2023 marked Wazoo’s official 10-year-old birthday and now, we’re quickly approaching the 11-year mark! Time flies when you're building a business.
According to Inc. Magazine, 96% of businesses fail by the 10-year mark. From the outside, you’d hardly know Wazoo passed a very rare milestone that only 4% of businesses achieve. We are so used to keeping our heads down and driving forward, looking for the next opportunity…or fire to put out (pun intended). But we did it and we're proud of how far we've come.
THE AWESOME STUFF THAT HAPPENED
- The team accomplished 42 out of 52 goals that we set for the year via the Entrepreneurial Operating System, a program designed to help us focus on getting the important stuff done, first.
- To do a better job of engaging with our customers, Nick succeeded in sending out at least 1 new email per week for the entire year.
- We brought on our buddy JJ Morris to help us with this TikTok thing. He’s done/is doing a great job. His videos have gotten Wazoo millions of views!
- Since we’re product designers, not marketers, we brought on an advertising agency, Easy A Media, who was able to help us expand our exposure on social media in Q4. So yeah, they get the blame (and credit) for us selling out of stock on some of our top gear during the holiday season.
- Released new packaging made from recycled paper, PLUS it's completely recyclable and burnable, for most of our top products.
- We were featured in over a dozen major magazines, including The New York Times!
- Our Cache Beanie was worn on the hit TV Show ALONE by our friend Teimojin Tan.
- We released another batch of our controversial Crap Bags. And they sold out within hours… again.
- Dustin went on a worldwide scavenger hunt to find plants on our Foraging Bandana and found tons in Canada, Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands, The Czech Republic, Jordan, and even found a prickly pear in Egypt. Here’s when he found 6 in Munich, Germany.
- We finished fulfilling orders from the Kickstarter for the Spark Necklace and launched them live on our website. The Viking Spark™, our combo fire-starting and sharpening necklace, immediately became one of our most popular pieces of gear ever.
- And sadly, I (Dustin) experienced a devastating family tragedy in the middle of the year, but boy was it a humbling and inspiring opportunity to see the strength of our team as they stepped up and allowed me the time I needed.
Our new recyclable kraft packaging for products. Plus, the Viking Spark™ Necklace includes jute for tinder and you can burn the box too!
Dustin found Burdock in Germany, using the Foraging Bandana.
Now these are definitely the highlights of the year.
The reality is that it’s the small daily wins that have allowed us to grow and continue as a small business. Like when Noelle figures out the seemingly impossible task of how to connect multiple pieces of complex and separately engineered software, or how Tara articulately spreadsheets the multi-variable juggle of timing and quantity of ordering from over 50 different suppliers, or simply when a customer takes the time to leave a heartfelt review of how one of our pieces of gear made their life better!
While we did lots of big things in 2023, we're looking forward to doing even more in 2024 for the business as a whole. So here's what we'd like to accomplish:
- International customers, get excited, we’re aiming to bring on a new international distributor to cut down shipping time and costs.
- Increase our number of domestic wholesale accounts, allowing for Wazoo products to be available in more brick-and-mortar stores and cool online shops, with the help of our new sales rep., Mat Gillenwater at Summit View Source.
- Continue building out our online User Manuals to help customers get started with their gear and better understand the often overlooked, nuanced complexities of our products.
- Expand our benefits to our employees, like retirement options, to retain our incredible talent.
- Introduce new email flows to make sure we are properly educating, entertaining, and enlightening our present and future customers.
- Launch a few new pieces of original and innovative gear! Get stoked!
- Lastly, with our beloved Warehouse Associate, Jenn, taking her coaching business full-time (congrats Jenn!), we’re now looking for a full-time Warehouse Manager!
Thanks for supporting and watching this journey. It’s challenging, it’s rewarding, and it’s worth it. Although we’ve been playing this game for a while now, we feel like we’re just getting started!