We're back!

Gerard Vroomen 21. Mar ’24 General

It seemed like a good idea

In mid-2023, we decided we needed a new website. The old one was - well - pretty old, and more importantly, there were big changes coming at the payment service provider (PSP) that handled our webstore payments and as a result, we needed to change to a new PSP.

We figured, why not do both at the same time instead of first integrating the new payment system on the old site and then doing it again on the new site. 

We found an agency that had done some nice websites for friends of ours (a company we did a collaboration with in the past) and their initial proposals looked good, so off we went.

Crashing in slow-motion

Fairly soon however we got worried, as they were focusing a lot on the looks, and we were more interested in the functionality. For us, the goal is always to focus our time on what is most important, and try to avoid mundane tasks. 

For the new webstore, this means making sure pricing and inventory levels are pulled correctly from our accounting/ERP system and making the store also works well for our retailers (so they can order without needing our involvement - important for our Relentless Simplicity in order to stay small)


I'll spare you the details, but by mid-December, after raising the flag countless times, the site looked nice (according to some anyway) but in the background, it was a mess. But we had no choice, the old site would seize to have any functioning webstore by January 1, so we launched.

As you may have noticed if you have visited the site in the past few months, it was a disaster (in a luxury problem kind of way). Errors in the dealer locator, a sputtering product registration, wrong pricing in the store, broken links in the blogs that got transferred (they changed "updates" to "blogs" but despite us urging them several times, they didn't forward old URLs to the new ones so many internal and external links were broken - goodbye to 12 years of building up a ranking in search).

On top of all that, it wasn't really possible to publish blog posts or send out newsletters anymore. Our old site may have been ugly, but it was a dream for Relentless simplicity. The blog editor was simple, we could do everything ourselves, and when we published a new blog, a newsletter would be automatically generated to inform you about it.

Granted, the newsletter was ugly, but most of our customers seemed to understand we spend our time on the bikes, not the newsletter, and are OK with that.

The long road to recovery

Anyway, some things we fixed quickly, others had to wait a bit. In the end, we said goodbye to the agency, did an in-depth search for a new one and really looked at the root causes instead of just sticking on bandaids. And my goodness, the root causes were even worse than expected. So we are in the process of setting up the whole site structure again, and you'll see improvements in how the site works in the next months.

One of the first things we got fixed with the new agency is the ability to write blogs, and so here is the first one. There will be many blogs following shortly, as we have a lot to talk about. There are a ton of Bikes of the Month waiting to be published, we finally have some events happening, and there is one more thing: OPEN_12.5. 

OPEN 12.5?

A small explanation now, and then much more later. In the Netherlands, people celebrate being married 12 1/2 years. I found out this doesn't happen in most other places in the world like Switzerland or Canada, but if you celebrate it too, let me know). 

I think it's just that 25 years is a significant milestone, so they decided half of that is pretty good too. 25 years is Silver, 12 1/2 years is Bronze. and yes, 50 years is Gold.

There is a nice little side effect to celebrating 12 1/2 years. If you got married in winter (as was the case for my wife and I), then every anniversary is logically also in winter. But the 12 1/2  years is in summer, so a great chance to throw a nice party. 

You probably realize where this is going - we founded OPEN on January 13, 2012 (yes, a Friday!) Hence the photos in this blog, which are from our start-up phase.


Can we talk about bikes again please?

Of course, having a company is a little bit like being married. In parallel, Andy and I have been discussing changing how we operate OPEN quite drastically, and we were calling that OPEN_2.0. Until one day I realized we were coming up to 12.5 years in business, and so I thought we should call it OPEN_12.5 instead of OPEN_2.0. 

What does this mean? Well, it means that in the coming months, our new way of working will slowly come into effect. This involves how we offer framesets & complete bikes, more options to test ride, some really nice long-term collaborations on apparel, even some special places for cycling vacations. 

It also means there is a nice party coming up for 12 1/2  years of OPEN. We're working on a virtual party on the exact date (July 13, 2024, a Saturday) and then a real party a little later, as we figured many of you/us would already have vacation plans for July 13. 

Enough for now

Anyway, it's good to be back in touch with all of you, please leave your comments below and apologies for the cumbersome way in which the comments section works right now. That's also on the list to get fixed.

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24 Jun 2024

Great that you are back! I (as OPEN fan) was waiting for that :)

4 Jun 2024

Hi! Nachdem kein newsletter mehr kam, ging ich davon aus, daß es auch nichts Neues gab.....allerdings war ich schon ziemlich erstaunt... Natürlich hatte ich festgestellt, daß die Seite neu gestaltet wird, vor allem fielen mir meine fehlenden Räder in der "Vitrine" auf.... Jedenfalls meld´ ich mich jetzt nochmal für den newsletter an und ich bin gespannt auf Open 12.5 bzw Open 2.0. Und: Ein Live-Event fänd´ ich toll, ich würd´mich sogar auf den Weg machen....

30 May 2024

Great to read again one of your blog! Especially with the "little" teaser included, looking forward to seeing what you mean by "OPEN 12.5". I thought last night "wow, it's been really long since I last received a newsletter, what's going on?" and now I've got my answer. Hope everything goes much smoother with the new agency. Do we need to subscribe again to the newsletter? I guess we do, as I wasn't notified about this article when it was published? Keep up the great work, I've got my Upper since end of 2017 and still love riding it, even though I've been considering a switch towards the Wide lately, just waiting for a 1x12 GRX Di2 from Shimano... unless you happen to come up with a new bike?

Dan Goddard
22 May 2024

Good to have you back!

Raino Zoller
13 May 2024

I miss your guys newsletters! Excited to hear about Open 12.5!