea level, Kilimanjaro is a high-altitude mountain with the necessary climatic conditions of snow, ice, wind and sub-zero temperatures required to challenge K-Way’s extreme-condition products.
The team of eight, dressed head-to-toe in K-Way gear, spent five days on Kilimanjaro. They hiked through the natural forests and changing vegetation of the steep slopes to the summit. Coming from desks and stores, they got to experience the full capability of the products they bring to market on Africa’s highest peak.
“We often test gear in the cold room at our Canal Walk Adventure Centre, but out there in the elements is where we really know that our products are of superior quality,” says Odile Hufkie, Marketing Manager – Cape Union Mart. She tracked the team’s progress through their day-by-day updates on #TeamKili2016.
The team was led by Ryan Weideman, Outdoor Apparel Buyer for Cape Union Mart.
“We are very serious about gear testing our products in extreme conditions. In testing we assess weight, volume and durability as well as the effectiveness of products in a variety of applications and conditions. We trust our products to perform,” he says.
Weideman wore K-Way Kilimanjaro Boots, putting them on straight-out-of-the-box for this expedition.
“Not one single blister,” he reports.
Employee Benefits Systems Administrator Clive Meyer gives his vote to the K-Way Kilimanjaro Shell Jacket.
“On summit day, it was well below zero degrees and a blizzard hit shortly before we reached the top. The rain just could not penetrate this excellent jacket,” he recalls.
Other team members highlighted products that attributed to their summit successes. Bernadette Wagner, a Data Analyst, relied on her K-Way Compact Trekking Poles for the ascent and descent and appreciated their strength, light weight and collapsible design. Assistant Buyer of Footwear, Geneve van Heerden, notes the K-Way Swan Down Jacket as her Kilimanjaro necessity. Light and warm, it even folds into its own pocket. For Simone Sulcas (Legal Advisor), getting into her K-Way Kilimanjaro II Thermashift Sleeping Bag at the end of a long, icy day was the ultimate reward. It kept her warm even when the temperature dropped to -6°C overnight.
After this high-altitude mountaineering experience, the eight-person team of Ryan Weideman, Bernadette Wagner, Clive Meyer, Simone Sulcas, Geneve van Heerden, Deon Barnard (Cape Union Mart, Irene), Grizelle Grobbelaar (Operations Gauteng) and Warwick Wragg (Cape Union Mart, Constantia) stand whole-heartedly behind the products they bring to market and would again entrust their lives and comfort to K-Way gear.
Cape Union Mart hosts regular Customer Events on Kilimanjaro, presented by K-Way Ambassador Robby Kojetin and Wild Frontiers. Kojetin has climbed and trekked all over the world and has summited six of the seven summits. He has stood on top of Mt Everest as well as nine times on Mt Kilimanjaro. Discover all you need to know about climbing Mt Kilimanjaro through Kojetin’s inspiring and entertaining presentation.
Dates for Kojetin’s talks include:
· Thursday, 5 May 2016, 18h15 for 18h30 at Cape Union Mart, Illanga (Nelspruit)
· Thursday, 2 June 2016, 18h15 for 18h30 at Cape Union Mart, Canal Walk Adventure Centre (Cape Town)
· Wednesday , 8 June 2016, 18h15 for 18h30 at Cape Union Mart, Eastgate Adventure Centre (Johannesburg)
· Thursday , 18 August 2016, 18h15 for 18h30 at Cape Union Mart, Cresta (Johannesburg)
For more dates and Customer Event listings, visit www.capeunionmart.co.za/events. These events are free and booking is essential. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org