Westcott Does Us a Solid
Kelly Mondora started out with FJ Westcott as a temp in data entry 12 years ago. Now she's VP of the entire photography industry division.
Why? Because of stuff like what you see above.
Our go-to umbrella, the Westcott Double-Fold, is now crush-proof on the business end of the telescoping staff. A little backstory, a DIY workaround and a cool coupon code, inside.
In March of last year, I went to PMA as a speaker and to check out some of the new toys. That's where I met Kelly, who has that rare combo of really caring about her customers at a ground level and being high enough in the company to do something about it.
We talked the near-perfect Westcott Double-Fold, and she quickly honed in on the "near" part. Small, light, cheap -- but crushable if you tighten down on the shaft with your umbrella swivel.
There was even a DIY hack, as seen above, where we shove a pencil up the shaft (New! Graphite Shaft Edition!) to support it.
She told me then and there that they could fix it, and now they have. Redesigned, solid-shaft tip versions are trickling up through the supply chain as we speak. Awesome.
If you get an hollow version (or want to strengthen your current umbrellas) the pencil trick works great. But soon, you won't have to.
And for those who say, "why not a solid shaft," please bite your tongue.
For one, they are heavier. For two, they have to screw apart. And trust me, you do not want extra loose parts which love to drop and roll under your car when you take an umbrella out of your trunk. Been there.
This weekend, Westcott is kicking off a "Top Pro Tour" roadshow. (If you haven't, heard about it, info is here.)
Kelly sent us a coupon code (as if the solid shaft wasn't enough) in case anyone wants to head out. It's $89.90, but entering the code TPT4949 gets you $20 off.