Happy New Year! I'm just starting to get the ball rolling with some 2020 goals so thought it would be a good time to share what the Urbansize plans are for the year.
I mean, is it even a new year without new stationary?
Growth vs sustainability
When I first started making plans in Q4 2019 for Urbansize, my first thought went to growth, how can we grow in 2020? I think this seems to be the natural go-to question for businesses forward planning but it made me think, why does growth have to be the ultimate goal for business?
Over the past two years we have been lucky to see significant growth in Urbansize and it has been a full time job managing those changes. Of course, I am so grateful that our products are getting seen and bought by more people and for the opportunity this has bought. However, it has not been without it's challenges.
late nights in the office in 2019
So this year, I want to just, be. Just enjoy where we have got to with the business and make improvements to what already exists. I'd love to improve the whole customer experience from start to finish, I want to streamline all our branding and most importantly, I want to work on sustainability (more on that below). If we are constantly growing, then those things tend to fall to the wayside as we firefight our way through the day to day problems.
On a personal note, my youngest, Dillan, will be going to school this year and I want to make sure I'm soaking up all those moments with him before he is at school for 5 days a week. It's a blessing to be able to spend the time with him and I dont want it to pass me by.
One of my goals last year was to be more social both on and off line. This is definitely something I achieved as I built more long term relationships with influencers who truly care about Urbansize and support us above and beyond. Special shoutout to Alex from @thefrugality, Gemma from @caffeineandcacti and Katie from @hello_haus who have all been just the most wonderful supportive human beings.
The lovely Alex from @thefrugality with our floating bedside AND some great GAP jeans
Gemma has been a big supporter of Urbansize from day one, here is our hallway tidy in her gorgeous home
I also had the opportunity to attend some fantastic events and meet a lot of new people.
Spending a 'crafternoon' with some Etsy sellers
Some of the highlights of this year were going to the Etsy 14th birthday party and meeting lots of other Etsy sellers and attending the Stockholm Furniture Fair and meeting some incredible designers.
I definitely plan to carry on expanding my network this year.
One of the biggest achievements for me of 2019 was designing and launching our Plywood range. It took the whole year to get this 6 piece range to market but it was totally worth it. So much goes into designing new pieces and getting them exactly right and then photographed and on the website. I will do a post on the whole process next month but suffice to say it has been epic! I enjoyed the process so much that honestly, even if no one else liked it or purchased anything I would be happy because I love how it has turned out and I'm really proud of it (but please buy something!!).
I plan to do so much more drawing and designing in 2020 and I've already made a start on a new alcove range. How much of this actually ends up on the website we will see! I'd love to do a small bathroom range having just really struggled to get pieces I liked for our micro bathroom but that's a whole other challenge. Kid's stuff too, anyone else struggle with kids stuff for small spaces?
I really want all of our furniture to have installation instructions on YouTube instead of in print. Firstly, it's so much more eco friendly but also, they are just so much easier to follow than written instructions. We already have one for the floating bedsides but I want to work on the rest of our pieces. I'd love to do some 'how to' styling videos as well for IGTV and YouTube to try and help people make the most of their furniture and spaces.
Last year retail was tough. With all that's going on in the world, people are spending less. In addition, small businesses often suffer from large companies copying their ideas and then offering them at scale and it's just not possible to compete. This is something that has definitely happened to us and all you can really do is move on to the next thing. 2019 has seen the demise of some of my favourite homeware small businesses and it really is heartbreaking to see people who have put their all into something have to let it go.
Floating bedsides are our signature piece
I've realised that all you can do is focus 100% on what your business does best (and that's quality), stay in your lane and hope for the best. Last year, I toyed with the idea of buying in textiles and accessories but I've come to the conclusion that people come to Urbansize specifically for what we can offer that other people dont. So, we'll continue to innovate and design furniture that helps small space dwellers and that's it, nothing more, nothing less.
I wrote a post earlier in the year here about how we are trying to make Urbansize more sustainable. Our efforts largely focus on product, where we source our wood from and how it is finished. Also, we don't market things as the next 'must have' thing or a new fashion. We make furniture that is quality and will last you so you only have to buy it once.
The one thing we still need to work on is packaging. It's difficult. We've really tried this year to find alternatives. Everything at the moment is packed in cardboard which is recyclable. However, to ensure that things arrive in one piece, we simply have to pad it with something. Currently, the only eco options we've found for this are incredibly expensive and would add around £20/package to each item. We are continuing to search for alternatives, and just hope that as demand for this kind of thing grows from consumers, so the prices will drop. If anyone has any recommendations for suppliers we would love to hear them.
So that's it! Enjoying where we're at and carrying on doing the work we do best. What are you plans for 2020?