UPDATE - Dec 8th 2015: Plywerk.com is going to continue!
Dec 7th 2015: The following is a letter written by Plywerk CEO and Co-founder, Kjell van Zoen
It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that as of Jan 31st 2016 Plywerk Inc. will be ceasing all operations. We plan to take orders through Sunday December 20th but once those orders have been completed and mailed we’ll be closing down operations and intend to be out of our space by January 31st.
We are talking to some other businesses who may be interested in the name, website, etc. so there is a chance that the products may continue to be sold under someone else’s leadership.
Kim and I started selling her photos mounted on maple panels almost 10 years ago. Since that time we feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to grow that idea from our basement studio into a business occupying 3,000 sq ft, employing over 40 people in the Portland area, and providing over 40,000 Plywerk products to happy customers all over the world.
Photo Credit: Faith Cathcart
We were the first to market with images mounted on bamboo but since 2010 we’ve seen an increasing number of competitors enter the market. This led us to implement lean manufacturing as a way to reduce costs while maintaining (and often increasing) quality.
As competition grew, we managed to differentiate ourselves through superior quality, tip-top customer service, support for artists and photographers, and an unrelenting commitment to a triple-bottom-line (people, planet and profit) operating philosophy, culminating in the writing of our Plywerk Manifesto, published earlier this year. In recent years, we’ve also sought to broaden our reach by developing innovative new products such as Maggie, Stanley and Vinny, focusing on simple design and using sustainable, local woods, with the hopes that a stronger retail presence with these products would give us the sales we needed.
Alas, all these attempts to maintain and grow our market position have not produced the sales needed to sustain positive cash-flow, and after many months of struggling to overcome this reality, the time came for this decision to be made.
Success can be measured in many ways. Kim and I have dedicated the past 10 years of our lives to making Plywerk the success it is, but as any business owner will tell you it’s not an easy journey, and in the end cash is always king. So although I am saddened by the circumstances under which Plywerk is coming to an end, I feel that myself, Kim, and the rest of the Plywerk team gave it our best shot and are all proud of what we achieved.
A big personal thank you to all the employees, customers, vendors, lenders and friends who supported me and Kim in our endeavour.
Should have any further questions or concerns please do feel free to reach out to us.
Kjell van Zoen
PS Should have any further questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to us and we'd be happy to talk with you.