As I sit here on a comfy sofa at the in-laws place in Sweden, i'm reflecting on the year that was 2015. Yes its still officially going, but winding up from a work point of view. In this fresh winter air, i've had some time to reflect on the year, a relatively rare moment. I, probably like most people, don't often spare a moment to think about the good stuff, always too busy worrying about the negatives...so have picked out some photos which sum up some of our main achievements during 2015. So here goes:
No.1 Launched 5 new styles
Some business-y people say to stick to the winners and go for market penetration before introducing new colors and styles. Well, i just couldn't help myself. Feedback from lots of customers gave us information that people were looking for some different styles and colors. This year in 2015 we freshened up our colors adding navy blue and graphite gray. We also added 5 new styles to the collection including the messenger, picnic pannier, musette, satchel and mini backpack. We also wanted to add an alternative bicycle fixing hardware which is on the picnic pannier and messenger, more of a quick release system. The other bags such as the satchel and musette were styles we love due to their cross over between cycling, work life and fashion accessories. They have been really well received so far.
No. 2 Photoshoot for SS16 Look book
We were lucky enough to work with a very talented young stylist called Aaro Murphy. He helped bring to life my vision of this campaign featuring 'real' girls and boys with our bags. We also had a great experience in his ramshackle studio in north london, witnessing true creativity and hard work in action. We were especially proud of being able to produce this professional standard shoot on a shoe string budget. With careful planning and everyone mucking in, we were able to achieve a fantastic result which really fit with our clean, retro style. (clue here: its easy to do clean / minimalist on a shoestring budget!) I have to mention that this would not have been possible without the help from some talented students from UCA Epsom the fashion management and marketing course.
No. 3 Exhibiting at Spin London
This May we exhibited at Spin London urban bike show, it was held at the Old Sorting office in Holborn in central London. Its a relatively new thing to have an urban bike show in London, and we are proud to say that we have taken part in all the shows since it started. Run by a legend Alex Daw, he works tirelessly to bring urban cycling to mainstream popular culture. Its still a little niche i have to say, but without shows like this, people and press would have no idea of the innovation and creativity happening at the heart of the London bike scene.
No. 4 Raising £20K on Kickstarter
I decided to sacrifice all trace of my birthday in favor of some punishment, anyone else who has embarked on a fund-raising campaign like this would agree. We did a Kickstarter campaign. It was a month of obsessive behavior and probably annoying a lot of family and friends. It was actually our second Kickstarter campaign which was a bit of a risk to do. We really need to raise some money to pay for our manufacturing so offering pre-sale on our bags through an intensive campaign seemed a reasonable thing to do. We worked pretty hard to get it funded in the end including bike rides around London seeing bike shop owners and trying to convince them to pledge large sums of money in return for stock to arrive in a few months. The hard worked paid off because we reached our target in the end... by the skin of our teeth... but nonetheless it was a success! If you want to check out our campaign you can see it here.
No. 5 Getting stocked at the Design Museum
Ok, so this is a rubbish photo, but it shows our bags in real life at the Design Museum shop in London. Getting into this shop was really a dream come true. Ever since my student days and early career as an industrial designer, this museum was the place that got my heart fluttering. The ultimate designer's dream was to have something they designed in this shop. And here the are! (shoved on a little box but who cares!) It was no mean feat though, getting them in. It look chance - exhibiting at Spin London and meeting someone who worked there, then joining that thread with another contact who i did a favor for in return for the buyer's details. Lets just say that, we had to work it to get here and we will need to keep working it to stay there. It was a proud moment for me personally.
