The Challenges of Being A Startup
This week I thought I'd give you all a little insight into what we've learned in our time as a company. Since our initial meeting almost exactly two years ago until today we've had a crash course in how to start and run a business. I don't think any of us really had a clue of what we were getting ourselves into that first night in a little home in Provo, Utah. The biggest joy I've personally had so far in our journey has been the ability to see something you started to grow and begin to flourish. Being able to do that with four of your best friends is a fantastic added perk. Although our journey is still relatively young, we've had our fair share of challenges and struggles.
In August of 2017 we had conceptualized a name, visual identity, successfully placed an order for our first 1,000 shirts. We had high hopes and huge goals thinking we could easily hit $100,000 in funding during our first Kickstarter campaign. After quickly coming down to Earth and realizing our expectations may have been a bit too high we came out of that initial Kickstarter happy and excited to push forward securing just a hair under $22,000. Our initial feedback on the shirts was almost exclusively positive and we felt that things were about to kick into overdrive.
However, after that initial push, we saw sales stagnate, our collective interest begin to wain as school, work, and relationships took the front seat, and it seemed like Blue and White Collar would be nothing more than a fun experiment. We decided to make another push and introduce a blue shirt and a new Kickstarter campaign to drum up more excitement around the company. We took all of our earnings and pushed it all into an order of 2,000 shirts (1,000 white and 1,000 blue). This is where we really ran into some issues. Once we received our shipment we quickly realized that a large percentage of the white shirts were off colored and the factory, as well as our distribution channels, were unwilling to work with us to make it right. This paired with the fact that Kickstarter had reworked their website to hide fashion projects, which historically performed poorly on the site, making it nearly impossible for anyone to discover our project. Our campaign ended with a shade under $19,000 in the bank, which was a massive disappointment to all of us.
After unsuccessfully trying to get our shirts in several local stores, that disappointment grew. After failing to gain capital via several student competitions, the disappointment grew even stronger. This disappointment led to more stagnant sales and more worries that this was no more than a side project with friends. However during the summer of 2018 things suddenly began to turn around as our sales began to spike and we began to really pick up steam.
The hard work we had put in over the past year and a half had begun to yield results. People liked their shirts and wanted more. They were telling their friends about the shirts and those people were buying. The disappointment we had felt began to dissipate with these successes. Now that things were beginning to head in the right direction we had to invest in a new manufacturer, advertising, the pursuit of capital, and more things that we can't yet discuss. The struggles we have had as a new company aren't by any means novel but are vitally important to our company story. The idea of perseverance as a common trait has been one that has and will continue to propel us well into the future with this company.
We are unbelievably excited about the direction we're heading in and we can't wait to share everything with you. There will undoubtedly be countless struggles ahead, but we firmly believe the successes will easily outweigh any opposition we end up facing. Thank you so much for your support whether you were one of the first people who bought a shirt from us or just discovered us today. You make all of this possible.
-Jordan and the Blue and White Collar team