Goodbye 2021, HELLO 2022! A Year In Review...

Happy New Year! ūüéČ

I'm sure you all feel me when I say I've been looking forward to the New Year more than previous years! The year 2021 has been a rough one for a lot of people for many different reasons, but the new year is always the perfect time to wash away the struggles of yesteryear and start brand new!  

I have spent the last week of 2021 knuckling down and planning my year out. I didn't do this a lot last year as it was more of a trial run to see how things would work. Now have a point of reference, I can really start to set some realistic & achievable goals to help me grow and succeed in 2022!

This week was supposed to be my 'holiday break', however there is nothing like receiving a brand new, empty diary for Christmas to fill with your hopes for the future & to get you motivated!

2021 Milestones

31st January 2021 - Bye Bye Job!

This was my last day at my 'real' job. I remember walking out feeling a mix of emotions. They were switching between ecstatic, fearful and hopeful. My mind was running wild with all the possibilities of the future! I had no idea how it would go... would I become a full time business owner and be able to work for myself into the future or would I have to at some point accept defeat and go in search of another job?  

March 2021 - Completed the Greenhouse Build

After a few months of delays due to missing/wrong parts and supply issues the greenhouse build (started in December 2020) was completed! Check out our Youtube videos on the build below ‚§ĶÔłŹ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR3hBMRAXkI&t=12s

17th May 2021 - Starting A Website

At this point in the year I had begun to make steady sales & was struggling to keep track of all the orders & financial records so I needed a way to be able to keep it all in one place. This is the day I decided to start my own website! After a fair bit of research I decided to take the plunge and start my own Shopify website. I was SO NERVOUS that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the monthly website fee, it seemed like such a daunting commitment!

28th May 2021 - WEBSITE LAUNCH!

After just over a week of development, we launched the GrowingGreen website for the first time! It was launched at 6pm and we had 10 orders that night! I was overwhelmed with the support the website had been shown & it was a sign of things to come...

 

 17th August 2021 - Delta Covid Lockdown

This is the point of the year I'm sure we would all like to forget. We had our first confirmed Delta community case & we went into lockdown. I personally was TERRIFIED at the effect that this would have on my brand new business! For a few years now we've heard of plenty of businesses closing due to the pandemic so I truely thought that this was going to put me out of business.

We couldn't ship orders for the entirety of Level 4 as it was for essential items only and we couldn't order any new stock either as our suppliers aren't considered essential services.

I took this time to really dive into researching different marketing techniques and  ways to promote my business so try and ensure our survival. Our sales EXPLODED over this time and by the time we were allowed to send again, we had well over 200 orders to get out the door!

October 2021 - Market Postponements 

October was another rough month! Although sales through our website were steady, it was around this time we had hit 100 days in lockdown. We had several markets planned, all of which were continually postponed week after week and it was extremely frustrating! We decided to focus our efforts at this point to looking into re-doing the website and releasing a whole bunch of new products to keep the website fresh and exciting.

November 2021 - Rapid Expansion

Between 1st November -  1st December we released over 17 brand new products! These included 4x sizes of black nursery pots, 3x sizes of clear pots, Groconut, Kiwichar, Fern Fibre pots & boards and our hand made cover pots!

December 2021 - Markets, Christmas & Our Best Month Yet!

As we started to ease our way out of lockdown and into the traffic light system, things started to improve! We attended two markets this month, the Hunua Village Market & The Coastal Market in Beachlands. Despite iffy weather, they were both a huge success and it felt amazing to get out and about again and meet you all in person!

With Christmas fast approaching, we released two 'Christmas Bundles' which proved very popular. They were the perfect present for all House Plant Lovers!

We also received our first batch of 10cm Clear Nursery pots, which we spent a few months researching & finally settling on a supplier to make them for us here in NZ! These were SUPER popular and we received almost 50 orders within the first 2 days of their release!

December was our best month yet! We posted our highest revenue and all of our website stats were SOLID! 

Important Lessons Learnt in 2021

I have learnt MANY things over the past year, but the two most important I wish to share with you are:

1) Hard work & persistence pays off. When I look back at the thousands of hours of hard work, the endless hours of R&D and the many late nights spent packing orders to get them out the door asap, I can SEE the moments where they have paid off. Hard work does pay. Every single message from customers saying "Wow, my order came quick!" or 'Thank you for packing my order well" was so rewarding.

2) You can do anything you set your mind to! Taking this past week off to reflect on the past year has been really beneficial for me. Looking back to walking out of my job in January and having this image in my mind of living comfortably from this business & living my dream of working for myself, I could never have imagined it could have been this good. In the words of one of my favourite people to ever exist, Walt Disney once said: "IF YOU CAN DREAM IT YOU CAN DO IT"

 

THANK YOU! 

If you've made it this far, thank you! I wanted to take this moment to say a MASSIVE thank you to a few different people/groups who have helped make 2021 the success that it was.

OUR CUSTOMERS & AUDIENCE 

THANK YOU to every single person who has made an order from us (or multiple) through the website. You guys are the reason we are able to expand this business & diversify so quickly. You are the reason we are able to do what we do and live out our dream. Another huge THANK YOU to everyone who follows our Facebook, Instagram & Youtube Channels. You guys are the reason we are able to reach a wider audience and help to get our name out there amongst the community.

MY FAMILY

From the moment I first told you I was quitting my stable job to start my own business (and I sounded crazy) till this very day you have supported me behind the scenes & motivated me to work harder every day. 

An even bigger THANK YOU more specifically to my mum for getting up early, stuffing her car full & spending hours of her time to help me at markets when my husband wasn't able to.

MY HUSBAND PAUL

I owe AT LEAST half of the success of GrowingGreen to my husband. He has spent countless hours helping to set up and develop my website (forsaking his own website development business) to help improve everything from my images, product descriptions, SEO and so much more behind the scenes.

He has also been invaluable in helping me research new products to bring to you guys, with so much more to come in the future!

We have also developed an AMAZING system to help each other package up your orders to get them out the door ASAP! He has spent countless hours on Sundays helping me to pack all your orders.

I think the biggest way in which he has helped this year is through encouragement and pushing me to continually improve. He has been my number one supporter from the start and for that I will be forever grateful.

What's in Store For 2022? 

We have a few big things already planned for 2022 including attending the Auckland Plant Market & Hamilton Plant Lovers markets as a vendor. We have  a few new product releases already in the works and we can't wait to start increasing our social media presence (as well as a few financial goals of course). Aside from that, we can't wait to go with the flow & see what surprises the new year brings!

Thank you for making it to the end, I know it's a long one but I believe that it is truely invaluable to look back on the past to help you in the future. There is so much that can be learnt from reflection & this has definitely helped me!

Goodbye 2021, thank you for your many lessons & memories. Hello 2022! Time to start anew

& crush all our goals for the year!

-Rachel

 

 

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