Dear Kickstarter backers,
Thank you so much for your patience. We’ve finally shipped the last of our pre-orders of “GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine.” We’re rolling out into retail stores across the US and Canada. We’re up and running. Our team is expanding. We’re moving a million miles an hour, and now we are taking a moment to pause and reflect on this wild ride.
While everyone here at GoldieBlox is over-the-moon thrilled with what we’ve accomplished and, more importantly, where we’re headed, we know that with growing comes lessons and with lessons comes a little pain.
We’ve learned a lot in a fairly short amount of time and, since sharing and making learning fun is core to our mission, we figured you deserve to hear some behind-the-scenes stories of how everything unfolded.
Let’s take it back to the beginning.
As you all know, we reached our goal on Kickstarter back in October (hurray!) What you may not know is that two weeks after our Kickstarter campaign ended, we went viral. How do you know when you’ve gone viral? When your video spikes from 9,000 views to over 1 million views overnight. Luckily, we’d created a website (www.goldieblox.com) to let all the people who had missed our Kickstarter window continue to pre-order the toy. I had an email alert on my phone that would buzz every time we made a sale. We were getting a handful of orders a day, high-fiving each time. That is, until we went viral. My phone started buzzing so quickly I had to shut it off. I didn’t know what was going on, I thought my phone was malfunctioning. Turns out, we pre-sold over 20,000 toys in addition to our Kickstarter orders in about a week. While we were so excited to have so many girls to share GoldieBlox with, we were freaking out. At this point in time, GoldieBlox, Inc. consisted of two people: myself, and my very first hire, Lindsey (aka “Rainmaker”). We were inundated with hundreds of emails from various requests like changing addresses to cable news channels inviting me to speak on their shows to stores around the world who wanted to carry the toy. And while Lindsey and I were on a marathon burning the midnight oil, it became increasingly difficult for us respond to everyone.
On Thanksgiving weekend, I drove down to Santa Barbara to spend the holiday with my family. They were worried about me because they’d never seen me more stressed. All I wanted to do was respond to each email, one by one. Luckily, my family decided to help out. So instead of “pass the turkey, Uncle Mort,” we spent our entire holiday responding to emails. I even ended up hiring my sister, Stephanie, to take on customer service full-time. She dropped everything, packed her bags, and moved up to the Bay Area to help me. I love working with my sister.
But even after hiring my sister, our mighty team of three was not enough to figure out all the logistics. This is when I begged my husband, Beau, to lend a hand. Let’s just say while I’m the messy, disorganized type, he’s the guy who knows how to run a ship. The thing is, he’d never done anything like this before. So we all had to learn from scratch.
Ultimately, we hired a fulfillment company to help us ship all of the toys. Like most fulfillment companies, they specialized in wholesale orders, but lacked the knowledge of shipping individual orders. This ended up in a catastrophe. Our worst fears came true when retail stores started getting their toys before some of our earliest customers: you guys.
When we found this out, I had a panic attack. We rushed over to the warehouse to pack the boxes ourselves in an effort to speed up the shipping process. (I still have packing tape in my hair.) For those of you who were affected by this, I am truly so sorry. It was not our intent and it was a hard lesson learned.
Now that you sort of get the idea of how everything came about, know how we spent our Thanksgiving, and that we have an Uncle Mort – we wanted to share with you our takeaway points.
Communicate Consistently, Honestly, and Openly.
We’ve learned that you guys, our biggest supporters, deserve to hear from us more. It would have been helpful for us to give you a weekly behind-the-scenes look into our world while providing you with honest insights into our progress: the good, the bad and the ugly. We’re committed to getting better at this. We are now updating on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and our blog constantly, so please subscribe to stay in the loop.
Shipping is a beast. (Like Creature from the Black Lagoon, scary.)
We’ve learned that shipping internationally is way harder than we thought. We even had to remove the option from our website until we can become a great fulfillment partner. This doesn’t mean we’re giving up. We just need to beef up on a few things before we attempt to tackle it again. We’re starting with Buffy on DVD and plan to go from there.
Kickstarter is tricky.
The Kickstarter platform also caused some issues. The process of sending out surveys to collect your addresses proved incredibly difficult to manage. We hear they’ve upgraded their tools since our campaign. Unfortunately, we were stuck with an incredibly complicated system that made it a huge challenge to collect everyone’s data. In fact, we’re still catching up on this! If you have not received your toy yet, it is because we don’t have your address. Please email Stephanie (my sister) at email@example.com.
This is our passion.
We put our heart and soul into this initial toy production. We learned how logistics work using ugly crayon drawings. This Kickstarter project carried that passion over to all of you backers, making it an unforgettable experience. It took a while, but we’ve still got our soul. There’s nothing like the first time.
The world is ready.
Ultimately, we’ve learned that the world is ready for this idea. Engineering toys for girls are here to stay. We’re working hard on our product development, making improvements to the first toy, getting the next ones ready to ship, and dreaming up new adventures for Goldie. The good news is that we are now up and running. There’s so much in store for our company and more importantly, for your girls. The future is bright. Thank you for sticking with us.