A 2016 wrap up
Hi everyone! We are so amazed by how many of you read our blog regularly. Thank you so much, you're awesome! Our readership really gives us the courage to move forward and continue to share our experiments, joys, and deceptions with you along the way. So, this time, let's do a quick recap of our past year, and its highlights and difficulties, just as quick a wrap-up!
Before we dive in, here's a sample of a big picture list of things we would like to achieve we jot down every year. This one is marked with what we achieved and failed in the last year :
- Work on corporate projects ✓
- Host workshops for our community ✓
- Redesign our website ❌
- Have a better accounting solution and follow up ✓
- Have a rep. ✓ then ❌
- Pay less for shipping ✓
- Make a magazine ❌
- Launch a podcast ❌
- Create a catalog of our products ✓
- Move ✓
- Tighten shipping time ✓
- Raise global quality ✓
- Get closer to people who inspire us - W.I.P. ✓
January – March
- With high hopes and expectations, we tackled our shipping issues. At last, we found a shipping provider for our international packages and I thought that all our problems related to pricing and delivery times would be solved. How naive I was 😇 A year later, best solutions still reside in packaging optimization and not much on carriers' selection.
- Yey! After 1 year of trial and error, we managed to build our own photo studio.
- After a lot of research, we finally managed to create and make enamel pins. We struggled a lot, but everybody loves them and we've been approached a lot to do partnerships. Another important step was to spend money we didn't have to buy a brand new foil stamping machine. We discovered a whole new world, along with its new people, new materials, and new techniques. We're crazy in love with this machine, but we still don't use enough today. Just wait and see 😉
- Had a very inspiring meeting with Patrick Tanguay, "Editor at Large" of The Alpine Review, a stunning magazine you have to read somehow. Melanie and I are thinking about making a magazine or a book some day soon and thanks to Patrick's very valuable insights, we have a better vision of what it takes to follow through with this very exciting project.
- At the end of the month, we had one of the most emotionally tough moments of the year : we went to the Dragons' Den TV show. We were under a lot of stress, and we just lost our focus (which was apparent) but the follow up was really good.
- Knock Knock. Who's there? Surprise it taxes season! Oh my goodness, we were so not prepared for this. Let's say we learned a lot 😌 Today, when I look back at this period, I'm amazed by our progress and the administrative struggles we've been through.
April – May
A high level of wow factor
- Internship season began with Sarah, a graphic designer from Belgium who stayed with us for a couple of weeks. Energetic, kind and talented, we can't wait to welcome her back in Montreal again.
- Consequently to this beautiful experience, we decided to welcome Clémence and Cannelle during the summer for several weeks. We learned a lot together and accomplished great stuff thanks to them.
- We've been approached by several companies to do consignment. For those who don't know what they are, consignments consist in lending your products to a shop to be sold. Usually the proceeds are equally separated. If certain things don't sell, you get them back at a pre-determined date. This is particularly profitable when you're a new company and a good way to bond with local retailers. Unfortunately, every time consignment we accepted last year was a failure. Not only did our stuff not sell as planned, be everything we got back was in a bad shape. Retailers are often less motivated to push sales on consignments as it's not risking them to lose any money. Eventually, your products are manipulated by customers and come back dirty, scratched or bent, and it's really hard to get compensation for the damages.
- We saw our first corporate projects coming in and since then, have a lot of fun with them! This year, we definitely hope to make more of them.
- May's highlight was, of course, our participation in the New York's National Stationery Show, the biggest stationery event in North America. As usual, we weren't properly prepared but reached our goals anyway. It was a huge reality check for us. We learned a lot and it confirmed us that we had our place among companies we looked up to like Clap Clap Design , Iron Curtain Press and many more. They are all impressive, highly talented and professional. That's why we came back inspired and motivated like never before. The best part of all was definitely to hang out with them and to be featured in our favorite blog, Oh So Beautiful Paper. See you next May everybody!
June – August
- In June began a 3 months relationship with a local company which goal is to provide local products as corporate gifts, instead of oversea-made stuff. Unfortunately, this project failed for several reasons, like not being able to discuss with the final client, making back and forths quite painful.
- We moved! - And we did well. We are so much better now: our workspace is so luminous, peaceful, larger, cheaper... It's been our 4th move in 2 years and we really hope to stay here for a while.
- Our first attempt at having a " Rep' ". A Rep is basically someone who travels to show your products to retailers in exchange for a percentage of the sales. It's a long learning curve but a very interesting exercise to make. Also, you get very valuable feedbacks and it pushes you to remain up-to-date with your catalog.
- As a way to connect with our local community, we decided to launch the Baltic Club Workshops. We had a lot of fun each time and brand new ideas emerged from these casual meetings.
- A couple of days after the first session, we've been surprised by being selected as part of Code Souvenir, an initiative to promote Montreal creativity to the world through evocative city products.
Then, family vacation 🌴
September – December
An end of the year like a sprint
- Our beloved jobs feel more like a marathon than like a sprint, but eventually, the amount of things happening makes you run like hell. That's particularly the case when comes the end of the year. Besides the fact that we were a lot out there, showcasing the work of a whole year, we had to deal with unscrupulous suppliers, various drama as well as the everyday struggle to remain mentally and physically sain while working 24/7 for months. Wisely, I ran my very first marathon at this precise moment 👌🏼. Epic.
- Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa. That's where we went. Anywhere we were, we've been literally overwhelmed. We received so much love that we just still can't believe it was real. Our goal is to bring a particular piece of happiness in people life and we are so grateful that it's working 😌
- The emotional roller coaster we talked about in a previous post is still there but, to use a bad metaphor, this year we manage to remain in our seats. We still experience pains and deceptions, but we enjoy every single daily success, even the smallest.
Now, a couple of things on our 2017's list 😊
Create more funny products
Hire someone cool
- Help and inspire people reaching their goals
- Bring more happiness in people's life
- Give back more and more and more...
Now, what's on your list? We'd love you to share with us!