This time last year I was looking forward to 2016. “It’s going to be the best year ever”, I said.
I was excited to tell people about:
- A host of new designs including more colour variations for the bear, bunny, unicorn, elephant, owl and lamb
- A new website and brand identity
- New hangtag designs with better illustration
- New dumbles colours including a Wooly Mammoth
- OEKO Tex “Pastel” baby blankies
- Redesigning the harlequin range including a new pink deer & Christmas reindeer
- A branded label and zipper pull
- A new catalogue design to market
- A regular newsletter with updates of stock, new designs and special offers
Did I miss anything?
It was a manifesto of positivity; focusing on a new Cubbies brand with better designs and more variety. I’d like to think that everyone who’s experienced the past twelve months has benefited from what we have worked on.
So, it’s that time of the year again and all I can say is… I can’t wait for 2017!
One of my core ethos is always looking to improve where you are weak and maintain where you are strong. My brain never stops spinning (new Cubby ideas often keep me awake at night) and I want to share with you these middle of the night ideas that I plan on putting into practice.
Cubbies is weak on stock availability. Every small business experiences this if the demand is there. It’s an important problem to have in order to grow. I have decided to drop many past designs so we can focus on a core range and add the odd seasonal item. 2014 designs like the frog, fox, penguin, dog, cow, pig, ladybird, tiger, hippo, horse, koala will all be ‘retiring’ next year. Don’t fret, this doesn’t mean you will lose sales because we will always have a better alternative that are always in stock. All year round availability of the brown bear, lamb, grey bunny, white unicorn will trump having less popular designs available. Plus, we introduced six new designs last month and the cat, butterfly and whale have gone down really well and will probably become a permanent fixture to the Cubbies family. Also, keep an eye out for Jumbo Cubbies which will be making an appearance very soon.
So I’m sure you’ll be asking, “Will we still be creating new designs for next year?”
Well of course! That’s what we’re good at.
I am redesigning the penguin, tiger and fox to replace past designs. I also have a fabulous British Bulldog and a plucky Irish Leprechaun and… I am coming out with a new monkey, bear, elephant and lion. That doesn’t mean I will discontinue the older designs (and breath) because the demand is still there and I don’t want to cause a riot (I know ya’ll don’t like change) but designing is what we’re good at it and we’ll continue to focus on our strengths.
Another reason to change old designs, apart from keeping the line fresh and updated, is copycats. We lost four good customers this year because they decided to copy our Cubbies with their own thing. Having Cubbies products mixed in with knock offs imitating Cubbies is a sure fire way of killing a brand identity so I refuse to sell to anyone who infringes on our copyright, regardless of the business we lose. Plus, I want to show support to the customers who are loyal to us, not those who want to take advantage. The new designs we are making are harder to replicate and have unique fabric so consumers can tell the difference in quality and will chose Cubbies every time, which means more sales for you and less for them :D
Are you noticing a difference?
We’ve moved slightly away from what we did last year in terms of colour and graphics. If you read last month’s blog about the website you will see what we did and how well it looks. I have high hopes that our new, stylised, ‘storybook’ look to the illustrations, as well as our real life model photographs, will catch on which means you’ll be seeing Cubbies pop up more and more.
The plan is for a random customer to make contact with you and ask if you sell Cubbies. If you get asked this, let me know, it means we’ve done it!
I wish I could tell you how fabulouso spectaculario our new gift box is. In case you didn’t know, I hired a brilliant illustrator called Leo in the summer and I’m putting him hard at work. Imagine entering into the world of Cubbyland (it’s a working title) where only kids are allowed in and they talk and play with the animals (naturally). It’s just so much fun and if anyone isn’t sure how big and popular Cubbies is going to be, wait for the gift box…
I wanted to work on a XXXX range for ages but they are hard to design. I thought of the idea of having XXXX on them and started thinking of making a movie out of it (let’s push that for 2020 plans). Of course, my competitors would LOVE to know what the XXXX range will be and look like but they’re going to have to wait until they see you selling them first. Keep an eye out for our “New Range” newsletter in the Spring.
Do you remember the two backpacks I made in 2014? They weren’t that great, were they? As I am only launching stuff that will be a sure fire winner, our new Cubbies themed backpacks will be a smash hit. Four designs to start with and hopefully we will grow the range with demand.
I touched on this new software earlier in the year. We have been working with them for the past eight months and the expectation was it would launch in August. Seeing how complex it is to get what we want and what you need, I don’t foresee this software being available until the New Year and possibly Spring; but believe me, if it works like it does in my head (along with a million other things) it will be a game changer for the way you run your business and sell your products. Think double your sales in half the time without the need for any more machines or staff. You’ll thank me for it later :D
I love this idea. Had it in my head for years but difficult to put in to action when it’s not your market. Although at the moment all we have is short stories and ideas on the back of a napkin, come this time next year I may have a wonderful addition to offer your customers.
As for what’s in store for Cubbies HQ; I really want to build our own corporate office with space to create a workshop to develop new prototypes and R&D. It’s a grandiose plan and one that may be beyond our limited resources at this moment, but if you think that three years ago today I was running Cubbies from my parents basement with just a laptop and mobile phone, anything is possible.