It has been forever since I wrote in the blog, and for that I am truly sorry.
Not for you, but for me. Recording the epic journey of this business is one of my great therapeutic joys, and I have missed it.
There's no way I can update you on everything, so I will give you the highlight reel (shared with my Kiva Loan Funders and shared with you here):
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... to us, at least.
This is a big update, so buckle in.
Christmas is our big season (more than half our sales are in Q4), and it requires a lot of preparation to meet that kind of spike in sales. Russ has been frantically trying to make soap to meet the demand (we just ordered 2 MORE barrels of coconut oil -- remember when we were in disbelief that we'd even get through the original two?), and has also been juggling customer service and order fulfillment. Thankfully, even though he is an excellent juggler, we've decided to HIRE someone.
In fact, we have decided to hire TWO people:
1. Lydia, a friend and colleague of mine from about 8 years ago, is joining us as our Wholesale Account Manager.
2. [TBD], a local person who is both efficient and effing delightful, is joining us as our Customer Service and Order Fulfillment Manager.
MAY I REMIND YOU... this wouldn't be possible (at least for a while) without your support and the support of all our customers. So, you have effectively helped us manifest great jobs for people. And I'm sure this is just the beginning. So again, and on behalf of Russ, Lydia, [TBD], and our Animal Testing Division (Roxy and Sadie), thank you so much for helping to build our dream.
Not only that, we were featured in Cowboys & Indians Magazine a couple months ago, and it went so well (tons of orders, and new wholesale accts, discussed later) that I decided to talk with their ad sales guy about advertising in this Christmas's issue. It has Tom Selleck on the cover, Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels leading guy) in the inside, and also a huge gift guide. Perfect, right?
I asked if we were going to also be in the gift guide, since that would really seal the deal on the ad (hey, repetition is real), and YES, it turns out WE ARE GOING TO BE IN THE GIFT GUIDE! (this is huge, because even if you haven't heard of Cowboys & Indians Magazine, it's one of our most choice demographic's favorite magazines. We are subscribers and I have pictures from it taped all over the fridge. Definitely check it out).
AND Whole Foods! I told you about Whole Foods in June, but WE SHIPPED THEIR ORDERS to all 44 stores. So now you can buy Outlaw Soaps in any NorCal Whole Foods (and please do, and request anything they don't happen to carry, since that realllllly does matter).
In fact, I think it might be BECAUSE of the frequent and earnest pleas of our customers, lenders, friends, and all-around supportive people that we landed this awesomeness. Again, thank you so much. We are so grateful.
And some stores have already re-ordered, so we know it's going well! :)
PLUS, thanks to the Cowboys & Indians magazine feature, we started getting many wholesale inquiries. We haven't finished updating the Where to Buy page, but the list has increased by, oh, about 50 or more (including the Whole Foods stores). I SAID WHAAAA? Yeah, 50 new wholesale accounts in a couple months. (seriously, that just hit me just now... I better get to updating.)
OH GADZOOKS! I almost forgot to tell you... WE WON the Lightning Label design contest (ok, we were 2nd place, but HEY! I'm not even a designer!). It was largely thanks to our dedicated friends and customers voting and sharing, and was a huge benefit to our business (we promptly sold the TV for label money, because we're label junkies and don't watch TV much).
It just goes to show... even if you're pretty sure you can't win, just enter. And you never know.
Because of that win (and the label money windfall, and a timely personal loan from a friend), we're rolling out a couple new products in the next few months:
1. Shower Gel! YEAH! Customers have been asking for it for literally more than half the time we've been in business. We sent out the first batch of prototypes and got some good feedback ("Well tie me to an anthill and smear my ears with jam if this ain't the best smelling soap around." - Jonathan, real customer with a real review), so we're going to do more.
2. Whiskey & Coffee Lip Balm! We've been trying to get some good new lip balms and have really been disappointed with the flavors out there. But we did find ONE that blew us away. I literally have it here next to my keyboard because I don't let it out of my sight. I could eat it. I might eat it. nom.
In other news, we submitted our Trademark for Outlaw Soaps and have enlisted the help of an actual Lawyer, so even our backside is lookin' pretty fine (if I do say so myself). Look at us, getting awfully lawful!
Thank you SO MUCH for backing us, for supporting us with your spirit and your money, and for allll the good juju we feel all the time. It could not be possible without you, and we never forget that.