And what a wild ride it has been. I thought I’d take you (and me) down memory lane and see how far we’ve come.
In August I got sick with a bad cold (hell nothing like Covid-19 now it’s all be put into perspective) but bad enough for me to think, gosh that was a shitty week that was, what would have made me feel better? My children were 2 & 4 and it was the beginning of our little family business.
2015 was all about believing. Doing. Backing myself. Putting the idea out there. It was all about the unknown, creating a store when I’ve never done anything like it before. Nervously sourcing products and creating care packages. I hoped with every bone the idea would work. I fell deeply in love with the idea of sending care packages across Australia. I never dared think of 5 years down the track. I just hoped to sell a box. Just one. Maybe one a week. In 2015 I sold one box in total.
I launched with the online store platform Big Cartel but just ‘doing’ made me realize I needed a box for customers to add their gift card message. Apparently this feature was unavailable and I had to transfer over to Shopify in February. I started just buying things from shops and seeing if they sold before contacting companies for wholesale pricing.
In May I took part in the Spotcap Small Business competition and came in Second. Taking part in the competition got my little business out there and I started getting orders. From one a week, to occasioning one a day.
I took part in AusMumpreneuar and came second in the Emerging Business Category. By now we went to the post office every single day. Lugging those bags of boxes down the four flights of stairs in my apartment, into my small car followed by two small children was always fun. Racing to the post office before 5pm was always a bit stressful. Occasionally I knocked on my neighbours door to see if they could watch my kids so I didn’t have to drag them along.
We moved from our 3rd floor apartment in Sydney to Melbourne. Starting a fresh was difficult but business trickled along nicely. I did decide to give PR a try and was featured in Broadsheet and a number of other online publications. It was semi successful, but overall My business was just a bit too small or making enough in sales to attract any interest.
Never the less, every year we doubled in sales so it’s worth trying different things.
In April it was my husbands birthday 40th and we had booked to go away. Up until March I was fully going to run the customer service side of the business from my holiday until the I realized who was I kidding? I reached out to my friend and colleague Susie (we were made redundant together) who had started her own successful VA business and asked her to help me. It was the best decision I have made. Once I returned, I couldn’t give her up and she is now my online business manager and customer service hero.
In June I won an Afterpay Advertising Package after replying to a feedback callout. This was an incredible prize and I still pinch myself of the reach I made being on the front page of Afterpay.
In December I launched Retreat Me Happy, an idea that had been bubbling away for everyone to list their retreats for free in one easy place online.
I wondered if Feel Better Box Sales would plateau and worried this was the year we wouldn’t double the sales. I figured we’d just keep on keeping on. And meanwhile I would chip away on the Retreat Me Happy’s website and growth.
And then March hit me like a large wet fish slapped across my face. The sales came with abundance and I was suddenly taking calls from businesses small and large to send corporate orders around the country.
In April I signed up for my first Facebook / Insta Digital marketers which has been an excellent move for marketing and reach.
I paid for a short stint with a PR extrodonaire who was incredible. She managed to get me a stint on the radio and on Sundays Today show. Phew that was terrifying and thrilling all at the same time. I was also on my first Podcast which was amazing to be asked.
July saw me get shingles as Melbourne went back into stage 3 and then stage 4 lockdown. The orders that followed were unimaginable. We worked 7 days a week and barely sat down for lunch.
November. We decided to try Christmas Hampers this year seeing as we had sent so many care packages for every occasion.
Did we double in sales this year? Yes. Did we survive? Yes. Did I order in new boxes three times? Yes. But my goodness I feel like I lived four years rolled into one.
Thank you so much for coming along on this journey, it sure has been a slow burn, a marathon not a sprint. But here we are 5 years in and I couldn’t love sending care packages any more. It gives me goose pimples thinking about the thousands of gifts we’ve now sent.