It’s Thanksgiving week, and for most people that means gathering with friends and family to eat a good meal, celebrate a happy and healthy year, and most of all reflect on all those things in life we take for granted. But as a small business, we’ve never needed a holiday to count our blessings – each day has it’s ups and downs, successes and failures, and part of being a successful business in this economic climate is celebrating those everyday wins.
Take for instance our move to US manufacturing. Bringing our apparel business back to the US was priority number one for our executive team, and when we transitioned business from Sri Lanka to North Carolina, we counted our blessings. Anytime you switch factories is a big risk for a company – will the new factory pick up where we left off? Will the product have the same quality? Same turn time? Can we fulfill all our orders? We answered all those questions this year. And, more than once, we failed. We didn’t get every order out on time. We had some quality problems. Our COO, a seasoned fashion and apparel veteran, has spent months on the floor with our workers showing them how to make our product and having tough conversations about craftsmanship and quality as we were making our garments. But despite the setbacks, we’re thankful. Our business model is greener than it’s ever been. We’re close enough to our factories to see School House clothing being made, and touch and feel our garments on the assembly line. And we’ve never had more public support for what we’re doing. Each day it seems we get a new email congratulating us on doing the tough work we’re doing to help rebuild our economy, and putting those priorities before making a profit or always getting it right.
And among the big wins, were the small victories. We signed on 60 new university partners this year, giving us a chance to reach more students with our brand and mission than ever before. We hired 3 new people, bringing our team to 5 and hopefully growing that much more in the next year to come. We also got some great press, designed a bigger and better Fall 2012 line, fundraised and joined forces with partners that will elevate and grow our business.
The point is this: for a small business, everyday is risk, a hurdle, a success story and a chance to be thankful. And to all the fellow startups and entrepreneurs out there, we’re just thankful for your camaraderie. Happy Thanksgiving!
XOXO, The School House Team