Let's take a quick look back, to better glimpse into the future
On March 9th, I published this article.
The Connex had just reached 1,000 members and had processed over 150 orders for grassroot brands from Europe.
It was growing fast.
Day in, day out, I was working the morning shits from 4AM to 8AM trying to keep up with the massive support the community has put behind the Connex.
Things have exploded, literally - for good & bad.
We fixed. Here's the story.
We're growing fast
In the last 4 weeks alone, the Connex underwent another massive growth stage:
- We are closing in to 2,000 members.
- We have processed over 500x Factory Direct Orders
- We have 300 new E46 M3 members and 1,000 E9X M3 members.
Major Brands are taking notice
A motivational driver in building out the EuroConnex.co community back in February was our common desire to be recognized by major brands. I laid it all out when I launched EuroConnex here.
Major Brands simply will not trust forum members hiding between a username to handle their brands as they see fit and discount products publicly.
EuroConnex solved many of these issues.
As a branded, social buying community, access to the community is on a members-only, manually approved basis. Prices are private and brands can trust the Connex.
Some members were reluctant to initially get an account. Transparency matters to the Connex: I wrote out a detailed blog post explaining Why you need an account.
Team Schirmer Parts GmbH
I've always wanted to bring value to the community big time. In March, the Connex onboarded major brands such as Team Schirmer Parts GmbH.
You can read more about how we managed this here.
Team Schirmer agreed to do an offering on their Special Edition BBS E88 wheels. Their wheels are one of a kind and truly an amazing value for the Global BMW M Community.
This Group Buy made a lot of noise, as I detailed here. We managed to gather 15 members wanting a set - a great success.
This has prompted the Connex community & Team Schirmer Parts to expand on our partnership. The 2nd batch will be expanded with more suspension components to complement the BBS E88s.
We're developing Exclusive Products
I envision the Connex community leveraging its strength in numbers by partnering up with manufacturers and brands to develop Exclusive Products for the community.
OEM+ M359 19x10 & 19x11 by AG Wheels
The 1st of these product development has been with AG Wheels. You can read on the backstory to developing the OEM+ M359 wheels in a staggered 19x10 and 19x11 configuration here. It is now being invoiced for production.
E46 CSL Diffuser & E9X Front Carbon Air Intake Kit
The 2nd of these product development has been with CarboProject GmbH. René @ CarboProject is expanding upon the success of the Carbon Fiber Plenum - a worthy upgrade to the S65.
I wrote the backstory to CarboProject GmbH as we released the CSL Diffuser for the E46 community. They had question about his background and credibility - they were all answered here.
E9X M3 M Performance Style Carbon Fiber Replacement Mirror Caps
In March, I finally received the test set of the exclusive product development by Karbonius Composites. You can read more about the community requests for the product development here.
The 1st batch of 25x sets is now wrapping up production and will be delivered to members worlwide. The 2nd batch is set to open soon.
I'm grateful to the community for their input and support on these crazy ideas and innovative product developments.
There are a lot more to come. Don't hesitate to reach out and suggest new products.
We're bringing back Legendary Products
Many legendary products of yesteryears for the E series cars have long been discontinued. The market changes, and manufacturers often focus on the latest & greatest: they need to survive.
Sometimes, the past were subjectively better days - it's a big reason why we own these E series M cars.
This is why I connected with Imran @ Evolve Automotive. We came together and decided to bring back the legendary E-Tronic exhaust systems for the E9X M3 & E60 M5. You can read more about it here.
I am working on bringing more discontinued products back with major manufacturers and brands.
We're helping more Enthusiast Brands
I ended up chatting with Chris - bought his armrest without telling him. I received and installed it: it's a beautiful OEM like piece. That's when I decided to formally reach out for the Connex.
We ended up chatting for hours about cars and 5 minutes about doing this Connex.
CarbonExpress is an enthusiast brand owned by fellow Connex member and friend Gordon.M3 - a long time BMW E9X M3 owner from Toronto, Canada. Gordon was the first owner to call me way back in 2020 to chat about group buys and rare parts.
The community supports him as he sources pre-preg carbon fiber components for the Connex in Asia - avoiding the usual pitfalls of Alibaba gambling.
The Connex is a grassroots community: I will always have a thing for helping enthusiast owned one man businesses put their carefully developed products out in the market.
Thanks to the support of Ian @ NAM3forum.net and admins of multiple E46 M3 groups - the Connex has been growing organically in E46 communities.
We are now up to 300 E46 members and will be expanding the Connex' Curated Specials & Group Buys for the E46 communities throughout this Spring.
Growth is painful
I realize the Connex is based on the relationships I personally have with the members of the community and its supportive brands.
