Entrepreneurship has been nothing short of an incredible rollercoaster of adventure for me as the founder of BRAID. Mix in the joys of being a momma to two little ones, wife, and the creative scheduling that exists to balance running a business and being present as a mother and wife is exhausting. I can’t begin to even guess the number of times that I’ve felt ill-equipped for this. Yet, here I am, three years deep into this entrepreneurial journey. Our brands, BRAID and Beard & Tackle, have been making slow and steady progress each and every year. We’ve worked hard to network and build relationships with customers, bloggers, retailers and brand influencers to seek out opportunities that could create incredible momentum. We’ve been long into discussions several times about various opportunities with really good folks, but have been waiting for quite a while for all the pieces to come together.
Last May I was fortunate to receive an email from one of the CAUSEBOX co-founders. He expressed interest in BRAID and reached out to us to see if we’d be interested in working with them to include one of our products in their incredible packages for their subscribers. Of course, the opportunity was something that we’d be excited to be a part of, but there were plenty of mountains to be moved before any such relationship could work. And, move they did! Months of conversations, product samples, ideas, collaborations and we were both excited to make something happen and join their incredible line of vendors whose products give back to various causes. Hence the name, CAUSEBOX. We nailed down all the details and found incredible joy that our patient endurance finally paid off to make something like this happen. We were overwhelmed and overjoyed. Our small operation was going to be pushed to the max to hit our deadlines and deliver beautiful products for their spring 2017 box.
Many mountains moved to make the deal happen. Still more mountains moved as we began the production phase. Completing an order this big required us to raise capital, we did. Logistically, our facility had to be rearranged to accommodate such an order. To top it all off, dealing with shipping companies to haul our freight to California was quite an experience to say the least. Stressful, anxious, and operating on little sleep we can now say we were happy to have endured it all, for we know that we are being prepared for even greater good to come.
So many snares and snags popped up along the way. We began this process in late October and by the time we had all our packaging and ingredients lined up for this adventure we only had a few months to tackle thousands of products. Carefully measuring, labeling, and packaging was painfully tedious. Oh, and all this, by the way, during our busiest time of year. Thanksgiving through New Years’ is a particularly busy time for all retail and it’s the same for BRAID. Our greatest fear in all of this was that our precious product wouldn’t arrive safely in California, traveling from Texas. We felt all anxiety melt away when we received notification the everything arrived safely. Knowing that we had completed our part, only leaving us to make final preparations and updates to our website for the increased traffic we had been praying to receive once our products landed on the doorsteps of thousands.
The news that CAUSEBOX had begun shipping their boxes to their eager subscribers stirred excitement we have never felt before. Finally, after several years, our products would land in the hands of so many precious people and not only would our brand be exposed to so many, but most importantly our mission of give back to Hope Supply Co., our friends serving homeless children would be given light. Our excitement and joy faded shortly after boxes began landing. Several subscribers received our beautiful Tidy Up Spritzer, only--it didn’t spritz. Over the course of a few days, more and more reports of the same issue came in. We were devastated to say the least. Devastated for the headache the CAUSEBOX team has endured. Devastated that our big break turned into a potential big failure. Our tiny brand now has a huge problem, one we never considered possible. Our greatest fear was that our products would shatter in transit. We’ve never had one nozzle malfunction reported to us in the course of three years. And now this. Defective nozzles!
Today, this is where you find us. In the midst of an overwhelming circumstance. Our worst nightmare and the exact opposite of our hopes for this deal. We are working every available second to fix this and make it right. We are sending replacement nozzles as quickly as we can to those that have been unable to experience the goodness of our brand and products. We’ve endured the eye of the storm and are content knowing we will be through this soon, making this horrible wrong, right. We are unbelievably grateful to CAUSEBOX for enduring this with us with such kindness. We are even more grateful for their subscribers who have been so gracious and understanding as we are working through this.
Strangely, I believe BRAID was built to endure this. Our name alone is a metaphor for strength. A strand of three cords woven tightly together creates a BRAID of strength not easily broken. Our BRAID is first made strong by our incredible customers who vote with their dollars to buy incredible products that serve a greater cause. Second, by our commitment to authenticity and being true to who we are…even when things don’t go as planned. We own our mistakes and make them right. We kind of think everyone should operate that way. Finally, our BRAID is made strong by giving to children experiencing homelessness and our commitment to make social good a priority in our business model.
We aren’t quite out of the storm yet, but we are happy to know that we’ve put our best and strongest foot forward to endure this situation. Our brand has been tested; and through our humility we have found strength in our very own name. We have found grace from our loyal and understanding customers. We know that failure is fertilization and if we stay the course; if we stay true to who we are and who we represent, greater things will come...there is no doubt about it.
Braided together we can stand strong as we spread hope to others.
Be A World Changer. Spread Hope. Live Your Purpose. #3CordCrew
Keep Spreading Hope,
Molly, Andy and The BRAID Team