It feels so good to finally announce that Whimsy Explorer is back in action and selling our classic zip bags and tassels. It has been a very long process to get back to this point and involved, as life does, many ups and downs.
When relaunch had to be delayed I asked if you on our shop Instagram if you would rather hear the story of how I meet my best guy or the story of the shop. Based on feedback you wanted to hear the story of the shop and how we got here… and I am not holding back!
Two things you should know. I love containers. If it can be jam pack with a BUNCH of stuff into it – I am game!. It brings me joy. As a result I love useful bags with lots of pockets to fit smaller bags inside of. The other thing you should know is I look at everything and ask questions, consider them, and want to improve upon them. It’s a curiosity thing more than criticism.
Years ago I found this blogger hosted photography retreat and it came with a gift bag of goodies. The bag of goodies looked AMAZING the retreat – meh. I thought the canvas zip bags were amazing and such a good size I needed like 10 of them…. but wouldn’t they be better with Disney Quotes on them!
This was February 2015. More than two years later. I was the person selling them because something like this was not in the budget for someone else to do and the business owners I reached out to do something similar were not sure the Adult Disney Fan base was big enough to promote it. They didn’t understand. I did, and felt like there were enough people out there that would be excited for the subtle nod to Disney especially if you could top it off with a little bit of color… like a keychain or tassel.
With any new project, there are dozens of problem solving issues involved. In the beginning you have no idea the hurdles that come your way. The first hurdle was money. My car was on the fritz, I just moved into a new apartment, and I was taking on a totally online course load. There wasn’t $10k just hanging out in a 401k somewhere. I created a plan and reached out to family and friends. I also got a line of credit and made that sucker work. In totally my business was started with $2500.
The hurdles that I had to tackle included getting silk screens so that I could extend the variety of the bags by printing them myself. I had to find someone willing to make such a small quantity of bags. For reference I purchased 3x the amount of bags for relaunch as I originally purchased. Where could I get ribbon in small lengths for tassels but then also order wholesale. It was a battle of how can I start small and slowly transition to bigger.
You think it might be one decision but really it turns into so many decisions that can affect your turnaround time, it can affect your profit, it can affect literally every area of your business. Even something as simple as printing labels, or getting a label printer. And the crazy part is that I love it. Is it stressful? Oh hell yea! But these things stressed me out working for someone else and lining their pockets. I’m just intense and driven.
It’s funny. You learn quite a bit about yourself when you put yourself out there. I learned that my anxiety for letting people down was out of control. I spent 6+ months in a constant anxious state. I never felt like I was doing things at a pace that was good enough. My handwritten notes never felt like they shared the gratitude that I felt for every person who purchased things. It was exhausting because I knew I was running myself ragged and yet felt I was constantly letting people down.
When it came to evaluating doing a relaunch or considering something new I felt like things could do either direction. At the core the canvas bags and tassels were the beginning of this journey. They were something that I was asked about weekly since we stopped selling them. Bringing them back would be easier than creating something new and establishing them as different. Then I had a panic attack. A panic attack for the record books. The resolution was write down all the things that made me anxious before and not start bags again until they were solved.
Concerns that were as “simple” as I’ve had 60 bags ordered but every bag is a different quote. This could be a whole day (if not two day) process. There were not enough hours in the day. I chose to have the quotes pre-printed by the manufacturer this time. This would give me back a whole bunch of time and potentially cut 4-6 days of processing time on the shipping end of things. As we approached the 10 day turnaround time I would get anxious because ribbon was running later and later but I needed color consistency.
Things that we modified with this relaunch:
- Bags were printed by the manufacturer & zipper pulls were added in addition to our black velvet pull.
- Rather than handwriting every note we created a postcard that expressed our gratitude but also a sneak into our mission of growing our family. This gives us more time to create but is more consistent with our overall message
- Tassels were purchased in bulk colors which also allowed us to expand the color selection. My sweet Love, has been putting them together for the last few weeks to be sure they are beautiful and consistent but also ready to be dropped in your package for potentially next day drop off at the post office.
- Tags – We created these beautiful tags with a free button pin of our logo. The wildflower tag with our website on the back is a reminder that things don’t always have to be perfect to be wonderful. I struggled over these tags because for so long nothing felt “right”.
Perfectly imperfect. We are trying to embrace it. Sometimes it is easy to look at a small shop and calculate the type of money that they could be making. I figured I would just be transparent about it. If you are interested in reconsidering how your business functions I found the concepts of Profit First by Mike Machalowicz*.
3% goes to processing fees.
20% goes to taxes and fee. This is a non-negotiable thing that we are required to do. Any excess at the end of the year gets split between the surrogacy fund and the wildflower fund.
10% goes towards a rainy day fund. That is touched when we need something for keeping things operational. At the end of the year half stays in the account. 25% gets paid as a year-end bonus to the owner (me) and 25% goes to our wildflowers (you) fund.
30% is my paycheck. This also includes paying back any debt that the business has to pay back and expenses that are mine but the business utilized like my car expenses and or cell phone.
10% Surrogacy Fund. This is technically a portion of my paycheck but is a seperate account. I never intend to pull from operational costs to start my family. With my heart condition I am not able to give birth so having a surrogacy fund set aside within my business lets you know how important this is to us but allows you to understand WHY we may do things that seem abnormal. Mostly it is because our path to start a family is abnormal.
20% goes into operational costs. Purchasing inventory, subscription costs, and paying contractors a reasonable wage. This is a pretty detailed account but allows me to not be constantly pulling from my paycheck to do new things that we can’t really afford.
7% goes towards our Wildflower fund. This is an account that is used to encourage artists and young people. It is an account that lets us shower people with love. Freebies, giveaways, and gifts to our community come from this fund. It is important enough to us to build connection that this was a must in our business structure moving forward.
Misson, Vibes, and Goals
I have always been draw to the vintage colors and design of the 1950-1970’s. Collecting old postcards and advertisements. Photographs of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom during the 1970’s make me jump for joy. Maybe it is the hippie free-spirited energy that I have but nothing else felt appropriate moving forward. I might be a child of the 90’s but I’ll always be drawn to the 1960’s and 1970’s stuff. During the 1970’s Florida was all about promoting their citrus. Hello, Orange Bird! The smell of these groves are amazing and drives down the dirt roads are reminders of a joyful life.
The power of the internet allows all of us to connect. I’d like to have real connection of common interests and desires. I have no expectation that this place will look the same as it does now when we reach year 3 or even more so year 7. That’s the beauty of encouraging learning, growth, and change.
Our personal goal will not always be surrogacy, honestly there are so many goals. An office space up north, A House, Traveling, and so many other things cross my mind. In the midst of all this I’m excited to have you along.