Monday, March 30, 2009

We are small

I just read this article from The Harvard Business Reveiw. I found it via a blog I love to read, written by Josh Kamler (it's a well written blog - which is the type of blog I like to read). It is about the people who have started businesses because they love what they do - about the thousands of companies who are doing well enough to provide a great place for a bunch of people to work. Businesses "whose owners are trying to build sustainable businesses they love rather than fast-growing companies they can flip. They have no intention of retiring. They like working in them. And their clients know that. Which is why they have a loyal customer base willing to invest in the relationship."

Many of you have been willing to invest in us. You have bought our bags, written about our business, mentioned us to your friends, featured us in your mags and blogs - and we think that is awesome. Your support has made it possible for our business to expand in ways that provide work for a few other people. We all work hard. We like what we do and we do it well. Everyday, I make lunch for the people that work with me. We cook a pot of rice, chop up a vegetable, toss it with some Braggs and recharge for a half hour in the middle of the day. It is the part of the day we all look forward to. Not just because of the nourishment, but because it is a fulfilling part of the day. Because we are small, we can do things like this. I hope we can always do things like this.

We are a tiny company doing big big things. We started just over two years ago with no real intention of becoming anything other than a few things here, a few things there. I did not even have a clear sense of what it was I wanted to be doing. But, I designed The Market Bag. It went through a few variations, all of which were very public - at that time we did everything within our Etsy shop. I think its name went from The Farmer's Market Tote, to The Farmer's Market Bag to the Market Tote to finally, The Market Bag. Many of you watched that evolution happen. The design was refined, my skill set expanded, I learned how to use more specialized equipment, I learned how to build a business, I grew...and you all watched and supported as that happened. It has been super rewarding.

I prefer to keep to myself. I like to be anonymous. I have a very small circle of friends (whom I tell everything to) but in contrast to my daily life, I have lived out our business growth on the internet. A very public place. I've made mistakes and been too emotional at times but, I've learned a lot while doing it. I know I still have a long way to go, but I am glad we are still going and that we have had fun doing it! I quit my "paycheck job" a year and a half ago and never looked back. And, very soon, Jeremy will be joining me full time at Moop (more on that later). An exciting thing. But, it means we have to grow some more. We have been lucky to have one full time income to count on every month - while mine has been steady, it can be rather unpredictable. And anyone who has ever started a business knows, everything you make goes right back into making your business better. We work and work and work to do what we do and we're getting better every day. We're committed to this process and feel pretty strongly that it shows through in the product we produce.

I think Peter Bergman is right on. Small is the new big - and I'm glad we're part of the big group of small businesses. I just want to say, thanks for your support. It has meant the world to us.

18 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful post! You couldn't have said it better- the love and dedication it takes to run a small business is like nothing else. Congratulations on all of your success so far!

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  2. moop, you have inspired me with your story, and it's wonderful that you've shared it~

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  3. A wonderful story and a great article, my wife and I love our bags and use them everyday. Creating and running a small business has been quite the ride for me so far, your story and success has been a huge inspiration along the way. Thanks!

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  4. Thank you for writing such an inspirational post. I hope I can say the same words in a few years.

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  5. great story. thanks for the link!

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  6. wonderful post, and a great article that i'm so glad you shared. cheers to the small business revolution!

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  7. I'm proud to own one of your bags- the best damn bad I've ever had- and have used consecutively for over a year and never tire of it. I'm glad to hear your business integrity is as solid as your product (which really stands to reason).

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  8. wendy...
    thank you so much for sharing so much of you and moop with us every day.
    i know that i've thoroughly enjoyed watching moop grow and am so happy and proud to feel like i am a part of this... (as all of us readers and moop bag owners are)

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  9. Wonderful, inspiring, well written. No wonder you are successful, a great example to follow.
    Lisa

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  10. Well done, it sounds like a lovely place to work. I'm just back from a holiday in Japan and your Market bag was the best thing I brought with me. It's the only bag I have that will fit my camera and have room for the girly necessities too.

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  11. This entry was an inspiration.
    Thank You!

    -Gerrae Simons

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  12. I loved reading this! Thanks for sharing your business mind with us. It's very inspiring!

    I agree, the small business's make much more sense than the huge corporations. I do shop at big stores sometimes, but most of them lack the emotion and connection that small businesses have. Maybe one day we'll be back to the Good Ol' Days with small shops, an owner who knows you by name and unique wares made from the heart. Maybe one day the world will be on Etsy (:

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  13. i'm so proud to own one of your bags. and i love your story. i tell everybody about it. handmade. usa. organic cotton. it makes me happy every day. and on days when i can't - for some reason - carry it, i miss it.

    and now, i'm off to look at the letter clutch. i have a birthday coming...

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  14. I have goosebumps! It is so awesome and inspiring what you have accomplished in such short time, and yet enough time to see you have created a sustainable, successful business. Wishing you many years to come, of success and satisfaction *

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  15. Very inspiring and uplifting to read your story! I bought a Moop market bag from your Etsy store a couple of years ago, and it has been a most stylish and practical companion ever since! I use it to transport my knitting gear, baby's bottles and all kinds of things you need to have in handy when you're a mother. It's a great bag!

    I think I will tell your story on my blog along with a pretty picture of your bag:)

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  16. i love your bags and posted about your gorgeous market bags a while back on my blog. your post is really inspiring, especially during a time like this. designers like you remind me why time and time again, i prefer to buy handmade. :)

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  17. beautifully said. you inspire many with your hard work, talent and dedication.

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  18. Great post - interesting, great to see people on the other side of the world doing well in small business - inspiring!

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