Unfortunately, the massive growth in March and April had me managing operations far more than relationships building.
Operations broke at seam.
I had to get off the throttle and coast.
My time was limited
As I detailed in previous posts, I was running EuroConnex part time from 4AM to 8AM.
My time was limited. I needed helped.
My focus was on working with brands to adequately communicate lead times, coordinate payments and validate deliveries & installation trouble shootings.
I even had to reach out to friends in the Consulting industry to help out a friend - I needed it! I'm grateful to my supporting group of friends and members that have helped manage the growing paints.
We spent countless hours and sleepless nights building automations between spreadsheets and EuroConnex.co to efficiently manage orders.
As of April 13th, I have freed up more time in my schedule and withdrew from some work commitments to dedicate more time to building out the Connex community.
This was a great learning experience and we're now setting up the foundations to sustain what we feel like will be a major growth stage of EuroConnex.
Let's see how far we can take this together.
A Glimpse Into The Near Future
This is the playbook for the next 90 days.
More Products, More Brands
I am actively working with current & new brands to expand the curated product selection of the Connex for the E series BMW M Chassis.
The more we are, the more value we can create for the community. I am in touch with admins and owners of BMW M groups & pages to expand the Connex Community.
I have dedicated time to copywriting brand backstories and product articles to provide insights into what can often be perceived as an opaque industry. This will continue - with new twists.
Content is about quantity and quality.
I have spent considerable time honing my photography & videography skills in the last few weeks as I seek to improve the quality of content on EuroConnex. These support the numerous articles I have been writing for the Connex.
Yet one man can only do so much. Community generated content is foundational to the growth of EuroConnex.
Here's what I have in mind.
Standardized & Enhanced Do-It-Yourself Articles
DIYs are useful, and needed. Yet it is my personal experience and that of many Connex members that the current forms of DIYs leave a lot to be desired.
They lack instructions, tool lists and often feature low quality photos and videos leaving us frustrated, spending more on tools than we expected and ultimately taking 12 hours to do a brake job or change out the damn fuel breather valves.
It sucks. It's painful. It's expensive.
I want to fix this.
The community strives by its most daring members pushing the boundaries of what we thought was possible on our M chassis.
It's my personal experience that the best projects are often led by engineering focus individuals. Yet these members are often left to fend for themselves when it comes to creating and distributing their content.
There are some amazing builds that go unnoticed because of this, or worse, builds that simply never see the light of day because builders can't get the parts they need at the prices they can afford to make their builds happen.
I want to fix this.
A Better Social Buying Experience
Ultimately, we get together to share our passions for BMW M cars and find value for our individual build. The experience of buying parts can always be approved.
As the Connex has grown and demand for products has drastically increased, some brands have had issues with keeping up due to intermittent lockdowns due to covid.
Issues, delays and mistakes happen, what matters is for brands to do the right thing.
The power of the community is supporting me in negotiates with brands to offers a Connex Guarantee. If the product doesn't fit, arrives damaged or is delayed outside of the initially agreed timeline - you get our money back.
Factory Direct Payments 2.0
As of today, members ordered on EuroConnex and invoices are then issued outside of the social buying platform directly to you.
It's efficient, but not quite enough.
I am working on integrating technologies that will allow Connex members to checkout and complete payments on the community website. Funds will be sent directly to brands.
I am still not processing payments. I don't want to. It's expensive - we'd all pay more.
The Factory Direct Payments 2.0 roll-out is planned for May and will be supported by a new vendor dashboard connected to your individual Connex Account.
In short: brands will be able to automatically issue order status updates, tracking numbers and maybe handle returns, exchanges and refunds from your Connex Account.
I will have complete sight on all orders and payments. This will reduce back and forth between you, myself and brands - resulting in more efficiencies.
Efficiency is value. It's what we're here for.
Loyalty - a rare thing these days, but it's different here.
Connex Points: rewarding you for creating value for the community.
What the rewards will be? I have a few ideas, I am working on it.
I have been chatting with early members of EuroConnex on a new layer to creating value for the community.
Negotiations are going on behind the scene with major BMW distributors and retailers to establish partnerships with the Connex.
The goal is to create multiple membership packages to EuroConnex that would grant valuable benefits to the community.
What does it mean? I'm not entirely sure yet - the first version is shaping up to look like this:
- Automatic discounts on all products at major BMW retailers & distributors
- Yes, this includes OEM replacement parts, maybe tires and detailing products.
- Early Bird Access to Group Buys & Early Access Pricing
- EuroConnex Merchandise and Complimentary Products
I am seeking inputs on everything - please reach out and let's have a chat. The Connex is built on the community's involvement.
As always, thank you for your trust. We're something building amazing together.