Behind the Scenes: A Summer of Trouble
Slowly and surely, the world is finding out just how great our Organic Hair Ties are. As the only biodegradable hair ties IN THE WORLD (yeah, we’re pretty proud to be changing the game), it’s not a big surprise that word is spreading. Seriously though, have you read the reviews on our Hair Ties (scroll to the bottom of the page)?
We’ve now got 100 + retail partners worldwide as stockists (well, on paper at least - more on that below) and we’re adding new stores every week. As an aside, if you own a shop and believe in selling good things, get in touch.
While we’re stoked/proud/grateful for the sales, what means the most to us is the community of change-makers spreading the word about these bad-ass little ties. Seriously, that stuff means an awful lot.
That’s all fine and good but not actually why I’m writing to you right now.
As many have noticed, we were sold out of Hair Ties for much of September and October. Pretty much the exact opposite of what we’re supposed to be when demand is this great - at least if we’re trying to put food on the table (which we need to do as we recently welcomed little human #2 to our household).
The truth is we’re learning here and this summer we made a mistake. Well, we kind of made a mistake.
Back in May we placed an order for the most organic cotton and natural rubber elastic ever made (I can’t back this statement up but feel in my heart it to be true). The plan was to make lots and lots and lots of plastic-free hair ties and ride the global wave to biodegradable goodness-revolution.
Everything was right on track until I got a call one day from our dye house - we love you, you super vigilant, family-run small business that cares deeply about your customers!
“Jesse, something isn’t right with your new elastic. It’s not like the other elastic we’ve dyed for you. When we dye this one it goes all wavy.”
Uh, that’s not the call I wanted. You see, we have customers around the world who’ve ALREADY ordered hair ties and now I’m going to have to tell them there is a delay. That’s not a good look.
That was back in June when we were panicking about a delay of what we expected to be a few weeks. Little did we know.
So we asked the Dye house to lop off 25 yards of the problem product and overnight it to our trusty-ol’ keeping-Americans-employed elastic mill on the other coast.
“Yeah, I think we can fix this problem for you, Jesse”.
Holy were we stoked to hear that! We continued on dyeing and paying for all the rest of the biggest-order-in-organic-elastic-ever, then rush shipped it to the mill on the other coast just to learn that…
“Thanks for getting the elastic to us just before our 2-week summer holiday, this way we can start on it right away when we get back”.
IN TWO WEEKS!! You can imagine our panic as our timelines started slipping. At least it was going to be fixed, though. Right?
Fast forward 3 weeks later, the once-wavy-now-straight (industrial scale ironing for the win) elastic is back on America’s western coast, this time with our mother-son-run production gurus. Time to make up for lost time - stoked!
“Jesse, we’ve been sewing this elastic and something is not right. It’s not like your previous elastic. It seems to have lost some of its elasticity”.
I’ll be honest in saying the walls of our house did actually feel like they were caving in that day. That’s because when you’re touting hair ties that really work, it’s pretty fundamental that they’re elastic in nature.
Once over the shock/frustration/sadness/guilt, we pulled it together and emergency ordered new elastic - this time twice as much as before because we were making up for lost time.
“Thanks for the new order and sorry about that last batch of elastic, Jesse. We know what went wrong here at the mill and will have it fixed. Only thing is, we’re out of your super soft, good-for-the-planet, community-empowering organic cotton and need more from our own supplier who is currently operating on a 6 week lead time.”
I may have taken some editorial liberties with that last quote.
So we get to August and orders from really good-looking, intelligent, kind-hearted, game-changing store owners/managers around the world are pouring in and we have to go back to them AGAIN to let them know the hair ties originally due in June are now going to be shipping in September.
A few weeks pass.
“Uh, Jesse, we have another problem”.
“Seriously? What more could possibly go wrong?”
“So that mill making the organic cotton…. well… they’re based on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina and are due for a direct hit from once-in-a-century Hurricane Florence. They’re shutting everything down and getting out of town”.
While the facility got hit head on and the flooding in their area was bad, thankfully the community escaped in relatively good stead.
It’s now early November and for the fits time in months, we have zero back-orders and stock on hand for shipping (albeit, limited in quantity).It’s been a summer and fall of back-to-back-to-back lessons and we just want to express from the bottom of our hearts: THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.
I’m sharing this story because I want you to know a few things:
We work with great people who care deeply about making the best products available. Their attention to detail and commitment to making top quality products is what we’re all about. We will never put out product that is not 100% perfect.
We ended up swallowing all the cost on that bad batch of elastic (it hurt!) and are looking for a way to recycle it to keep it from landfill. A costly lesson indeed.
We’re human and really, earnestly trying our very best with this business. We’re sorry about the delays and lack of product but please know we’ve learnt some very valuable lessons out of this process and those lessons already are making us better.
For all you amazing, really-good-looking customers that have held on with us, please know the most exciting changes in half a decade are coming to KOOSHOO in the next 12 months. By this time next year, this will be an all new and improved company. We’re so happy to have you along for the journey.
Oh, and by the way, I'm typing this from a hotel room high above the post-Diwali smoke of Delhi. Something truly exciting is afoot here and I can’t wait to share that with you soon!