In 1989, on a visit to Costa Rica, we first saw the concept of the chair hammock and were immediately intrigued. The Costa Rican chairs were woven with a thick gauge cotton twine, and configured to perform just as a chair.
We bought a couple of samples and took them to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, where we had already established business with a number of hammock weavers. Everyone we showed our chairs to was quite dismissive of the whole concept, never having seen anything like it. The conservative nature of the weavers meant that we faced an uphill battle of persuasion.
However, we persisted, and eventually found a family of weavers who were prepared to experiment.
We increased the length of the net, so that it was long enough to accommodate the entire body - giving support from head to toe, as in a traditional hammock. Also, we started using nylon thread in place of the traditional cotton, both for increased strength and weather resistance.
Fifteen years on from the initial conception of our version of the chair hammock, the style has become ubiquitous throughout the Yucatan, and indeed, most of Mexico. Now, there is not a hammock manufacturer in Yucatan that does not offer their own version of the chair hammock as part of their range - and of varying quality.
Back in 1989, armed with our first shipment of samples, we manufactured some harness bars once back in Canada. The quality of hardwood dowel available here is far superior to anything available in Mexico.
We started booking space at various Boat Shows, Garden Shows, Craft Fairs etc., and we soon realized that we had a VERY popular item, since virtually everyone who sat in our chair commented on the weightless feeling of comfort they experienced - both sitting or fully reclining.
Our business was expanding, and in 1995, we opened our first permanent 'Little Shop of Hammocks' on Granville Island in the heart of Vancouver, and three years later we expanded into our present location on Duranleau Street, in the Maritime Market section of Granville Island. We have increased our range of hammocks to include the more ornate cotton hammocks from Nicaragua, Brazil, and Colombia as well as various child size and doll size hammocks, but our original Hang Out chair hammock is still our biggest seller by far, accounting for over 80% of our sales.
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