An Honest Review of 2019
There’s truly never a dull moment in startup land, though every once in a while I wonder if we’re also “special” in how many $%^&@# challenges we have.
Our commitment to compostable packaging has certainly slowed our growth significantly.
However, sustainability is something we are 100% committed to. My husband recently observed that I am “ruthless” in Rasa’s commitment to our values.
I truly don’t think I’ve ever been described as ruthless in my life before...and I’m proud to say, I deserve it in this case. But perhaps, therein lies the rub with the $%^&@# challenges? 🤷 Sustainability is slower, more expensive, and more complicated across the board.(Insert side bar about how I wish capitalism accounted for externalities!)
Here’s an honest look at both high and lowlights each month last year, from my perspective. Read, laugh, and cringe along!
Actual footage of my actual living room this actual morning. This is what happens when moms dare to go to the bathroom for 84 seconds.
We ran out of printed bags. CRAP! But wait. Operation Unicorn! Let’s put 9 oz into an ugly stickered bag with a unicorn on it. Put unicorn toys into a few winning bags. Disaster averted, and an accidental Rasa mascot is born!
We launched these. They were a huge hit. #twss
We hired Talita, our Marketing Manager! Talita helped build @thedetoxmarket’s marketing department, has traveled the world living the true digital nomad’s dream, & unfortunately for us at the Rasa Casa, is a surf-lover so there’s little chance we’ll ever get her to move to Boulder. But we try still to convince her!
We hired Catie, our Brand & Content Manager! Catie is a fly-fishing, standup comedian-ing, amazing-chef-ing wellness & outdoor junkie (did I mention she’s single?) who gives great GIF & makes the words good. She did not write that sentence & would not allow you to see this sentence if she had an edit on it. She also introduced me to @ilizas & for that I am forever grateful.
I took a vacation! Well, half of one. I spent half of it filming for a shall-not-be-mentioned secret-but-famous-thing-that-didn’t-materialize, and writing a Mother’s Day email rant about cultural (& self-imposed) expectations of mothers being way too high. Then I sank my phone in the ocean, and officially, forcibly unplugged for the other half of my vacay. We also became @whole30 approved, hooray!
Need a vacation from caffeine? Try the New Year Energy Reset!
In our quest for compostable, we launched our THIRD round of packaging! In just 14 months! Anyone who has a consumer product business will get a headache just reading that! (Side note: 4th packaging launch coming SOON! 😬😱) More exclamation points for effect!!!!!!!!!
Honestly, not a lot happened in July. July is one of our lowest sales months of the year. Pretty sure we spent most of the month freaking out about that and spinning our wheels trying to change the weather, amidst preparing for Fall. Did I mention that cold Rasa is delicious? (or moreover, that cold drinks aren’t good for your digestion anyway? Either way—we’ve got you covered! 😜)
I took a stab at making a funny video, and it worked! Well, decide for yourself. I made this in the ultra-fancy production studio called Le Basement, using an amazing camera called “Le iPhone.” It took about 4 days.
We launched AIP Rasa, hired the marvelous Marguerite (who many of you will encounter via customer service), and made up a holiday, cuz what’s a coffee alternative company to do when National Coffee Day rolls around? Celebrate Intergalactic Coffee Alternative Day, of course!
I got on camera in my underwear for another funny video about burnout (ironic because right after it launched is when I started to realize: I’m burned out! 😱) Also filmed in Le Basement, this one took about 8 days all-in. Catie, Talita, & I went to FounderMade (honestly? Meh.) Then we had 2 major operational crises within 24 hours of each other, and we started freaking out that we had no plans for Black Friday yet.
Which turned out to be a great thing! Our (4th round of) packaging was delayed at least a month 🤬, so we couldn’t encourage people to stock up lest we have a Unicorn Reprise in Jan 2020! So instead, I drastically over complicated all of our lives by making some epic holiday bundles (they’re amazing, but #neveragain. Sorry, team.)
We hired Caitlin, our Fulfillment Queen—she brings order to the chaos of logistics and packs each box, sending it to you with love! There were more holiday sales, I cried at least a few times for sheer want of a solid break to tend my burnout, and meanwhile we were hard at work on several HUGE projects (new packaging, new product, new site, new membership program, all in Q1 of the new year!) And we started a hiring process for an Operations Manager and a Customer Care Lead.
Whew. It’s a constant rollercoaster, and for next year, my two main intentions for Rasa are: Simplify & Systematize. I need to be living in alignment with our values of sustainable energy, and in my passion to bring Rasa to the world (& be the best mother I know how to be), I’ve lost sight of that.
God willing, we won’t be doing another packaging change for a few YEARS, so that will help hugely! (You’d be shocked at how much work packaging changes take!)
And once our new packaging, product, & site are launched, I’m taking a real vacation!
Wishing you a wonderful new year,
Author: Lopa van der Mersch