Happy New Year friends! We took a VERY long holiday break this year to be with our family and have some down time, but we are so excited to get back on track! We re-opened the shop today and we have a few new things on the 'shelves' so be sure to take a peek!
We wanted to share a bit about the year we just finished here at The Wild and some plans for the coming year. 2017 was a very crazy year for us. In some ways it was amazing and in some it was very challenging. We had some huge successes and faced several not-so-fun issues...and we learned a lot about who we are as a business, and what our priorities are.
First, a little back story. When I started this business in 2014, I did so to both fulfill my own creative dreams, but more importantly, to allow me to work from home with the flexibility that I need to be here at all times for my kids. I have two young sweet boys, and I want to walk them to school, and be there to pick them up, and not worry if someone is home sick, or if there is a school trip I need to volunteer for. I want to be with them on March break, on summer vacation, you get the idea! So, some people may wonder why I don't simply add to the team and hire everything out, but I actually hope to stay rather small, so that my focus is always here at home, where I want it to be.
Back to our 2017 successes and challenges. We had a wonderful year in many ways. We exhibited at the Spring One Of A Kind Show, which was a HUGE bucket list item for me. We had some amazing features, like in EnRoute Magazine and Paypal. We worked with a ton of new stockists this year including the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center and West Coast Kids, to name a few.
There were many challenges along the way too. We won't bore you with all of them ha ha, but we will share our biggest one, one that nearly caused us to close our doors entirely.
As some of you may know, when we began this business almost four years ago we were hand-printing our designs using American Apparel pieces, but when they closed their doors, we hit a rough patch (to say the least) with our business. We spent months researching new suppliers, trying to see what we could do, and it was incredibly tough to find anything comparable. After several months of non-stop searching, we thought we had solved the problem by finding a wonderful Canadian supplier, we were thrilled! However, as luck would have it, after we placed our first trial order, they too decided that the business wasn't sustainable for them. We were back to square one!
I shed many a tear over this hurdle. I felt like a total failure as a business owner. It seemed like such a simple thing. Like for example, just hire someone to sew for us! But, trust me, it's not that simple. And if you want to make ANY money in your business, ever penny counts, and we just couldn't make that work. We hit a road very hard and I started to lose hope.
For months on end I juggled mom-life, keeping up with online orders, setting up booths at shows, and trying to find some way to keep going (with no supplier in sight). It was SO HARD, but eventually I found a supplier that is ethically made and the quality is lovely. So for NOW, we are ok, ha ha. But, here's hoping we make it through the year lol!! The biggest thing I learned from this, is that you can't ever get too comfortable. This could all happen again at any time, and I have to just roll with it. I can only do what I can do, and sadly, outside things influence my success. So, hopefully we can surge forward on this new path, and I am so grateful for every one of you who continue to support us and these many changes
In 2018 we are starting with a fresh set of eyes, hoping that the hurdles are behind us for now, but looking ahead with a new focus. So here is what we are hoping for in 2018:
- To continue to bring you hand-printed, ethically manufactured clothing with our original drawings, and to never lose sight of the importance of this
- To bring you fun new characters (more on that later this spring!)
- To continue to show our appreciation to our most supportive customers, those on our newsletter list, by sharing special VIP sale codes and services not offered to anyone else (get on that list if you want in on this!)
- To keep working with our amazing stockists and hopefully we can work with even more now that we have established a a supplier source (YAY!)
- Most of all, to seek balance in our small family business - meaning we may close for holidays and we may slow down in the summer, but we will be doing so mindfully, in a way that allows us to run this business while still keeping our family at the top of our priority list
Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this, and for the support you always show us and this little business we have created. We are forever indebted to you. Happy 2018 to you and your loved ones, we wish you nothing but the best in the year ahead!!!