2019 was a busy year here at Bubble & Bee!
At the beginning of the year, our main shipping position opened up and I decided to take it on myself. It was a great opportunity to work in our day-to-day operations and review our shipping processes. Shipping is one of my favorite jobs. I love seeing familiar names pop up and to ship packages all over the world! During my time working in Shipping, I decided I wanted to "brand" our "unboxing experience" a little more. I came up with the idea to stamp the packing slips with the names of the people on the "bee team" who picked and packed each order. I also designed stickers to put in each package as a fun little bonus. Through working in the shipping department, I also reviewed our shipping process, and figured out some minor packing changes that would save thousands of dollars over the year.
While working in the Shipping Department, I also started on our company "rebrand." This meant personally designing and redesigning many product labels, filling out the associated paperwork with our organic certifier, awaiting approvals, submitting for print, reviewing proofs, and finally getting things printed. There's still a lot to be done to finish giving our entire line the "new look" but I was able to complete a number of transitions in 2019.
In July, my Production person had a new job opportunity. (Yes, for the last 12 years it's been ONE person that has made our products.) After nearly 6 years as our production superstar, it was sad to see her go, but we were happy for her new opportunities. I had to then switch gears and take on the Production job as I looked for and trained new people for the department. Instead of one full-time employee, I decided to fill the position with three part time people. I felt that would help us push more product out and if someone needed the day off, it wouldn't stop production. Soon, I had the positions filled and my ladies trained. We had a team working from 5 am to 10 pm many days as we geared up for the November Sale.
Through the summer and early fall, we hunkered down to improve our production processes, work to fill our inventory goals, and get things flowing as a new team. Over this time, I didn't do any promotions or sales so we could really build up our inventory. November came and our production goals were met. We had reached our goals based on what had been sold last year, so I felt we'd have plenty of product...
November -- the Big Sale. Holy cow! We've had busier years. We've had busier months. But never before had we had *that* many orders in a single day. I think if we had more product, we would have done even more sales. SO many items sold out in just hours.
Over the last month, we've been working to get everything made and back "in stock." But with the sale running throughout the month so many things that have been made have sold out in hours!
What's Ahead in 2020
Hiring more people! We have one part-time position open in Production (due to maternity leave), and I'd like to add another full-time position in labeling/shipping/customer service. Hiring new people should help us be able to grow and sustain our inventory levels, and will let me take my focus back on marketing, writing new blog posts, finishing up our rebrand, and developing new products. And we'll be able to get phone support back up and running again.
Inventory With more people we can keep and sustain our inventory levels so you can count on your favorite products being available all the time!
Finishing the "rebrand." As I get operations more self-sustaining, I'll be able to focus on finishing up the "rebrand" of our product labels.
New Product Development I have SO many new products that I'd love to make. I'm not going in to any further details, other than to say I have some great new things on the horizon. With new staff support I feel like there's nothing holding us back!
Reinvesting Back in to the Company With the savings from doing a lot of the work myself over the last year, the company has a little cash reserve that can I can use to buy new equipment that will help scale up production. And who knows, maybe I'll spend some money on actual advertising! We'll see...
More Promotions & Sales, But Not Too Many For a few years there we were constantly doing promotions. Email newsletters and sales were going on every few days. While it did boost our annual revenue, I feel like it was too much and became less and less effective. In 2019 I really scaled that back as I took the time to re-tool the company. For 2020, gearing back up again, I'd like to strike a good balance of some fun promotions and sales without being too heavy-handed.
Thank you to everyone for your amazing years of support! Many of you have been with us for a decade or more! I look forward to continuing to grow the company for many years to come!