Of all the anniversaries to reflect upon, there’s none more rewarding than the first year. After all, there isn’t a more scary time in a start-up, a more turbulent time, and a more proud moment than to say you’ve made it to the first pinnacle on a long journey. A pinnacle that eludes a majority of all startup companies. Looking back over the last 12 months there is much to be thankful for.
It Takes A Village
Ideation, Conception, Creative White-boarding and Project Tasks are an exhilarating way to imagine how the future can be. Executing on that vision is a completely different beast altogether. When thought gives way to doing you come face-to-face with how difficult it can be to get anything done. It does not happen in a vacuum – it takes the meticulous care, thoughtful arguing, and the tireless passion of everyone on the team. From development to customer service, from visionary to accounting, from product launches to creative marketing, from shipping to partner relationships - it takes a village of team members to take the concept and push forward day after day, and sprint after sprint, until the day is done. The job is never done, but occasionally the day is done. Tomorrow brings a new challenge.
The First Year
We’ve learned a lot in the first year. We’ve made many great decisions in the first year. We’ve pivoted on several concepts in the first year. We’ve taken so much good customer feedback and designed solutions they’ve asked for in the first year. We’ve made so many happy customers in the first year. And yet, the dawn of the second year tells us it’s not time to rest on laurels, but to increase the rate of understanding market demand and creating mechanisms to meet that demand. It’s a great problem to have as it validates our original assumptions about the marketplace. Namely that consumers are looking for a better, faster, and more responsive experience to ordering printed packaging, and that Web2Pack wasn’t just a fad, but the bedrock of the future customer experience and, eventually, a customer expectation.
Once upon a time, we had a dream to couple 30 years of analog print manufacturing experience with the latest in digital printing and converting technology to create the ultimate destination. A destination where the cutting edge of customer experience could finally be met to a high satisfaction of speed, knowledge and service. The missing piece was an ecommerce experience that allowed responsive customization, instant pricing, creative options and automated flow processing to take uploaded art all the way through printing, cutting, packing and shipping with the most minimal of human touch points that typically stall manufacturing in any production environment.
Many hours, many hands, and many sprints transformed the vision, the processes, and the backbone of architecture to create Fantastapack. The early vision was simple – give the people a lightning quick and responsive ecommerce platform and they will flood your machines with orders. We were quickly overwhelmed with demand. We upgraded print capacity halfway through the year to keep up with demand, now printing in a day what took our old printer to get through in a week. We doubled our converting capacity to keep up with throughput demand. We added design services to address all the customers who need a custom insert to go with their branded box. We added over 25 new styles of packages because our years of manufacturing experience taught us that the world’s shipping problems aren’t solved with only a few styles of boxes. We polled, surveyed, dissected every conversation and tried meticulously to give the marketplace not only what they want but also the best experience in speed and service.
Saying Thank You
It’s been a fun and personally rewarding first year, but the real hero of the story is all the people who have brought this vision to fruition and all the happy customers who have validated the premise of our little start-up company. Seeing your successes has been the biggest reward. We’ve seen fortune 500 companies meet intense marketing deadlines for product validation with our printed boxes. We’ve seen start-up companies with demand going from hundreds to thousands in the viral blink of an eye, and we are proud to say we came through in saving their reputation. We’ve seen small non-profits with no experience whatsoever get the needed packaging, the needed donation box, or the needed experience to help them navigate a foreign world and make their mission goals a reality.
The greatest gift at the end of this first year is to reflect back and thank the many people that have made this possible. To thank the many customers who have relied on us once, and then continually, to provide the highest level of service. To thank the partners who have worked with us tirelessly through implementation, growth and roadmap planning. To thank the stakeholders who have believed in our vision and execution. And to thank the next wave of customers who will experience the new products and technology we will unveil over the next year as we become a truly integrated partner in your business mission. We thank you all.