I cannot tell you how stir-crazy I am to host a live upload again… I'm literally counting down the days. But, at present I'm splitting my time four ways: I'm working through our paperwork from last year, communicating with customers, doing much needed updates to our site and reflecting over our first year in business. I am still working daily 10-12 hours a day, just not in ways you can necessarily see.
The reflection part has not only a mental exercise, it's literally touching virtual copies of every single plant we sold last year and remembering the parts of the business I feel we excel at (and looking for ways to excel more) and taking a hard look at the areas we can improve and putting sustainable strategies in place around our weak spots. We have been brainstorming daily and have found some changes we're going to implement that will allow us to grow without impacting customer experience. I know we really struggled over our first holiday season and if we're to continue to grow this cannot happen again. I absolutely feel more confident than ever that we're about to be the best place out there to shop for rare succulents.
When I'm working in the business I cannot work on the business and our first year was a whirlwind, it literally feels like I blinked my eyes and January 2018 turned into January 2019. Last year was just so incredibly busy. It's been absolutely necessary for me to take a step back and put some of these changes in place. I feel like this step is overlooked by most first time business owners and I feel it's a very important and necessary step to evaluate the health of any new business. Did you know that thirty percent of small businesses fail in their first two years and more than half fail in their first five? It's really crucial to do this from time to time, when needed, to make changes. This business is my heart and failure is not an option. But, our model is difficult, especially with a living product and gaining perspective is critical at this stage.
The time 'off' has been tough to bear, not only for my personality, but as far as finances are concerned. I want you guys to understand this is my only job. So with that in mind, please try to understand how important I felt these changes were.
The biggest changes that you can see from your end this week will be our newly minted 'Help' tab. Guys, this has been a long time coming. It's so important that we have things like this in place. It seems like such a little thing, but this has taken us about 30 hours over the past two weeks to flesh out.
It is very, very, very important that you review this Help tab, especially the part about returns, which can be seen under the Policies and Practices section. These changes are going to be vital if we are to move forward, the paperwork has been mounting and moving forward things have to change in order to support the scale of this business model. I hope you can appreciate those changes, nothing about my core values has changed. These changes do not apply to past orders, but moving forward these new policies will stand.
This information was not made available anywhere on our site and we get so many questions on these topics every single week. So if you're on a desktop you can see the help time in the navigation bar under our logo name and if you're on mobile it will be on the side navigation menu at the bottom of your menu options.
It's not a super gorgeous help menu yet, keep in mind that I'm not a web designer :) We're going to have to work on laying it out a little better and adding visuals to it, but the words are in print now and will help new and old customers alike find the answers to their most asked questions.
We have also worked hard on archiving plants in such a way that can be navigated by our customers. We're not done yet, but we have moved about 3,000 plants into our archives, which can be seen here.
Introduction of Pinterest-
And while doing so we have started to duplicate some of these archived plants onto Pinterest as well, which is a brand new social platform for us.
If you're on Pinterest now might not be the best time to give us a follow just yet, we're pinning about 25-50 plants a day and following right now may result in pin spam, is that a thing? We're still new to the platform, but if 'pin spam' is a thing then I'm sure we're spammy right now. We hope to have our Pinterest account fully filled out by mid-March, at which point we'll be using it on a more periodic basis. But, if you are on there we'd love some repins :) Our Pinterest can be found here. Our username on that platform is: Cedar_Creek_Farmhouse
Artist Collaboration Update-
And has anyone noticed the change to Nina's banner on our home page? We're just about to wrap up our first collaboration together and I am really pleased with her colorful artwork. I can't wait to show you, but a little sneak can be seen there and I'll give you blog readers one more Easter egg:
If you would like text notifications when Nina's work is available please send a text with just the word VALKHOFF to 555-888.
So things are in work guys, I promise. I know it's been quiet from our customers' perspective, but we're working like busy bees to take this opportunity to make the Cedar Creek Farmhouse experience a better one. I will be addressing custom requests for the first two weeks of March, there's a significant backlog of those and then by mid-March we should be back up to our regular posting schedule.
I will try to touch base with you via blog posts every Saturday night until we're live. Our platform stinks in terms of letting us see our metrics on blog posts, so if you're reading this please drop a little comment below. I want to make sure you guys are seeing these and I'd love a 'hi, how are you?' I miss you guys so very much. If you'd like text notifications for when we post new blogs simply send us a text with just the phrase CCFBLOG to 555-888 and we'll let you know when there's a new post.
See you guys back really soon, I promise.