Whew! What can I say about 2016? It pushed us to grow and stretch and frankly, I’m exhausted.
Behind the scenes there was a lot going on. January we were urgently looking for a studio. We were holding out hope for a giant warehouse we had been in negotiation with and it fell through at the last moment. I was so desperate because at the time our office and store warehouse were in one building and we were bursting at the seams. If you’ve ever looked at San Francisco Real Estate then you’ll understand that the situation was dire. Everything was crazy expensive and small. Our luck suddenly changed in February when the Craigslist Gods miraculously bestowed a perfect giant studio to us and we started on construction. We did all the build out in three weeks. It was INSANE.
Setting up the new studio took all my time. I think I was working every weekend for four months. While it felt like a herculean task to design and organize such a big space, I will say that getting a new studio changed everything for us. We finally had the space to add more products to the shop, there was space to finally hire two new employees, and at last we had the space to make the kind of content we wanted to. It felt like we could finally breathe and it was a definite turning point.
Besides setting up the studio I also spent a lot of time building infrastructure. That meant hiring a part-time CFO, putting a lawyer on retainer, getting a new accountant, taking on a formal adviser for myself to give me advice and keep me accountable. We also spent a lot of time training each member of our team to learn things like styling and marketing. We set up software and systems to keep us all organized and efficient. All of this infrastructure took a lot of time and at times could be tedious and boring but was really important because it allowed us to grow…
1. 7 Printable Valentines | 2. 3 Steps for the Perfect Galentines Day | 3. Roll Out Letter Cookies | 4. Valentine Party in a Box | 5. Happy Mail! | 6. Roller Skate Pinata | 7. Mini Party in a Box | 8. Candy Cookies
1. Oversize Strawberry Egg Boxes | 2. Printable Jumping Bunny Cupcake Toppers | 3. Giant Origami Bunnies | 4. Giant Floral Easter Egg | 5. Papier Mache Easter Egg Centerpiece | 6. ‘She’s About to Pop!’ Baby Shower | 7. Collaboration with Becca Clason | 8. Giant Stickers Photobooth Backdrop
On the site we really started to hit our stride with making DIY’s and growing our team in Summer. It takes some time to get good at how we all worked as a team and I feel like this is when it all came together. We were up to six full time employees at the time. We were hiring as fast as we could train people. It is really hard to find people that match the company culture and that are a good fit. It’s an investment of time to train people and teach them. Every time I hire someone I remind myself that it will take some time until I don’t have to spend a good part of the day managing. Of course it is worth it in the end but it is an investment of time. We added some new contributors and columns to the site. We also launched a video series for Facebook called “Party Hacks” that went crazy viral. We plan on doing more in 2017! Andrea (our shop manager) and I were both pregnant and due during summer so the whole team spent this time prepping for our absence.
Besides the new projects we launched I was really proud of the newsletter we send out weekly or bi-monthly. It was a pet project of Amy’s and every time one went out I would get people contacting me about how good they were. It’s hard to maintain something with that level of quality but Amy knocked it out of the park. (ps: you can sign up here.) Summer was when we invented and started a love affair with Balloon Walls. We did a bunch of them. I just love how easy they are and what a big visual impact they make.
We had our babies just a few weeks apart! Instead of taking a real maternity leave (it’s hard when you are running a small business) I just gave myself permission to go home whenever I felt tired and overwhelmed. For me this was better than a cut and dry maternity leave because I could ease back into to work at the pace I wanted to and I never felt guilty for taking time off. Andrea took a more traditional maternity leave but ended up choosing to come back a little early and spread the rest of her days off out so she can take a day off every week. We have a nanny on staff here at Oh Happy Day and Andrea and I both bring our babies to work. One of the best parts of running a business is being able to set up the business how we want instead of how it has traditionally been done.
The last half of the year coming up next!