This is a follow up story for SmartyPits. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 4 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hey there--Stacia here again, CEO and founder of SmartyPits. We sell the most effective natural deodorant on the market, and it’s also free of aluminum, parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol. We include a food grade prebiotic in the formula, and every single stick is hand-poured here in our warehouse in Bend, Oregon!
We also donate 1% of every SmartyPits sale to City of Hope, a world leader in cancer research. Our donations directly impact their breast cancer research and education program--it’s a partnership we’ve had since 2018, and we’re very proud of our connection to this incredible facility.
This year (2021), SmartyPits is probably going to gross around $2.2M--which is around 29% YoY growth from 2020. And just as exciting--this year, we also crossed over the $100,000 mark in donations to City of Hope’s breast cancer research program. We’re incredibly proud of both of these 2021 accomplishments!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
It’s been quite a wild ride since my last update! In the last 12 months, we moved our entire manufacturing facility from Tehachapi, California to Bend, Oregon--which was no small feat! Our California warehouse was bursting at the seams, and at 2400 square feet, we knew we needed to expand ASAP. When I made a personal move up to Oregon, we also began to look for warehouse space, and settled on a custom-build warehouse with over 9000 sq ft to utilize.
This year (2021), SmartyPits is probably going to gross around $2.2M--which is around 29% YoY growth from 2020.
This provided us with the opportunity to re-think our entire manufacturing flow--we built in new efficiencies, and really thought about the best possible way to proceed from raw material receiving to ingredient prep to filling our wax melters to pouring deodorant to labeling, and finally boxing and shipping.
With these new processes in place and a brand new team learning the process from scratch (and offering their own fresh ideas), we increased our productivity over 100% in the first 8 months of operation. We had the exact same number of employees in Oregon as we had had in California, but the new processes and equipment made a world of difference in our output.
At the same time, we landed some fantastic new accounts! We went live on Ulta.com, we onboarded with KeHe, one of the nation’s largest natural product distributors, and launched in all doors of Sprouts. We added many more independent and regional accounts as well, and continued to nourish the relationships with the partners that have been with us for quite a while as well.
We also were featured on The View and The Rachel Ray Show! The latter was an unexpected media hit, so when sales suddenly went through the roof one morning, we scrambled to figure out the source. It was so fun to learn it was Rachel Ray! And it was a good lesson for us: always have inventory at the ready. You never know when you’ll get that unanticipated hit!
Finally--we just rebranded! It was a project that was a year in the making, and it finally went live in October. I’m so happy with the new look--the new logo, labels, icons, and fonts. Everything about new branding is so exciting, but it’s also a ton of work to make sure all existing/old inventory is moved out and newly branded product is ready to launch by the go-live date.
All in all, it was a pretty incredible year--and I’m excited to see the fruits of all of this hard work as we move into 2022.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
A few key lessons we tackled this year included:
- Moving manufacturing locations--especially across state lines--will likely be 5x more expensive than you anticipate
- Hire the right people, and if you realize they aren’t the right people, let them go quickly. There’s no use in keeping people on that aren’t the right fit and serving the business’ needs. It’s a disservice to both parties.
- Communication is one of the most important elements of a strong internal corporate culture. However, it’s not a linear process--it’s a constant infusion of intentional effort throughout all aspects of the business.
- A weekly meeting with a fellow entrepreneur who gets the rollercoaster of your successes and struggles is worth more than a membership to any mainstream business group.
- A few bars of emergency chocolate in your desk can go a long way on a tough day.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year?
We’re excited to continue to grow in 2022! With these new improved efficiencies, we now have the capabilities to expand into other product lines, continue to grow our private label side, and explore international markets.
Hire the right people, and if you realize they aren’t the right people, let them go quickly. There’s no use in keeping people on that aren’t the right fit and serving the business’ needs. It’s a disservice to both parties.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Plan, plan, plan...then leave a little wiggle room for the unexpected.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
SmartyPits has provided an update on their business!
Almost 2 years ago, we followed up with SmartyPits to see how they've been doing since we published this article.
About 3 years ago, we followed up with SmartyPits to see how they've been doing since we published this article.
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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