It’s that time of year again, when we can’t believe how fast another year has gone and look back at what we’ve achieved. We’ve been seeing everyone posting their Instagram ‘Top 9’ – their most liked posts of the year – and thought we’d pick ours and take the opportunity to celebrate what has been an amazing year!
So here are our highlights, in no particular order (except number one, there is no denying this is the top…)
1. John joining full time
In January this year we made a huge decision. One we’ve not regretted once!
John quit his full time IT job and in May we started working together – his first job was a photoshoot for Lancashire Life Magazine!
Not only have our IT systems and reporting vastly improved but we can fulfil so many more orders now. And it allowed us to introduce…
In May we took a leap and invested in a printer that allowed us to add names and messages to the date boxes.
Great! You loved it, we loved it… But it was slow… With just 2 boxes printing in an hour it lived on our dining room table and was going all the time to keep up!
3. Moving into an office
In July we realised it was time to move out of the house! Our garage, spare room and front room were taken over with boxes of boxes, and the printer was on the dining room table!
So we took the plunge and got our house back! The printer speed was an issue and the downside was John spending a lot of weekends in the office.
4. Winning #SBS Autumn Fair
In June we found out we’d won a stand at one of the UK’s biggest retail trade shows, Autumn Fair. As part of Theo Paphitis’ Small Business community we were given a huge opportunity to exhibit – and meet the Dragon himself. The show coincided with our 3rd birthday – what a way to celebrate!
5. Getting products on shop shelves
As a result of Autumn Fair we’re delighted that our products are now stocked in various shops around the UK!
This was on our ‘to do list’ for this year but we had no idea where to start… Then suddenly we had 10 weeks to get a plan in place – including retail wraps to explain the product in store.
6. Not on the High Street
A personal highlight for me (Kate) was meeting Holly Tucker, founder of NOTHS and Creative Small Business Goddess at the Not on the Hight Street Christmas party in January. Oh, and she asked us for a selfie (before I got chance!).
We’re so proud to be partners on the platform and this year has been amazing. We’ve been invited to be part of their Christmas pop up shop, attended various events, had a member of staff come and work with us for the day… And we were the best selling product on the whole website over Valentines.
7. More personalisation
By July we knew that we’d never survive a busy Christmas with the printer we had. It also had constraints with the size – meaning we could only personalise the date and birthday boxes.
If we wanted to do this properly we needed to go big! After MUCH research (while watching the slow printer) and a few false starts John found a solution.
In October our new all singing all dancing printer arrived. Already it’s allowed us to add personalisation to all the existing products and bring out several new ones.
It can also print 6 boxes at once, and in 20 minutes. To say it has changed our lives wouldn’t be an exaggeration!
This year has seen us nominated for several awards, each is an amazing achievement. But the one that blew us away was winning North West Ecommerce Business of the Year at the Chamber of Commerce Awards.
We also won Silver in the Dadsnet Product Awards and Kate was nominated for an EVA in the Internet Industry category.
Oh and then the icing on the cake…
9. Gift of the Year Shortlist
In early December we found out we’d been shortlisted not once, not twice but eight times in the prestigious Gift of the Year Awards…
Our Date Box, New Parent Box and ‘Things to do’ Birthday range feature in 3 categories. What and end to the year!
And if we win (announcements in February!) it’ll be a great first highlight for 2020!
There is so much more to mention – like raising £1000 for The Smile Group through our New Parent box – and so many people we’ve met along the way, but it’s a Top 9 – not Top 20! And right now with a record breaking Christmas sales period almost complete it’s almost time to put our feet up and really celebrate these milestones.
So what’s next? We have a few things up our sleeves already which we’re really excited about, but who knows what else is to come. We hope you stick around to find out!