One year on, so what have we learnt?

It’s been a whirl wind of our first year, I remember like it was yesterday I asked mum “shall we make a few bags and see if we can sell a few?”, but then again it does seem like a lifetime ago!

Over the past 20 years I have worked on so many amazing global brands launching new products but always looking forward but we never had time to look back at what we had delivered. I always use to say to my teams its so important to look backwards to see what you have learnt and what you could do better. So I’m trying to practice what I preach!

The last year has been such a learning curve, I like to think that we have gone from a kitchen table start up business though to a young emerging brand that’s now recognisable by consumers and shoppers and that’s super exciting!

So what have we learnt:

1.       It’s important to have a dedicated working space. 6 months ago I moved out from the kitchen table into one of the new Annie with Alex workshops (ie the spare room ). This has been a game changer, having a dedicated working space is so important to make you feel like a brand vs a hobby. It does not have to be a whole room even a small part of the kitchen where you don’t have to clean up every night makes it more real towards working towards your dream

2.       You must be organised and efficient. I have always liked to start a project and then finish it before I move onto the next thing, but actually starting one bag from start to finish is not an efficient use of time. I’ve learnt that you have to be a mini production line! Working on 5-6 bags of the same size and shape actually makes it quicker! This way rather than finishing 2 bags in a day you actually finish all 5! Which is really motivating!

3.       Talk to everyone. At Christmas I was chatting to a man who was waiting for his wife at another stall and he clearly said “ I don’t need a bag” my response “ that’s ok I like talking to people!” anyway we were chatting about lots of things Annie with Alex and he left about 15 minutes later. The event was not great and I was feeling a bit down when I got home but you pick your self up and do another one. At the next fair someone said to me “ I know you, I saw you at Blenheim place, or was it Hampton court?” I remember thinking…… oh no someone has stolen our brand idea and identity! He went on to talk about our brand story, how we came about, our products, the keys and our mother and daughter brand! All of the parts then clicked into place – this was the man who was waiting for his wife! He then followed on and said he still did not want a bag but will come to us when he does! My heart burst that someone remembered our story!

4.       Push your boundaries. I’m so comfortable on social media, happily posting pictures and comments from my sofa and for months I was admiring people doing live videos/ getting in front of the camera. One day I thought why not? It was exceptionally random and impulsive but loads of people contacted me saying “well done its so nice to see your face and talk at the same time! 😉” My videos are still not perfect, in the last one I think I said lovely 10 times! But hey I’m learning all of the time!