Let's get the tired clichés out of the way: growing a business is a rollercoaster. I'm sorry, it's just the perfect analogy. It is equal parts thrilling and terrifying and you're not always sure what's coming after that slow climb or sudden twist. And sometimes, you feel like you might puke.
No? Just me? ...
Anyways, what I'm trying to say is that overall, building Pela has been incredibly inspiring and exciting!
This year, we set out our intentions on a few specific goals:
- Grow Pela as a business —this includes sales, community, partnerships
- Displace plastic waste, one case at a time
- Raise awareness for bioplastic alternatives for short term use products
- Raise money for important causes that help protect our oceans
- Make Pela a company people are proud to rally behind
10x Growth in 1 Year
- 10 X Sales
- Over 20,000 cases sold from our website
- Over 35,000 Pela Fam strong on Instagram
- Over 12,000 Pela Fam strong on Facebook
- Over 2000 Reviews & customer photos
As a small team (literally 4 people) we've had to roll up our sleeves, wear as many hats as humanly possible and hustle like we've never hustled before. But truth be told, four people couldn't possibly have grown Pela to this level alone.
If you're reading this, you've probably supported our efforts in some way or another. Our all-star community was vital in helping us get the word out about our eco-friendly phone case. Word of mouth is a powerful thing and we're so lucky our community has helped share our mission far and wide.
20,000+ Compostable Cases
We get this comment a lot (paraphrased):
Why focus on phone cases when there are so many other plastic products polluting our planet?
We agree, there are SO many ways to tackle plastic waste - how much impact can a compostable phone case have?
In 2016, Apple (just Apple) sold it's billionth phone in less than a decade. And millions more this year alone. We can't take back all the plastic waste created from tech accessories over the past decade but we can look forward and displace more plastic waste ending up in our landfills and oceans for hundreds to thousands of years.
It may be a little piece of the puzzle but if we don't tackle it, who will?
That being said, we will put our thinking caps on and keep creating products to curb waste for more smartphones, devices and much more in 2018 :) Stay Tuned!
Hey Mom! Pela's On BuzzFeed?!
Too bad my mom has no idea what BuzzFeed is o_O ...but it's still pretty darn cool.
Raising awareness about plastic alternatives has always been our mission—that's why our cases show off those conversation-starting flax fibres! Beyond our case, we felt so honored to have so many awesome publications spread the word about our eco-friendly phone cases! From Mashable to BuzzFeed to Going Zero Waste to Be Zero Org...we'd like to thank all the bloggers, video makers, publishers and Instagram ecowarriors and so many more for taking the time to tell our story! And everyone who clicked, watched and shared!
Our Biggest Splash: Save The Waves
On top of being a member of 1% for the Planet and using our Referral Program to donate money from sales to charities like World Wildlife Fund and Amnesty International, we are so proud of our partnership with Save The Waves Coalition (savethewaves.org) that launched halfway through 2017.
Almost $20,000 Raised!!
With your help and combined with our Take 5, Give 5 campaign, we were able to donate almost $20,000 this year (with 3 more days left!)
From Australia to London to Germany to Malaysia to the US and Canada, there are so many Save The Waves Pela Cases out there. This gives us so much hope that together we can course correct the damaging pollution occurring on our coasts!
Shout out to all the peeps, feet on the ground/sand, doing important work to help preserve our beautiful planet.
The Lows - Challenges & Opportunities
With great growth comes great responsibility -- wait, is that the saying?
Here's live footage of the Pela Team hard at work trying to keep up with orders and emails:
Okay, maybe we're not that cute. But the furious typing is pretty spot on.
Sometimes I'm nostalgic for the days I could have a little more time to get back to all the inquiries within an hour and have the day's orders out within a day. But the only reason we could do that was because...well things were pretty slooow.
So we worked hard behind the scenes while simultaneously our small but vocal Pela Fam helped spread our mission on social media and to their friends and families. Momentum began to pick up and lo and behold: Pela Case orders and emails started pouring in.
Of course, I wouldn't trade these busy times BUT here are some cold hard truths we had to face in these past few months:
- Our shipping is too gosh darn slow (we're SO sorry)
- Some of our shipping options are not 100% plastic free
- Our customer service is not as great as it can be (you guys deserve the best!)
- Our ability to create more product as the demand increases needs work
- Our beautiful light coloured cases are super high maintenance and stain very easy
- Our website needs to be more clear to avoid confusion and provide a smooth and easy shopping experience
- Our product should be in stores when people are most likely to need/want a case
- We all could be better at our own personal plastic footprints in our everyday lives
Looking Forward - 2018 and Beyond
Are any of you reading this and nodding your head?
If you've thought any of this—that our service sucks, our shipping is painfully slow, your case is dyed blue and you're kind of annoyed—PLEASE know that we hear you, we feel you and we are putting our nose to the ground to work on solutions for each of these pain points.
If you have more feedback for us, we are happy to hear it at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you as fast as our paws can type!
Thank you all endlessly for the most thrilling year of our lives - if you're holding your Pela Case while reading this blog, I just want you to know...I think you're awesome.
Thank you for all that you do to care for our planet.
All the Good Vibes & Cheers to 2017
Sunta & the entire Pela Team