Quinstance has a number of anniversary dates: we were incorporated in September 2014; the company started to coalesce around the idea of American-made and fair trade goods in November 2014; we signed a lease and began construction January 2015; and we opened our doors June 15, 2015.
So we haven't been in business for quite a year, really, but the new year seems like a good opportunity to stop and reflect on where we've been and where we're going.
The biggest change this year is how Quinstance has moved from idea to reality. A year ago, I was just beginning to blog about my little enterprise, and almost exactly a year ago to the day, I put out a call for people to come work for me. Tiffany and Ben answered the call right away, and Nick caved eventually. Despite the fact that each of them came across brilliantly in their interviews, I couldn't have known then how much I would come to rely on them.
These three have become indispensable (along with Paloma, who helps us out from time to time on weekends). If you've been in the store, you know how happy they are to work with our customers and our makers. Their enthusiasm is infectious. I couldn't be more grateful for or more impressed by their dedication and knowledge.
We've also realized our vision in terms of opening our doors. Since we opened almost eight months ago, we've fulfilled more than 2600 orders for over 1000 individual customers! We even have some loyalists who come back again and again to find certain products that have already become quinstances for them. We are so thrilled that people are finding us and learning about what we do.
These are all great milestones, but I at least feel like we're nowhere near reaching our potential yet. We need to keep learning about our customers and what they're looking for. We will definitely keep working with our makers to tell their stories of building American businesses, as well. We've already added more than 50% new makers to our lineup since we first opened, and we will continue to find the best products and American (and fair trade) success stories to share with you.
I have certainly learned that opening a business is not an easy road. We've missed the mark at times (why wasn't anyone interested in the Hagen Gallery event?); we have goofed (sorry about that Gary Bodker vase I broke...); and we still have a lot more to learn. We have an awful lot of fun doing all of this, though!
Our goal this year is to do everything we're doing, but better. Not bigger, not faster, not flashier — that's not us and it never will be. But better. We want to help you find objects you connect with. When we do that, we're fulfilling our mission. That's what each Quinster comes in the store to do every day. We hope you'll come see us and let us do that for you in 2016!