The past, the present & Black Caviar
2016 was great - stressful - but great! Sales exceeded budget, which is a relief surprise, so that was lovely! We also received a lot of support from social media/bloggers - thanks guys!
Our social media presence has grown to over 1500 instagram 'followers' and 1150 Facebook 'likes'. Okay, I know we're not up there with Zoella or the Kardashians or whoever, but I'm so happy each time we get a new person who's interested enough to like or follow us as I find social media a bit 'stressy' sometimes. I thought I had a "hater" once and I was beside myself with grief. It also used to break my heart every time someone 'unfollowed' Bundle + Twine on instagram. But just as Rhianna did, I found love in a hopeless place - in my case, a horse analogy ('horses for courses'), and it's all okay now.
To sharpen this blog up a bit, I thought I'd go all Tony Jones on you and format it as a mini QandA. Is that trademarked? Will Tony mind? How will it work without any audience? Does anyone, and I mean anyone, know what I am talking about?
For the half a dozen or so of you pushing on with this blog, a hearty and sincere thanks to you and here we go:
1. What was more popular, pre-designed or 'design your own' gift boxes?
I'd say 'design your own' gift boxes got in by a nose. Corporate customers have tended to like the predesigned options, perhaps because support staff have a lot of demands placed on them and it's quicker to select a pre-designed option? Individuals have in general, preferred the 'design your own' option.
2. What's the most popular 'design your own' item?
It's only early days, so it's hard to suggest a genuine 'trend'. Generally speaking, Formulary 55 bath and body products, candles, Bahen and Co chocolate, notebooks and coffee and have been popular.
3. How many items do people buy?
The average number of items per order is 3. At first, customers seemed a little shy about ordering fewer than a trifecta of items and we had a few phone calls and emails asking about this. There appeared to be concern that the gift wouldn't look significant enough with only a couple of items - but it's all good - we use the most suitable of our 3 sized boxes, and make sure every box that leaves looks perfect.
4. What's the best part of your job so far?
This is easy! Hand writing messages on the note cards that are sent with each box wins this by the length of the straight. I smile every single time I write a card out. People are so lovely, and are kind and generous friends. I've read and written the loveliest messages to welcome a new baby or cheer someone up after bad news. I've also read some cute/unusual/qwirky nicknames/pet names between friends and that always makes me happy.
5. Are there any stressful parts to running the business?
Um, yes, I'm not gonna lie, it's tough starting a new business from scratch. The website construction was an absolute nightmare and delayed beyond belief. I lodged a protest and it was sorted out, but it was not the easiest thing I've ever done. Things have settled now, but there's this little thing called "search engine optimisation" that is keeping me awake at night. Algorithms, key words, meta data...wow, just wow! Somehow, I have to figure out how to get Bundle + Twine to page 1 of a Google search...any suggestions? No really, any suggestions?
Unlike Black Caviar who preferred the shorter distances, we're keen to be 'stayers' in the gift giving business - more Melbourne Cup distance if you like (so maybe 'Makybe Diva' is a better reference?). Anyway, we want to be around for a long time. So for the first part of this year we will be concentrating on getting our product mix just right, continuing to source new products and designing some new gift boxes in time for Valentine's Day for all you lovebirds out there.
Until next time.