Our Journey So Far......
"How's business?" I swear I get asked this every time I see someone I know."Do I tell them my struggles? Do I just tell them my wins? Do I elaborate? On what exactly?" These are just some of the thoughts going through my mind as I smile trying to respond politely.
Tonight I thought I’d personally write you a letter to tell you our journey so far with Staavias. What's been happening at Staavias - The good, the bad and the ugly!
As you know, we opened our online store on 06th January 2016 and we are just over 6 months old. Just like a 6-month infant who is still learning how to walk and talk – we too, are still learning how to walk and talk in business. Since business is a marathon and not a sprint, we’re going to be learning for a long time ** wink wink **
Our last 6 months has been HUGE! Here are some of our biggest achievements during this short period of time.
We’ve sold more than $20,000 of shoes directly through our website only.
We’ve distributed our shoes to 6 different countries outside of NZ – Australia, United States, Singapore, Samoa, Fiji and Niue.
We’ve secured a partnership with an Auckland shoe retailer so you will see our shoes being stocked in store before the end of 2016.
Been featured in more than 15 different media publications including blogs, articles, national newspaper, TV and radio.
Designed 2 more collections and samples are being made before we launch a pre order.
Featured in a special edition SUGA magazine.
We're so proud of our journey so far, especially when I think about how Staavias all came about from an idea, that turned into a dream and then into a vision.
Your first take away from our journey so far should hopefully be "Anything is possible!"
One of the biggest things I'm so, so proud of is when I see customers feeling super confident about themselves again. When we see customers brag about how happy and how in love they are with their shoes. When customers tell us "well done, I can't believe my shoes actually fit, I love my shoes". Being able to boost another woman's confidence so much she doesn't want to stop staring at her reflection in the mirror or when she just cannot stop smiling - that is what I'm oh so proud about!
With success comes hardships and struggles - I mean how else do we learn and overcome? As a business we've made some mistakes and we've learned a lesson from them - oh believe me!
Here are our Top 4 daily struggles. You might find that you can relate to them and that's awesome! We're all human so I wouldn't be too surprised haha!
I've found that my attitude determines my approach to life and its challenges. A negative attitude finds every reason and barrier under the sun. A positive attitude looks for the lessons in hardships, visualises success and focusses solely on the bigger goal. My biggest challenge with attitude is keeping the same positive attitude when things are great and going up and when things are not so great and heading downhill. Believe me, the struggle is real.
We’ve been blessed with a factory who is able to meet specific demands and deliver an exceptional product (Ask our customers :D ). Our factory have ethical standards and processes, they treat their staff and people with respect. I bet you're wondering "And how is this a struggle?". I know right!! As our factory is based all the way on the other side of the world, there’s often a communication break down. I chose not to have a middle guy to keep costs down so the language barrier is something I need to be creative about. Things cannot always be done in a timely manner or the way we demand, without me getting on a plane to be there physically. Dealing with foreign businesses, we have to take into consideration their culture and traditions, it's not always easy to find that balance. Yes there are times when I'd like to personally strangle someone TBVH (to be very honest) but hey - let's not go there! Violence is not ok! LOL My everyday goal is to find a way to do positive, genuine business with our factory.
3. Money / Capital / Funds
Someone actually said to me earlier this year "You shouldn't have started your business if you don't have money". I made sure to just shrug it off. The truth is unless you're Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates you're not rolling around in 100 dollar bills. Although money is NOT the most important thing in the world, money is definitely a much needed tool or resource, it can speed things up and slow things down. It definitely helps to get the job done. As a small business, we're strapped for cash - not many businesses will tell you that but I told you, I'm going to be real. What does that mean? We have to be creative in finding ways to fund our business otherwise it will die - there's no other way around it.
When I first started the business, I was so excited about making profit but it wasn't until I actually started that I realised - profit is going to be a while away. There are so many things we have to pay for in advance before a customer even pushes that button to pay for our shoes. For us it means that we cannot do things as fast as the big guys, we have to take things slowly and it can be frustrating for you as a customer. We have to start small and slowly build from there because if we move too fast - the business can die out even faster and that's definitely not a direction we want to head. We didn't win the 40 million lotto last weekend either, what a bummer! LOL But it means that we have to continue working harder than ever and smart.
4. Fear of the unknown
No one knows what the future holds but we cannot let that scare us. There are times when I procrastinate so much and when I really stop and break things down, I find it's because I'm scared of not knowing what to expect. I'm scared of what people might say. I'm scared people might not take me seriously. I'm scared people won't like me as much. I'm scared that it might not work the way I've envisioned it. I'm scared that I don't know what could happen. How else will we know if we don't try. So what if people don't like you? Their opinion of you doesn't matter. So what if things don't work out? You will find a way if you keep looking and pressing on. We can never be completely sure of what's to come but we cannot let that hold us back from achieving our true potential. Sometimes you have to not think about it and just do it and when I do this, I'm ALWAYS surprised at the results! I think Grr, I wasted all that time on something so silly and the results were great. It's not easy but it's doable.
Anyway, so that's what's been happening at Staavias in the past 6 months and I cannot even image what the next 6 months might look like.
I can tell you that we do have.......
- A range of funky, bold flats to be released next month. You will get a chance to vote on your favourite design and the one with the most wins gets released first.
- A chance for you to be a sponsor for Staavias where you get X amount of FREE shoes for 5 years and much more!!!!
- A Staavias black tie event at the end of the year to celebrate our sponsors and our lovely customers. It will also feature a runway with our 2017 designs.
I hope you've had a few more takeaways from our journey. My mum used to always tell me that if I was wise, I would learn from her mistakes - I think that applies to anything in life really. I hope our journey has stirred something great inside of you. Thanks for always supporting us at Staavias. It honestly means the world to us at Staavias! It's YOU that makes this journey worth while despite the trials and tribulations. So hang on tight as this ride is pretty bumpy and at times you don't even know what to expect!
But here's to another excellent 6 months to come ......... CHEERS!!!