GoldieBlox: Lessons We've Learned
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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***FRIDGE MAGNET + STICKER*** We GoldieBlox girls like showcasing our accomplishments on the fridge. You will get a GoldieBlox refrigerator magnet to show off your girls' brilliant masterpieces. Plus, a sticker because we're all stuck on Goldie.Estimated delivery:
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***T-SHIRT*** Walk the walk with the GoldieBlox limited edition t-shirt that reads, "More Than Just a Princess," available in kid and adult sizes! (Free Shipping to US and Canada. For international orders, please add $10 for shipping).Estimated delivery:
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**************GET THE TOY************** This is it. The complete GoldieBlox toy: her first storybook, "GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine," construction set and character figurines shipped right to your door. (Free Shipping to US and Canada. For international orders, please add $20 for shipping).Estimated delivery:
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***GOLDIE'S POWER PACK*** Toy + T-Shirt + Star-Shaped Sunglasses, so your girl can roll up to her play-date in style. (Free Shipping to US and Canada. Sorry, no international orders for this level).Estimated delivery:
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***GET TWO TOYS*** No more sibling rivalry! You get two GoldieBlox toys shipped right to your door. (Free Shipping in US and Canada. Sorry, no international orders for this level yet.)Estimated delivery:
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***HACKER HOODIE*** Who's the next female Mark Zuckerberg? YOU in this limited-edition GoldieBlox adult hoodie. Plus, we'll throw in a sticker and fridge magnet. (Free Shipping to US and Canada. For international orders, please add $20 for shipping).Estimated delivery:
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**INTERNATIONAL: GOLDIE'S POWER PACK*** For international orders of "Goldie's Power Pack" detailed above shipped to areas beyond U.S. and Canada.Estimated delivery:
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**GET THE WHOLE GANG** This is the big one! Get Book 1 (Feb 2013), Book 2 (Apr 2013) and Book 3 (May 2013) delivered right to your door. US & Canada only.Estimated delivery:
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***GET THREE TOYS*** You get three GoldieBlox toys shipped right to your door. (Free Shipping in US and Canada. Sorry, no international orders for this level yet.)Estimated delivery:
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***INTERNATIONAL: GET TWO TOYS*** For international orders of "Get Two Toys" detailed above shipped to areas beyond U.S. and Canada.Estimated delivery:
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***GET FOUR TOYS*** You get four GoldieBlox toys shipped right to your door. (Free Shipping in US and Canada. Sorry, no international orders for this level yet.)Estimated delivery:
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***MOMMY & ME*** Get the TOY plus a hoodie for mom, a t-shirt for daughter and two pairs of sunnies. After all, moms make the best role models. (Free Shipping to US and Canada. Sorry, no international orders for this level).Estimated delivery:
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**INTERNATIONAL GET THE WHOLE GANG** This is the big one! Get Book 1 (Feb 2013), Book 2 (Apr 2013) and Book 3 (May 2013) delivered right to your door anywhere in the world!Estimated delivery:
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***INTERNATIONAL GET THREE TOYS*** For international orders of "Get Three Toys" detailed above shipped to areas beyond U.S. and Canada.Estimated delivery:
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***INTERNATIONAL MOMMY & ME*** For international orders of "Mommy & Me" detailed above shipped to areas beyond U.S. and Canada.Estimated delivery:
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***INTERNATIONAL GET FOUR TOYS*** For international orders of "Get Four Toys" detailed above shipped to areas beyond U.S. and Canada.Estimated delivery:
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***BFF PACKAGE*** Get 4 GoldieBlox toys, plus 4 kids' t-shirts, 4 stickers and 4 pairs of sunnies to quadruple the fun. (Free Shipping to US and Canada. Sorry, no international orders for this level).Estimated delivery:
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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).Estimated delivery:
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****COLLECTOR'S PRINT****Get a limited-edition print of an original GoldieBlox illustration (choose from 1 of 3 pictures) signed by Debbie and shipped in time for the holidays. This is a collector's item, only offered in this Kickstarter campaign. Put GoldieBlox on your wall of fame. PLUS, you'll get a GoldieBlox toy come February AND be recognized as a rock star supporter on our website.Estimated delivery:
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2 backers Limited (23 left of 25)
***PERSONALIZED SKETCH***An illustration of Goldie with your child(ren) or pet (or YOU!) drawn and signed by Debbie. Little known fact: Debbie inherited her artistic skills from her grandmother, one of the first female cartoonists at Disney and the creator of "Mr. Magoo". PLUS, you will be recognized as a mega rock star supporter on our website.Estimated delivery:
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***UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL*** Debbie will come speak at your next big event, whether it's a school function, brownie troop retreat or corporate soiree. Appearances will come complete with 20 toys for you to keep, plus you'll get to hear Debbie's story first-hand and ask her what it's like to be a female engineer. PLUS, we will record the experience and share it with all our friends.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)