Blue Moon & Mail Chimp

Are you one that likes being at the front of the line? Well, here’s your chance. On most pages of this website, as well as the Blue Moon Kites Facebook page, you’ll find a link that says “Join BMK’s email list”. List members have a place reserved at the front of the line for new kites and accessories. Before it’s posted or announced anywhere else, you’ll know when and where first.

I promise not to flood your inbox. Most of the time, you’ll get one, maybe two emails a month from BMK. Our email list is hosted and managed by the good folks at Mail Chimp, who use world class systems and procedures to protect you privacy and security. I hope you’ll join us!

Blue Moon Kites 2.0

As you can see, I’ve returned to using Blue Moon Kites as my business name. I just wanted to take a minute and give you an idea of what’s going on.

I did business as Blue Moon Kites (BMK) from 1999-2012. I shuttered BMK in the spring of 2012. I pulled the plug because the business hadn’t been viable for a couple years. It became a game of propping it up by doing “limited edition” kite runs, which usually sold to the same handful of friends and regulars. Between these mini-boom periods were long months of barely getting by. It got to the point where even the specials and discounts weren’t enough to sustain a failed business.

Perhaps even more critical was the fact that I felt myself “phoning it in” for the last several years, having lost the passion for something that I’d once enjoyed as much as anything I’d done. The new century had brought changes to the sport kite hobby. It went from being social and inclusive, with teams and pairs, and open festivals and competitions, to being about solo flying and technical tricks. I found myself at a point where I no longer had the flying skills to develop new designs at that “cutting edge.” More importantly, I didn’t want to. Time to make a new plan.

After closing BMK, I took some time off to figure out what to do next. Since day one in kiting, the “hobby” part, for me, was designing an occasional single liner to keep the creative spark alive. In 2013, the hobby became a my primary focus, and I devoted myself to the art of single line kites.  There have been, honestly, as many failures as victories with new designs, but, I must say that the last few years have been some of my most challenging, rewarding, and fun times in kiting.

So, why Blue Moon Kites, again? Simply, it just feels right, like coming home at the end of the day and slipping on that faded old blue shirt. The sting of closing the business in 2012 has softened, and the new direction has finally put me in a pretty good place. I’m more optimistic and focused than I’ve been in a long time. The designs are starting to come again, after a long dry spell. Plus, isn’t “Blue Moon Kites”(and Moonie) just more comfortable and fun than kmacfab? 😉

I’ll still be using Ken McNeill Fab as the “back end” of things. Credit card receipts, etc. will say Ken McNeill Fab.  I’ll also be using that name for “outside” work, but more on that later…

I’m feeling more secure already…

I’ve made a small upgrade to the site by adding an SSL certificate. You should notice that the site address at the top of your browser now starts with HTTPS instead of the old HTTP.  An SSL certificate encrypts the connection between a website and the visitors’ browser so hackers can’t intercept and steal personal information. Although we don’t collect credit card information, we do save passwords and other personal information on our server.

If you have your own website, or manage one, check out Let’s Encrypt. They’re a non-profit provider of SSL certificates. Quick, painless, and free! Your hosting company may even offer their service as part of your package.

Online shopping? Check ✓

MailChimp and WooCommerce
MailChimp and WooCommerce. Working together to drag me, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century!

You may have noticed a few changes on these pages. While the site has undergone a total rebuild, on a new platform and a new host, there is one exciting change you may have not yet noticed.

I’m entering the world of online ordering! If you hover your cursor over “ordering” on the menu bar, you’ll see a link to the shop. Here you’ll (soon) find a small selection of in-stock kites and accessories. The shop pages are very much “under construction”. No specs, prices, or any other information should yet be taken as fact. I’m still learning the system, and expect the shopping pages to go live around the end of May.

The way I see this working is pretty simple. I’ll spend a couple weeks a month building kites for shop stock and post it all as a group once a month. So, you ask, “how will I know when new kites are being added to the shop?” Well, the best way is to sign up for my email list. You’ll find a signup form on most site pages, as well as my Facebook page. List members will get a heads up before new kites are posted, along with details when possible.

Continue reading “Online shopping? Check ✓”

Moonie stops by for a visit

You might have noticed from the site header that my old friend Moonie has once again graced us with his presence. After a self-imposed exile to Costa Rica, Moonie showed up at 3 AM a couple of days ago with a case of good beer and a stack of Warren Zevon cassette tapes. He was mumbling something under his breath about kites and politics and how you just can’t find good grits in Central America. The only cassette player is in my old truck, so we sat out in the driveway until dawn drinking his beer, telling lies and making big plans. I think we woke up the lady next door blasting Lawyers, Guns, and Money. We finished off the beer listening to Don’t Let Us Get Sick just as the sun came up over Hibriten mountain.

It’s sure good to see Moonie again. Don’t know how long he’s staying, but he’s welcome as long as he doesn’t tick off Holly, and brings by beer once in a while. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, he says it’s OK that the gig’s not named after him anymore.

edit – 27 Aug 2017
In retrospect, Moonie may be a little more upset about the name of the business than he let on. I’ve been hearing him mumble down low something about “You’d be nothin’ without me kid.”  What is that lunatic up to?

BMK parts and specs

I’ve had several requests for parts and specifications for the stunt kites I made under the Blue Moon Kites banner.  With the exception of the Mamba, I no longer stock parts, nor have the measurements/specs for these kites, including bridles.

The best thing to do is the same I’ve done, and that is to look the info up on the Internet Archive / Wayback Machine.  Go to the archived BMK site and select support>parts>”your kite” from the site menu.

For parts, I’d suggest you contact Jon & Marieanne Trennepohl at Kites & Fun Things / Sky Burner Kites.  They are extremely helpful and knowledgeable.  Most of the replaceable parts on the BMK kites were originally purchased from them.

Adios to the Mamba

Mamba-JohnChileseEnd of the day May 23rd brought an end to new orders for the Mamba. This closes the chapter on my longest-running sport kite. It also closes the chapter, for me, on dual line delta sport kites. Those that know me, know that I almost never say never, but I can say with certainty that there will not be another dual line kite from me, at least not in the form that’s been such a large part of my work and personal life for the last 25 years. It’s time for me to hitch up my big-boy pants and move forward.

To those that contacted me and added a custom Mamba to the final build list, thank you! If we haven’t fleshed out the details already, I’ll be in touch over the next few days.

Continue reading “Adios to the Mamba”

OK, where’s the colorizer?

Short answer- sorry, there isn’t one.

Longer version – I’m not publishing a colorizer for the kites.  I know, for some people, it’s a good tool to help visualize color combinations.  I prefer to be involved in the process of coming up with custom color combinations for those so inclined.

My eventual goal is to build the majority of my kites on spec, vs. building everything to order.  I want to continue to take commissions for custom kite colors, but plan to be more hands-on (and perhaps more restrictive) about the way kites look when they leave my studio.  Simply put, I have a way that I’d like for my kites to look.

Continue reading “OK, where’s the colorizer?”