Note: We are excited about the launch of our new shop and I’m passionate to tell you why I believe it’s both fun and critically important to our industry. Our team has been working overtime this weekend bringing you both the news and helping our shop team iron out first day bugs. Due to this passion to share, and in the hopes of giving our editorial team a much deserved Sunday evening rest, I am publishing this unedited. Please excuse any spelling errors or grammatical mistakes… it’s been a long, exhausting and exhilarating weekend here at gCaptain.
By John Konrad, CEO – Just seventy two hours after our Grand Opening of the gCaptain shop we have sold 177 nautical and gCaptain shirts as well as dozens of top quality knives, work gear, gift cards, hats, Women’s clothing and shirts for kids.
But why is gCaptain gCaptain selling merchandise? What does this have to do with the news? Is gCapain cashing in and selling out? How could any of this be important with so much negative news unraveling around the world? The answer is…. it’s highly relevant.
gCaptain was not founded as a news site, it was founded as a platform for mariners and offshore workers – from ordinary seamen to CEOs – around the world to take pride in our profession and improve communication within our industry. For over 10 years gCaptain has stuck to this mission but, as technology changes around us, gCaptain has changed with it. In the early days we had many tools to make the world a smaller place for mariners include our forum, which continues to grow vibrantly, to a social media platform, which was replaced with our Facebook page.
One goal of the gCaptain shop is to encourage professionalism and pride within our industry. Wearing maritime themed shirts or simple shirts that display our trademark anchor tells the world that you are a proud member of an industry which supplies the world with fuel and transports over 90% of everything.
But the other goal of the shop is to help us change with the times. Our industry changes at a far slower pace than technology and, as such, the news section of our site (which you are reading now) has stayed pretty much the same these past ten years. Also unchanged are the ads that you see on this site. Ads that showcase great products and services which are a benefit to our industry. Ads which pay our journalists and allow us to offer important news to you free of charge.
For the last ten years our industry hasn’t changed much with one big exception. Part of the reason we cover both offshore and maritime news is that I worked aboard Drillships for many years and know both industries. A more important reason is that these industries are, financially, highly volatile and inversely proportional to each-other. This means that each suffers from deep economic lows (and highs) but at different times. Historically, when oil is cheap manufacturers save money and produce more goods which boosts shipping. And when oil is expensive, the offshore industry profits while manufacturing (and the ships that transport raw material and products) suffer. Today we are in an unusual period where – do to overbuilding of both rigs and ships – both shipping and offshore oil are suffering. This has happened before but this is the first time in memory that it has happened with interest rates at historic lows.
While many of our advertisers cut budgets and laid off countless workers gCaptain has weathered the storm because our advertising works. Being an online publication means that we can track sales for our clients and show them, at a granular level, the effectiveness of our ads. Our advertisers – which can be hard to acquire – are happy and most have stuck with us for many years. Regardless of our effectiveness, however, advertising budgets are strained this year and our sales staff is working twice as hard to keep us profitable.
Yet, while we have battened down the hatches and reduced costs we have stubbornly refused to cut our journalistic standards. Today we publish the same quality news we have for a decade. But this is not enough. Not for me at least. The number of maritime news events worldwide has grown in recent years while most of the leading maritime news organizations stuck to paper for too long and have floundered leaving a troublesome gap in the news. This is compounded by the fact that big media outlets continue to do a poor job in reporting maritime new.
This is a gap could be easily closed by a small cadre of dedicated journalists…. and we want to hire those journalists but quality journalism is not cheap.
So the gCaptain shop is about a lot of things. It’s about offering quality merchandise and helping mariners display professional pride but, more importantly, it’s about diversifying gCaptain’s revenue stream so that we can fund higher quality journalism.
As mentioned, the shop is off to an amazing start and the shirts and merchandise are selling like hotcakes but today is only the beginning. Can the excitement of our Grand Opening sale last? We think so because our goal with the store is the same as our website… to offer the best quality product available online. And we are backing up our quality with a 100%, no questions asked, guarantee. We are also offering large discounts to students, teachers and military so that everyone has access to our products. And we are making sure to have fun which boosts creativety and allows us to develop and publishing new designs each week.
In short we believe that quality and customer service – along with new shirt designs published every week – will extend the excitement for a long time to come and help us fund our top priority… bringing you the best maritime and offshore news possible.
Thank you for reading this long article and thank you for your support of gCaptain. Here are the best selling items since our grand opening. We hope you enjoy your new purchase as much as we enjoyed making it.
The Best Selling gCaptain Merch
The Designs Launched Today
P.S. There’s one more reason we launch the shop…. your feedback. Every week we receive dozens of emails and messages asking about gCaptain logo gear and this summer Jack took notice. Jack is my son. He is 11 and loves the ocean as much as we do. When spring arrived this year he asked me continually why gCaptain doesn’t offer “Merch” and why we don’t listen to your requests to build a storefront. I didn’t have a great answer for him but I did give him a challenge… if he came to the office with me after school let out this summer we could work on building a store together. And he did! He even designed two of our most popular shirts (RAM Baseball and I Can Knot)!
P.S.2. We also want to thank or cadre of nearly two dozen volunteers, beta testers and advisors who helped guide us along this new venture.