We made a mask! + very vulnerable business talk

Hi Everyone! It has been a long time since I reached out via our newsletter and this note is very long. It’ll take you about 7 minutes to read. If you want to skip it all and just shop the last weekend of the sale, or to pre-order a mask, click here. Otherwise, read on! 

I’ve tried to write so many messages and inevitably end up overly wordy, overly stressed, and very uncertain. I have felt pretty strongly that I wanted my outreach to lean positive as much as possible. That has been hard for me to do the last two months, so I just didn’t reach out. I’m sure you’ve been going through similar emotions. Some days are fantastic. Others difficult. Most days are kind of just medium, living somewhere between the two, accepting that we can’t change anything and we just have to wait. 

My entire team has been on unemployment for over two months now. I have been here working long days everyday to keep everything going. We had a huge rush of orders in the first two weeks of the shut down and I was filled with so much gratitude for the belief you have in us. It kept me from crumbling and meant I could continue paying my employees health insurance and try to keep everything afloat. This small business has carried me through many life stages, some super great and others really difficult. Many of you have read along with me as those things evolved. You’ve been my cheerleader, sounding board and support network. I’m not one typically at a loss for words but, I’m not sure how to fully articulate how much that support has meant to me. Yes, we are a business. But, we’re not just any small business. You have helped me grow this into something that has provided a handful of sustainable jobs for some of the most amazing humans. I raised my little family inside Moop HQ. Thirteen years ago, in my apartment in Western Massachusetts, when this all began, I had wild imaginations of what this could become and a lot of it has come true. I wanted to make a living for myself and be able to create a few jobs for people who wanted to work with me. I knew it would be a lot of work, but I was willing. So much of that feels in jeopardy right now. We are barely scraping by. That initial rush of orders was so immense, but I was a little delusional in thinking I could get through it all on my own. I’m down to the last ten bags that were ordered in those first two weeks. It has taken me two months to get this far. 

Everyone returns on Tuesday and we will start working through everything else in our order queue. Even with all of that, in full transparency, our sales are down 54%. That means, if things don’t normalize for us, we won’t be in business in two months. We’re not the only small business in this precarious place. And I just don’t want to let that happen. So, I’m working on two plans to save us. One involves making masks. Not just for Moop, but for other companies who need them. We’re expecting to make a lot of masks and hoping to be able to create a few jobs while doing so. The other is leveraging mask making as a way for us to grow in a different way. We will soon begin manufacturing for other brands. We are very very good at what we do. For years, I have tested out other manufacturers to help us expand our own operation and every single one of them has failed. The obvious thing before me is to take our skill set and start offering it to others. It’s hard to find small batch manufacturers who will work with production run sizes that smaller brands can actually afford. I want to make it possible for other small businesses to survive and grow and start and thrive. And so, we’ll soon begin that process. Moop Shop will, of course, continue. I’m aiming for growth. We’ve been working on a few wholesale partnerships in hopes that you might soon find Moop at a store near you. Or, you might find another product that was made by our team here in Pittsburgh. We are excited to take this on and we hope that we can use this as a catalyst to not only make it through this global health and economic crisis, but to last for a really long time. I’m just not going to let anyone take this away from me. I’ve worked too hard. I really only see two options forward: Try or give up. I hope you’ll keep joining us as we opt for try.

Our full production starts back on Tuesday. We will start working our way through all of the orders in queue and hope to be caught up within a few weeks. This will be the last weekend of our LUCKYTHIRTEEN sale. We celebrated our 13th birthday on Friday the 13th, three days later the whole world shut down. We would love to make a bag for you. Use the code for 15% off anything in the shop

Bag blankets make the perfect backyard picnic blanket, The Smaller Weekender is what I use to carry our yard picnic stuff so I’m not running back and forth from the kitchen to the back of the house, this DOTL oil has brought a whole new level of self care to my daily routine. It’s just one of those small personal gestures that makes me feel really good, even if for just a few moments. We also have a few kinds of hand sanitizers available. All sized to go inside your bag. One is a spray, one a gel. We’ve all got preferences. We won’t be re-opening our storefront for the time being so a lot of new things were added to the online store. Ceramics, vases, notebooks. We just want to be surrounded by things that make us feel good. 

Lastly, PRE-ORDERS for masks are now open. Be patient with us. We’re learning this the same as you are. But, we feel pretty good about these. We hope they won’t fall off your faces or make it too difficult to breath, but we’ve all got different faces so we’re doing our best and hope to be sending you something that works better than what you might already have. 

Whew! Thanks for sticking with me on this very long letter!
We’re gonna just do it as super duper best we can. 
Thanks for believing in us❤️

xo,
Wendy

 

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