Happy New Year to you all! Ok it is 4th January so it’s a little late but still, is it just me or is it taking longer to get into the New Year New Me mentality this year?
This isn’t the kind of blog post I typically write, normally I’m focused on rounding up the best Instagram accounts to follow or guides on how to maximise space in a small bedroom. But today I thought I’d write something a bit more personal documenting our journey as a business and showing a bit more what is going on behind the scenes.
I’m not really one for resolutions, they feel a bit imposing but I am all for taking time to reflect back on the year that has just passed and working out some ways to improve upon anything that’s gone wrong and do more of what went right. So, with that in mind I’ve set some goals for Urbansize for the year ahead.
Investing in Team
Urbansize has grown massively in the last year and with that have come all kinds of challenges. There are so many aspects to dealing with a small business and at the beginning you run every role by yourself, marketing, customer service, accounting, distribution. There’s no business role that I haven’t taken on in the course of setting this business up. You name it, I’ve done it. As things have grown it just becomes impossible to do all of those things or at least to the level that I want them to be done.
Me packaging up orders in arctic conditions last winter
At the beginning of 2018, we started working with two amazing ladies, Emily and Hannah, who now deal with all of our distribution. They have done such a phenomenal job and given the rate we have grown this year it’s just so lucky that they came on board when they did. Our first business outsource was to them and it has been such a positive experience.
Boring photo, exciting times as we got a warehouse
As 2018 went on it became busier and busier and gaps started appearing where I didn’t even realise there were any before. Typically I have been using freelancers to fill in the gaps where I don’t have the skills (like graphic design and web development). However, now it is apparent that I need help with the every day work like admin and marketing support. So in 2019 I want to expand our small team so that we can continue to provide amazing service to our customers.
And actually I can’t wait to start working with some new people, being a small business owner can be isolating. I’ll be on the search over the next month or so for some talented people to join the Urbansize family.
Blogging and Social Sharing
This past year or so I’ve spent a lot of time on Instagram, posting images and sharing some of the behind the scenes into the business. Let me just say that I LOVE Instagram, it’s been incredible for meeting people and connecting with our customers in a way that you just can’t on any other platform. However, I’ve also got all the gripes with it that other people complain about. It’s sometimes hard to get your posts seen which is frustrating when you spend a lot of time creating content that you think your audience will find valuable.
So, I’ve decided to focus more on our own blog this year so expect to see a lot more personal blog posts like this one on our website. I love sharing our business journey with everyone. Partly because I love reading about other people’s experiences with business so it feels right to share a little about ours too.
Don’t get me wrong, I will still be all over Instagram, still wasting hours scrolling through all the amazing home accounts and chatting all things interior design. And a little on Facebook (is anyone still on there?) as well as Pinterest.
Creativity and Design
Designing and sketching is my happy place
My first love is design. There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending time dreaming up products that are going to be useful in people’s homes but are also stylish and simple. I love the whole process, bringing the design to life in the first prototypes, shooting it with a photographer and then eventually seeing it in customers homes. It still blows my mind how popular our little floating bedside table is and every time someone messages me to say how much they love it, I still do the little happy dance. And to think that it came out of my need to put my cup of tea next to my bed where there was no room for a bedside!
The floating bedside, where it all began
I wanted to design a lot more products in 2018 than I did. Where the business grew and expanded, a lot of my time was taken up in managing logistics and admin. There was no time for creativity. This year, hopefully, with some more team members on board, I will be able to get back to my first love and bring some more products to the website.
At the moment, I mostly work from home and a little bit from coffee shops or the library. I’m starting to feel like I need a space away from home partly so that there is some distance but also so that I can actually interact with some other humans! As a working mum, I spend a LOT of time in my home. Which I love. But sometimes it would be good to get out a little more. Now that my kids are a bit older and at nursery (they are 4 and 2), I think 2019 will be the year that I can commit to a regular work schedule so a co-working space or shared office would be perfect. I feel like this will go hand in hand with expanding the Urbarnsize team.
Current work situation
Lighting, accessorires and textiles
In 2018 I’ve really focussed down on Urbansize designed products on the website, most of what is on there is furniture we design and make. There are a few select lighting and accessories pieces from other suppliers but it is pretty limited in scope right now. I’m starting to think we need to expand that and so this year, I’m going to really investigate that.
My favourite lamp of 2018, more of this in 2019 please
Previously, it was difficult for me to get to all the trade shows to dig out the best pieces because I coulnd’t be away from the kids for long at all. I always make it to Paris for Maison Objet because I love it and find it so inspiring (and I can just about do it in one day). This year though, with the kids being a bit older, I am going to travel more and see if I can source some gorgeous accessories to complement our own furniture.
Some other goals for 2019
- Foucs more on creativity less on day to day
- Attend more events, be more social (in real life not just online)
- Continue trying to find that balance between mum life and worklife
- Cut down on plastic and waste as a company. Look at ways to improve our environmental impact
- Spend more time engaging with our customers on social and the blog
I already can’t wait to re-read these in 2020 to see how many of these goals we reached and which ones we are still striving to get to. What would you like to see from Urbansize in 2019?