YAY! One year! The blog has been up for much longer, but it was one year ago today that I pressed the button that turned on the store. Who knew so much could happen in a year? We had our first sale… and then our first sale to a stranger and then the next… and then the next and *poof* we’re a business. That was awesome. That IS awesome. It’s still a thrill every time we put a stamp on an envelope or see a new referral link to our website. (Today’s was a website from the Czech Republic, over 100 referrals in the last 3 days – thank you Google translate!)
To everyone reading this – thank you. Thank you for reading this blog. Thank you for taking the time to understand my words and the message we’re trying to send. Take care of yourself. Do something good in the world. If you wear one, wear a good bra and always make sure that the girls (or boys) are at the right height. And boobs can be really funny. Be sure to laugh a lot, too. Being happy should be the ultimate goal.
We’ve grown a lot in the last year – we are now fully stocked with all three colors in all four sizes. We’re continuing to work with Broadview Product Development and OmniFinishing to cut and finish The Strap Savers and are proud to work with the veterans at Scorpion HPC to apply the ceramic coating. We love keeping The Strap Saver 100% made in the USA! I’m pretty sure that this is the first time that any of these companies have worked on bra parts, but each one of them has a great sense of humor and I feel is invested in our success. Knowing that my suppliers are reliable helps me to sleep easier at night.
Our star managed to shine a little brighter this year, too. We were reviewed by one of Lingerie Addict’s top 7 blogs to read in 2015, A Sophisticated Pair. Erica. the owner, has become a Strap Saver advocate and a friend. You can also read more about us in a few other well-known blogs: JTouch of Style, Science and Silicone, Big Cup Little Cup, Two Cakes On A Plate, Lucy Loves and Trial by Beauty. While not everyone thinks we’re perfect (what are they thinking?? :) ), everyone talks about how well the product works. We also hit “the big time” with a great article by Devin Loring in the Asbury Park Press. I’ve been reading the APP for a long time, so it was a big boost to my ego and to our sales to have this feature. There’s just something about opening up a newspaper and breathing in that not-likely-to-be-good-for-you ink… :) (I have no idea if it’s really bad, I just imagine that it can’t be good… :) ) We even had our logo on a DeLorean mechanic helping Lyft and Verizon on Back to the Future Day!
We’ve also met some amazing women. Beth and I went to CurveNY in February and met women from all areas of the lingerie industry that contributed to our most popular blog, 10 Insider Secrets to Extend the Life of Your Lingerie. I met Angela of Sweetest Sin, a local lingerie store, who changed my mind about independent bra stores and shares my desire to work towards breast cancer education. I’m hoping we can partner on something soon! Beth and I spent an afternoon with Dana Donofree of AnaOno Intimates. In addition to her strength in the face of an ugly disease, she designs some pretty kick-ass bras.
One of our goals this year was to optimize the site and improve our search engine rankings. Thanks to the folks at Yoast, their free plugin and my strategy, we’re on the first page of results for every keyword. Traffic is up in every area of the site and I’m finding the blog being shared in new places!
We had a wonderful photo shoot – getting some amazing images. They’ll continue to appear over the year, showing off The Strap Saver, or not, as one of the merits is that the product is stealthy! These wonderful women – who shall remain nameless at their own choosing – came to Beth’s apartment and spent the afternoon in their underwear for us. (although it really didn’t seem that out of character for them…) They were lovely – and selfless, asking for nothing in return. Ladies, I will never forget what you did for us. And Ashley Card, a college student home on summer break, who should have been sleeping in, gave up a weekend to help us set up shots and take pictures. Thank you.
We didn’t get everything we wanted this year – we didn’t make it into some of our favorite websites (yet) and we didn’t make it onto any of the morning shows (yet). I’ve struggled not to throw the computer out of the window as I delve deeper into Google Analytics. (yet! This thing could go airborne any minute now.) I broke the website a few times when I was trying to improve it… (although I was smart enough to make backups so it was easy to fix!) So, these get moved to next year’s goals, as we’re not remotely done yet.
We have big plans for next year. We want to add some videos to the site (some with cats, some otherwise :) ) We want to get on those big websites and on TV. We want to expand our network and continue the wonderful friendships we’ve made in the industry. We are in the process of choosing charity partner, we want to get started on our promise of giving back. We’re considering expanding our color offerings. We’re gearing up for our annual sale. We’re looking forward to CurvExpo in February. 2016 beckons and it’s going to be a great one.
This past year wouldn’t have been possible without so many people helping us – Cheryl – my alpha tester. Ruthie, who has the misfortune of working near one our suppliers, so I talked her into helping me courier packages to save postage! (just joking, I couldn’t have a stronger supporter, I always appreciate that she goes out of her way…) Teri and Jena, talented information architects, helped me with some of the site improvements that you’ll see soon. Scott, thanks for your offer of web support – I haven’t fully bothered you about that, yet, but I will! Tiffany – thank you for sharing your excellent development skills. Shea Wong, who has been blogging since blogs began, helped me choose a strategy. Dad, for offering to help me vet a charity so that I know that our money is going to the right place and will truly help people. Abby, Jason, Kevin, Stephen, Rachel, Kim, Phil, Marion… and everyone who has listened to me blather on about this business for the past year, thanks for your patience and your feedback. (and for keeping the rolling of the eyes discreet)
And then there are the two major players in this company and in my life. Marc – you are a wonderful tech and business advisor, always looking out for me, Beth, and The Strap Saver. Thank you for always being there for me, for supporting me when I struggle and for celebrating the good times. I love you. No, you can’t retire yet but maybe soon! Beth – as I said when we started, you are the beauty that is this site. You’re always thinking and pushing me to be more creative. Your time, effort and dedication helps to make this company what it is – and your unwavering belief in me when I said “hey, let’s start a company and manufacture a product that’s never been done before and talk people into buying it!” keeps me going when I think I can’t do any more. And, of course, your friendship means the world to me, there are many times that I know I wouldn’t still be standing without you.
So onward and upward, as my mom would say, here’s to the next 12 months – I wish you all of the love and success in the world. Let’s meet again in a year and we can count all of the great things we have in our lives.