2014 in review, and a look to 2015

"If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" -- Yogi Berra

This is an idea I borrowed from Chris Guillebeau: look back on the year you just completed to plan for the coming year. It's a chance to figure out what went wrong, what went right, and how to improve.

It is a chance to learn from your mistakes and by examining them, perform better on the next go around.

For RuffArmor, 2014 was a year of challenges and learning.

In early 2014, RuffArmor officially launched. This launch came after a 2013 summer Indiegogo campaign that didn't reach it's goal. I hesitate to call it a "failed campaign," since it had sales. But the skies didn't open up and dump orders on RuffArmor per the inspiring, heart-lifting Kickstarter movies. (More on this later in another post.)

But that didn't stop me. I decided to forge ahead with RuffArmor. Some call that crazy, but I call it tenacity.

Enough people were asking me about these sturdy dog seat covers that I had in my car's backseat.

Enough people I knew had dogs and were struggling with the volatile combo of dog + new car. Somehow I knew this idea called tough dog seat covers would work. 

So, on to the review... 

What went well in 2014? 

  • I made dog seat covers aimed at maxing toughness and durability. After a couple rounds of prototypes and lots of testing, I found one that ended up being the final dog seat cover. (The one that's now in your car's backseat.) 
  • After hundreds of miles and many months of testing, I invented a new installation system that doesn't budge -- and never needs fiddling or tightening down. 
  • Our first order of RuffArmor Dragonskin came in and I danced around it. One year later, RuffArmor has nearly sold all of the seat cover sets from that original order.
  • You found RuffArmor from searching for "dog seat covers" and "covers made in USA." Hooray!
  • You liked what your search found from those keywords and bought RuffArmor. Double hooray! Now your backseat is saved from destruction! 
  • Your response is positive. You guys love the seat covers, how they're made in USA, and how tough they are. 

What didn't go well in 2014? 

  • Not keeping up on The Armory's blog (aka this blog) posts. I didn't want to start a blog and abandon it, yet that's what happened. I'm sorry for the lack of posts; I've learned a lot in the meantime and this will be changing.
  • Getting RuffArmor out for blogger reviews and drumming up attention. 
  • Installation instructions were confusing at times. Sometimes, the install or fit didn't work for your vehicle (like a larger truck). 

What is planned for 2015?

As J.J. Watt says, "Annual reminder that it's not all about how many stars you have or how many cameras show up at your signing. It's what you do next."

No cameras here, but we've got big plans for 2015. So what's in the works?

  • Weekly blog posts to help you choose solid, long-lasting seat covers, behind the scenes posts on RuffArmor, sneak peaks at upcoming new products, and posts to help you and Fido have the best adventures together. Simply put: we want you and your dog to have amazing adventures together on the road. 
  • A new one-piece seat cover. Code name: Targe. This seat cover will be in two sizes: 1) a smaller, more universal size, and 2) a larger size for those big trucks' backseats. But don't fear -- this seat cover will still strap tightly to your seats. And the seat cover will never need any adjusting. Still made from the tough Cordura, but with improvements to make install easier. 
  • Detailed how-to videos on how to install RuffArmor. 
  • Detailed how-to videos on why RuffArmor will always keep your car's backseat looking new (like, testing on our fabric and why it's incredibly tough). 
  • I'm sticking to the grassroots, word-of-mouth method to spread the word about RuffArmor. If you love us, share us with your friends! My focus is on creating the Best Ever Seat Cover for Your Dog. Not on quickly making shoddy products just for the profit. I want your road trips with Hound to be awesome and keep your seats clean and looking new. 
  • A rework of the original Dragonskin seat covers for a slimmer profile and easier install. 

Thanks for all your support and feedback in 2014! 

RuffArmor really would not be here without you. I would not be here without you. You are the reason this business is alive and kicking. If you ever want to chat with me about how RuffArmor works, have questions about install or the material I use, or anything really, feel free to email me. 

And I cannot wait to live out 2015 with you!