A year ago today we posted Zorpads live on this website. We can hardly believe that it's been a year while at the same time we can hardly believe that it's only been a year. On our first birthday, we decided to celebrate by putting together a list of some things that we've learned along the way.
Here's the first Zorpad ever.
1. Entrepreneurship is really, really, really hard.
We send emails late at night, we pour our personal savings into the business, we "hop on calls" with countless people who might be interested in investing, we find odd jobs to pay rent, and we constantly wonder if we're one minor catastrophe from going bankrupt. What we have learned, though, are that the highs are really high and you keep chasing success and ultimately believe that you're changing the world.
Here's one of the best days of our lives (and hopefully yours too!) when we were live on KTLA in Los Angeles. We're still basking in that one.
2. Consumer feedback is everything.
I once woke up to a customer that had found my personal cell phone number in my mobile signature and had decided to call me at 7AM. I took the call. When you're a small company, every critical piece of feedback stings, but also pushes you to think differently about what you're doing and if there's anything you can do to fix it.
Positive feedback is truly game changing for us. In fact, we just got this a couple weeks ago and are still having wonderful dreams because of it.
We also LOVE reviews. Like really love them. You can review us on Facebook here or you can also review us on Amazon after buying a pair here!
He means he signed up for a subscription ;)
3. You're capable of so much more than you think you are.
When you're passionate about something you can figure out a way to do anything--with a little help from Google that is. What should I include in this retail contract? What’s the cheapest shipping option to Taiwan? Google it.
Case in point, we've literally never in our lives animated anything. And look at how cute this GIF is! We made that!
4. In a startup, you do everything.
There are two of us. Just two. If you email us, one of us responds and usually copies the other. If you have customer feedback, we respond. If you see an ad, we made it. If you get a sales phone call, we placed it. If you're an investor and want to speak with finance, that's us. There's no task too small or too big when you're running a startup.
Here's a pic of us wearing matching Zorpads tanks and handing out free samples:
5. People who believe in you will change your life.
Real big shoutout to Rough Draft Ventures (our first investors) and Tay's dad (our follow-on investor) who believed in us. When you have a wacky idea to take years of education and launch an odor-eliminating shoe insert company and somebody will put actual money into the venture, it's not only vital to the company but also to your confidence. WATCH OUT WORLD!
6. You're not truly an e-commerce startup unless you ship out your own product (for a while anyway).
We sent out more than 20,000 Zorpads ourselves. By hand. With our own tongues (and the occasional sponge). We walked all the boxes to the post office, dealt with the *super friendly* staff at USPS who lose way more packages than should be acceptable, and dumped thousands of envelopes in their bins. Now we have a distribution partner which is really a game changer. So order away!
Here's a photo of a box before we took it to the post:
7. Stop and smell the roses.
We were doing a photo shoot of the two of us in Brooklyn, NY and our photographer had an adorable one-eyed cat named Willie. We had to pick it up and play with it and lo and behold Willie made it into our photo set. What a cutie.
Point being, it's not always go go go. Sometimes just stop and be present.
8. You will know your cofounder better than your boyfriend.
This is true. Sierra and I look like besties because we are, but we also have disagreements. And when you have disagreements with someone with whom you spend hours on FaceTime, travel with, go on double dates with, and generally just talk to for hours daily it's important to know how to talk through difficult things. And with great partnerships, disagreements bring you closer together!
9. Don't open synthetic foot odor in your kitchen.
Just don't. We do all our own R&D which means we deal with some pretty stinky things (see a super early experiment below). But you will save your relationship with your partner if you don't open a vial of shoe odor in his house. Free advice, y'all.
10. Our customers are everything.
Honestly if you've purchased Zorpads we love you. If you've purchased Zorpads multiple times we're considering marrying you. We can't thank you enough for believing in us enough to test out our product and loving it enough to buy it again! You're the best.
So that's it, all we've got. Lol just kidding there's a lot more advice that we have for you but unfortunately this blog can only be so long. Cheers to the next several years of our little odor-zapping inserts. If you need us you know where to find us: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We'll be the one's on the other end.
Onward and Upward,
Si & Tay