Well that’s it for April (It is now halfway through May… bear with me). It is frightening how quickly time has been moving. Last time we were here I had referenced the existence of two larger scale projects Will and I have been working on. These were more traditional B2B style sales, and I had mentioned how the point was to open up a new avenue of revenue generation so that we could help fill in the dry spots of our year. I am thrilled to share that we have successfully completed and delivered both of these orders! A huge weight has been lifted off our backs, and we can now more freely move into the summer.
April was one immense sigh of relief after another as projects were wiped off our plate, and the mission could continue to advance. Whether it was one of these B2B orders being placed, manufactured, and delivered, submitting our taxes for the business, attending and pitching at the Domi Station pitch event, attending a pop up market in Jacksonville, piling on a TON of online store orders over the past few weeks, and then finally delivering upon them… There was a serious amount of development, progress, administrative work, and planning done during this time. On top of that Will was also winding down his semester and taking finals. From beginning to end, this month was full of seriously important pieces that needed to be connected and orchestrated perfectly to complete the puzzle.
Now that it is May, there is certainly a feeling of weight lifted off the shoulders. Sort of a clean slate kind of feeling. Which we actually built into this month too. As you are probably aware, Will and I have decided it is probably better for us to temporarily close the online store for the remainder of the month. This decision was made because we want to approach the next chapter of life and business on as solid of footing as possible. Just for the sake of clarity, this decision was not made because we felt like our foundation was being shaken or disturbed. I think it was more so that we were really stretched thin over the past few weeks, and we wanted to allow ourselves a proper amount of time for planning as we enter the summer. This is especially important because I will be headed back to New York until September where I will do another summer of lifeguarding. I had a hard time last summer trying to continue to work on the business in this remote, asynchronous format. The difficulty, I think, came mostly from a lack of experience in doing so, and thus the inability to plan properly. We had some ideas about how the summer would go, and how we would handle it, but we had nothing to fall back on when that wasn’t the case. I have a natural degree of concern surrounding the change that comes from relocating for a few months, but I have much more confidence in our ability to manage it at this stage. We have spent more time preparing ourselves for this summer, and I think this will allow us to realize so much more success this summer.
So the shop is closed, and it is sort of a strange time to do that since we have just “soft launched” three new products. The first being the fanny pack, a long anticipated bag which we finally feel we have a good design for. The next two are iterations or evolutions of the original duffel bag. The first being The Zag Pack which was designed in conjunction with a class of students in the retail entrepreneurship program. This bag won't be available for the time being as we continue to iterate through the design… The other duffel variation is The Duffelpack. A hybrid between a traditional duffel bag and a backpack. We have yet to formally release this one as we are still scrutinizing over the minute details, but the gist of it is a rectangular duffel bag that can be carried as expected with handles and a shoulder strap, but it can also be worn as a backpack with additional straps. We are working on a good system to either tuck them away when not in use, or completely remove them if desired. You might remember seeing a bag like this from when Will went to France. He made this bag for himself and carried half of his belongings around Europe with it. I think it’s fair to say we’ve done sufficient testing with this bag.
As we look towards the summer and fall, I have two main goals. The first being growing our efforts on social media. As silly as it can seem sometimes, we have found certain, undeniable benefits from leaning into these platforms as serious tools to help us grow. We have already begun implementing processes behind the scenes to help us produce content more reliably, and more systematically. I literally call this system the ‘content factory.’ Ideally it will help Will and I approach this in a more organized and thus more successful manner. To date I feel like it has been a scattered and spontaneous effort on these platforms. This has been OK for the most part, but having more of a plan should help us maintain the consistency and professional presence that we are striving for. The second goal is really intertwined with the first, and that is creating ways for more people to identify with the brand itself. Despite being a company that makes bags, there is so much more. You know this if you’ve followed along. I personally don’t love the idea of infinite content creation, but I also really enjoy the potential that social media platforms can offer. Never before has there been an easier way to communicate, share, connect, and contribute to solving problems. Growing up with the rise of social media, I have seen the good and the bad. The promise and the curse. I think the shame in it all is the addictive nature of these platforms, and this psychological addiction seriously outweighs the benefit that can and does exist.
I have a lot to say about this topic, but for now I’ll put a muzzle on it because I can go on and on. To sum it up, I think there is a very fine line between creating value and worthwhile stories for a larger audience versus creating content for the sake of filling the people’s feeds. The goal is to dance along the line as gracefully as possible.
With that, I hope you are all having a great start to May, and the warmth of summer is welcome. The next chapter is here, and we have never been more prepared for it.