It’s been a wild month and a half and there’s no place better than this to talk about it. We knew when we were talking about it in the early stages of designing it that people would find it funny but the reception we received for this collection has been mind blowing. Of course, we’re incredibly happy that it has been so well received and have loved all the feedback you guys have been giving us. This is the first time we experienced such a huge response to our brand and it was exciting but also very overwhelming at first. With it, there came such a steep learning curve on how to deal with, well, everything to be honest. It was terrifying at first but we were also pretty determined to take it head on and we learned so many new things on the way.
Customer service was the biggest challenge we faced without a doubt. Before, that was something that didn’t really exist. We got an order here and there and we fulfilled it and that would be that. In this situation though, we had to be far more nimble and solution focused. The sheer volume and the influx of orders really hit us hard. We remember the first two days seeing a 17,000% increase in traffic on the site and just being blown away. We didn’t have much of a supply chain set up because we never thought we would need to and as two university students, the time we had to spend on the brand was pretty limited. It was exhilarating to stay up those couple of nights as we watched sales go into the hundreds and do our best to fulfill all of them. As a two man team, we took turns at making sure every single address was filled out right and every order was the right size and dimensions. After a while, everything really does start to seem the same. On top of everything, COVID-19 had logistics chains grinding to a halt not to mention we were just starting to see what other shipping options were out there. Although once we submitted an order through it was out of our control, we were constantly on the phone with our supplier in the States to see what we could do to expedite the process which involved ordering the blanks (another place for shipping delays!), then treating them, then printing them, and then shipping them out. The final step is always the worst because our shipping partner at the time would not get back to us which was so frustrating and that was coupled with a glitchy tracking platform that somehow become more infuriating by the day.
At the same time, as the brand selling them, we knew it was still our responsibility to do what we can for our customers. We wish we could thank each and every one of you for the immense patience you had and for understanding our plight even when you did not have to. There was a time when our inbox had some less than pleasant messages but seeing the nice ones always pushed us forward to see what else we could do.
While it may not have been the smartest financial decision, we had to get creative to make sure you were able to enjoy your special days and occasions. The two of us started reprinting orders with our local supplier (you’re the man Peter!) and started renting cars and dropping off orders personally whenever and wherever we could between classes, work and all the other good stuff. While we do enjoy driving, sometimes it can get a tad tiring but being able to see our customers satisfied at least from a distance was worth it, as corny as that sounds. It was probably the first time we were able to see our products being physically in the hands of other people which is a little bit of a thrill even now.
While all of this was very exciting, we knew we wanted to be able to give back some of the profits we had made to causes that we believed in and thought genuinely made a change in the community. That's how we ended up donating a portion of proceeds to The Covenant House which definitely would not have been possible without everyone who shopped from us. Since then, we have been making sure to take note of other causes and charities that we want to contribute to in the future which we are looking forward to.
All things do come to an end however but we are glad that this story had several surprises along the way. It was able to come full circle with Doug Ford himself taking delivery of the t-shirts (he picked the Happy Meal and the Cheese one, if you were curious). Of course, these were never meant to be a political statement and we do hope everyone was able to get a chuckle out of them. Another thing we never thought would happen is our products being sold at a very cool store but the folks at Blue Banana have been more than gracious in wanting to sell them and we can’t wait to go buy one ourselves just for fun! It has been a crazy journey these last few months, but we have been loving every second of it. If you had told us last year, we would get the chance to be on TV, or on the radio, or have articles written about us, we’d have thought you were mocking us but here we are now. As always, we owe you a huge thank you for your support and we hope you’ll look forward to our upcoming collections! Stay safe!
P.S. – Check out these pictures :)