No. 6 Meeting this amazing bunch
Having your own business can be a bit lonely and it can be hard to keep the motivation levels high. Thats why i rate my cycle girl network as one of the most important networks for me personally and for Goodordering. A bunch of people who, just like me are doing their own thing and we are all helping each other doing it. Some of the usual suspects are missing from this photo, but pictured here are Rachel from Michaux Club, the purveyor of beautiful bags and a friend from several years of bike trade shows, Naomi from Hackney St Cloud, Clare Farrel from No Such Thing, a cool girl to have around and the designer of a high end range of women's cycle apparel and Katie from Katies Bikes, one of the bravest ladies around who lives in a caravan and makes beautiful jewelry from recycled bike parts. The other key people not in the picture here are an idol of mine Jeni from London Bike Kitchen, Greta from Vel-oh, the lovely Rachel Thompson from Blaze, and Alexandra Davis from Look mum no hands. These girls are not only doing creative, entrepreneurial stuff but they are doing it collaboratively and supportively by being part of this important bike community that i am so proud to be part of. The short guy in the centre is my son Otto-li who also should take some credit for having to share large chunks of his childhood with a bag business.
No. 7 Launching Goodordering in Korea
This one i still can't believe is true, but yes, we have launched in South Korea! I can't take full credit for this coming about but i dearly thank Google reverse image search. Its a long story and i'd need a nice glass of whisky to tell it all, (email me if you want the full low-down), but now we have a partnership with a Korean business woman who loves Goodordering (as much as me) and has spent a lot of time and money setting it up for a successful launch in Korea. We can't thank her enough or our lucky stars!
No. 8 Getting married!
I tricked my long suffering partner Mia Wallden into marrying me earlier this year. We were already pretty committed to each other due to this little guy in the photo above, but it was made official in front of our friends and family in Hackney, east London on the 18th July (i'm writing it here so i won't forget). But on a serious note, Mia has held the following positions in the Goodordering corporation: Spell-checker, editor, head of post room, taxi driver, social media photographer, shrink, life coach, sales executive and debt-collector. I couldn't thank her enough and definitely could not have done much without her. I'm glad she is also in this for the long haul.
No.9 Getting stocked in Magma
Once is luck, twice is more down to some kind of skill. So, this is why i almost choked on my cup of tea when i received a great order from this legendary retailer, Magma. Any graphic designer worth their weight in gold around London would know of this shop which also not-so-recently opened up a product design store similar to that of the Design Museum. Selling my bags in the context of the design stores as well as in bike shops was a big breakthrough for me. It evens out the seasonality of cycling and also presents the bags in the design context that i admire so much. The most satisfying thing that i learnt about wholesaling product over the last couple of years is that there is no point pushing your product into a shop that doesn't attract your target final end consumer. As i'd always designed the bags with the Magma audience in mind, you can imagine how pleased i was to land this gem and connect with Magma's most lovely buying team.
No.10 Breaking the 1000 barrier on instagram
Goodordering has been a great outlet for our Instagram obsession. Like watching a garden grow, we have been cultivating our instagram with love and affection over the last two years. One of the most successful campaigns has been the #GOSTYLEDOSE hashtag where my partner Mia and I photograph interesting looking commuters during our own daily commutes to work. If you happen to ride along the 55 london bus route or the 26 or 48, then there is a chance you have been snapped by either Mia or myself, especially if you have #cyclechic. When we hit out 1000th follower we felt waves of love pulsating through cyberspace!
No. 11 Goodordering hits Sweden
Formex fair in Stockholm is one of the biggest design trade fairs in arguably one of the most stylish regions of the world. We are excited to be working with a Swedish partner to get our bags our in the Scandinavian marketplace represented by an expert in this region. Watch this space for updates here. And if anyone knows any of the buyers at my favorite swedish design store www.designtorget.se, please let me know!!
No. 12 Happy customers talking about us
The happiest messages i get are the ones where customers have uploaded pictures of their Goodordering bags on their adventures around the world. Lets face it, running a business is hard and customers will not wait a heartbeat before complaining about something - whether it be a late order or a broken zip and that is fair enough, i do the same! So, when a customer takes the time to send me a photo or tag us on a picture where they are showing off their Goodordering bag as they have in these images above, it definitely gives us the fuel to keep going. Thanks everyone who has supported Goodordering in 2015. We love you!!!!