Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 18, 2012.

Update #13

GoldieBlox: Lessons We've Learned

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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 service@goldieblox.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. 

Love,

Debbie

Lynda Poblete, Aysu Erdoğdu, and 1 more person like this update.

Comments

    1. Missing_small

      Creator Allan on June 26, 2013

      Still waiting for ours in Dubai - we missed the deadline for our oldest daughter 4th birthday in April, perhaps we will get it for our 3 year olds next week....???? I'm sure it will arrive in time for our grandchildren to enjoy....quite disappointing really.

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      Creator Lasse Hynninen on June 23, 2013

      Mine arrived late last week to my corner of Finland, Europe. Thanks!
      Now the long wait began for the next two books ;)

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      Creator 이태희 on June 18, 2013

      Product has not arrived yet. Please give me an answer in the confirmation email after.

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      Creator helder on June 6, 2013

      as many i did receive mine in Portugal last week! and also i do echo of my voice to all backers who already say it...yes it sucks when we see on the stores something we came to love and nurture before but at the end with a clear, transparent and honest update you came clean...

      i did appreciated and do praise your attitude, now i wish many of creators could come clean in this humble and honest way...

      we are all people in the same boat and basically we are all good (well some more then others heheh) and we do wish you have success that is pretty basic as we are your supporters after all, just hope you learnt a valuable lesson not just in business but personal, and what can we ask more if not this whole experience makes you a better person with a successful business?!
      thnaks
      helder

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      Creator Maria Laine on June 4, 2013

      Thanks for all the hard work you put in the international shipping of the KS campaign! I was thrilled to receive GoldieBlox in Finland. I hope you find a solution for international orders in the future, kids everywhere will benefit from this wonderful toy. Thank you!

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      Creator Natalie Greene on June 3, 2013

      Everything about this is inspiring. The transparency is so appreciated! Keep up the fabulous work. We are beyond you 100%!

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      Creator Mighty Yeti on June 2, 2013

      Thanks for sharing your experiences - good stuff!

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      Creator GrandSlambert on June 2, 2013

      We gave our Daughter her first book for her birthday (arrived about two weeks before that - so thank you!) She loves it, and does something with it every day. She even took it along on our last weekend trip. We are anxiously awaiting the next two books to see how much more she does with this wonderful learning tool. Great job - and thanks for sharing. I am about to embark on my own Kickstarter campaign, and your lessons will help me as well!

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      Creator Katherine McKinstry on June 1, 2013

      Debbie and Goldieblox team, thank you SO MUCH for all of your hard work to make a game changing toy and share it with the world. You are amazing!!!!

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      Creator Mark Waschkowski on June 1, 2013

      Ya, seeing it in the store before we got it was a disappointment, you guys should have figured it out beforehand! You'll know for next time, hopefully the success will spur you to do more stuff. Good luck.

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      Creator James Cole on June 1, 2013

      Nice update - interesting to hear the behind-the-scenes details. Glad you all got through it!

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      Creator Jason Shinn on May 31, 2013

      Your dream has become a reality - and all of our little girls will benefit from it. Thank you for all your hard work. And don't worry about the hiccups - anyone who cares whether they got their toys before the retail stores doesn't get the big picture.

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      Creator Vicki H. on May 31, 2013

      I echo Darren here...I do appreciate the update and the behind-the-scenes snapshots, but I haven't received any of my GoldieBlox either. :( (I'm in Canada and pledged to "Get The Whole Gang".)

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      Creator Aimee Palacios on May 31, 2013

      Aww bless your heart. It sounds like you weathered quite a storm and we are all rooting for you.

      We received our toy just fine. Our daughter is only a few months old but we are saving it for when she's ready.

      Keep up the great work and remember to enjoy a little down time to celebrate your joyous success!

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      Creator Matthew Beswick on May 31, 2013

      As a dad in Australia, I would like to echo the positive sentiments already posted.

      Well done surviving with your goldie locks intact!

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      Creator Darren Thurston on May 31, 2013

      Nice update and appreciate the honesty.
      Still not received ours though :-(

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      Creator Morgan First on May 31, 2013

      AWESOME UPDATE! A a fellow entrepreneur who started a business I did not know too much about, I can totally understand where you are coming from and think its very awesome that you were able to share your story with everyone! CONGRATS on making it this far and can't wait to see whats next!

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      Creator Plymouth Ansbergs on May 31, 2013

      Hopefully no one was TOO cranky. I think most folks understand that startups always have hiccups, it's all part of the process. It turns out that my nieces did receive their toys. Or rather my mother-in-law did and is waiting for their birthdays to give the toys to the kids. But somehow the shipping notice went into my spam folder and MIL got distracted by family issues and forgot to thank me for the toys (and they didn't come with my name on them though she did figure it was most likely from me because I had posted about your kickstarted on facebook).

      Anyway, go you, and awesome for working through all of these issues and stress and you are going to come out the other side battle-tested with a growing successful company! Rock on.

    19. Missing_small

      Creator Elizabeth Lehtonen on May 31, 2013

      Thank you for the information Debbie.

      We have received ours in Canada and my daughter (and son actually) are delighted with it. Well done all of you!

      My husband is a businessman (Oxford MBA grad) who has recently jumped the hoops of starting a business. If you guys have any questions or need any advice, please do not hesitate to reach out.

    20. Missing_small

      Creator Ceal Craig on May 31, 2013

      Debbie, that brought tears to my eyes. I've read every note from you all and can fully understand what you have gone through (my engineering career included a lot of mfg, chuckling). I know how important role models are too (I've been studying that the last few years). Think of the influence you have had on millions of young girls and on young people wanting to deliver on an idea with passion. The future is bright. Keep on sharing, and let us know how we can help in your brilliant and so needed endeavor.

    21. Missing_small

      Creator Jason Chiu on May 31, 2013

      Thank you for the transparency and clarity. I became concerned when everyone else was receiving their shipments, and I had not heard any news.

      I know startups are never easy, and would like to wish you the best of luck, growing pains and all.

    22. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Marianne Milligan on May 31, 2013

      Keep at it. My twins (boy and girl) love their GoldieBlox "games". I can't wait to see what else you develop.

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      Creator Shervyn von Hoerl on May 31, 2013

      So excited. I am so glad to hear that you are growing and successful. You do have a pretty big resource in your backers here. Don't be afraid to reach out, you would be surprised what may happen.

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      Creator Gail Carmichael on May 31, 2013

      This update makes me so happy - I am so excited for you guys for having such great success so far! Really looking forward to everything you come up with in the future. My bet is there will be another toy or two for me to order and save for when my now-1.5-year-old daughter is old enough to use them. :)

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    ****PARTY IN A BOX**** Everything you need to throw the ultimate GoldieBlox party. Get TEN GoldieBlox toys plus 10 stickers and 10 pairs of sunnies. You can hoard them for yourself (and please send us pics of what you build) OR share 'em with the neighborhood. (Free Shipping to US and Canada. Sorry, no international orders for this level).

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