2019 - the highs, the lows and the weird bit in the middle
It's been a while since we've blogged, it's been a while since we've done a podcast, it's been quite a while since we've done any posts about ourselves and what's been going on and that's mainly down to the fact that we're not quite sure where 2019 has actually gone! That and we've been busier than ever, if that is possible, we've managed to be extra busy.
This year has been a whirlwind to say the very least, and it feels like it's not just us, but something that's in the air maybe. Everyone's had a bit of a funny year. We can't quite put our finger on it but it seemed to slip by and while we were all busy worrying about Brexit then about Boris and also let's not forget the state of the planet, we haven't felt much real progression here at Spectrum HQ. Is it just us or has anxiety crept in for anyone else?
Yes we've had lots of 'progress' the brand is growing, our retail footprint is growing, our product range is growing and so is our team, but it has been a bit slower than we wanted, and don't get us started on the instagram algorithm...literally WTF.
Us, in case you forgot what we look like!
The main reason for our 'slowness' is that we've been working on releasing newness but we only want products that don't come at the expense of our planet, which has been a huge concern for us throughout 2019. We're busy trying to source materials and develop packaging options which are bio degradable, recyclable or re-usable, but one step forward is usually two steps back.
Now there's a new realisation that 'bio plastic' is actually pretty much a load of crap, and is not much better than actual plastic, so we're always re-working and scratching our heads to find a better option. Google it, you'll see what we mean, it's important to be informed when being a consumer.
We have made some steps towards ridding plastic from our products, unless it is pre-recycled, and our new cardboard tubes are a super cute way to house your brush sets. They're also designed to last a bit longer than throwaway packaging, so try and re-use them for storage. Overall we're making steps towards lessening our plastic use and we'll continue working towards plastic free ranges. It's really hard to be a company striving towards goals that aren't just financial but are actually to better our range for the good of us all, but someone's got to do it.
You may have noticed that the amount of products we've got listed on our website has decreased quite a lot, and this is intentional, don't worry we're not going anywhere.
However, we want to make only the best so our customers can buy less and buy better. This is of optimum importance to us in our range building for 2020, how awful is the thought of perfectly good product going to landfill? We do not do this, but a great many companies do.
Mostly larger companies rather than small independent companies like ourselves, but it is important for us as we grow that we only produce newness that is really what our customers want and need, not just to be purchased and thrown away, that simply can't happen. So we're spending longer on our product development and only place a re-plen order on stock that pretty much sells out, so we know that it's a great product and not just 'newness' for the sake of it. Please bear with us if your favourite set is sold out, it's because we're avoiding excess wherever possible.
There are far too many companies churning out far too much tat, we don't want to be one of them, and perhaps 'slower beauty' is something we're adapting more as a company. Hopefully our customers work with us on adopting a less is more approach, when it comes to purchasing a brush set invest in the best and look after it, after all we have more than likely agonised over every little detail.
So that's some background for you on our struggles behind the scenes, it's a very difficult time to be developing new products when we have all these restrictions we place on ourselves. We're not perfect but we're working on it. We'll call this section the 'weird' bit in the middle, but enough of that, onto the good bits :)
Moving onto some of the highlights, the Zodiac makeup launch. This was a huge achievement for us, after working tirelessly on the range for 2 years...2 years! That feels like forever ago, but that's the slow beauty pace and we're OK with that, it's worth it to get it right!
So nothing is quite perfect but we are so proud of this launch, we went from zero makeup products to launching a total of 11 in 2019, that we think is pretty impressive and we have round 2 coming in April 2020 which we can't wait to release.
The makeup launch has to be the biggest highlight for us this year as it was also the hardest part of the year and at times felt like an impossible task, but we got there in the end, we really hope you love it as much as us!
We're so proud of it because it's all made in Italy, no animal testing takes place whatsoever and there's no animal testing on the raw ingredients, it is illegal to test on animals in Europe so it adds that extra touch of care into our products that we know you appreciate. Of course, as with our entire product range, the makeup is all completely vegan, making it an easy choice for anyone who wants a cruelty free and vegan makeup kit.
Our personal fave, has to be the mascara, we could NOT find a good enough vegan option before this one, it is an absolute must have! If you follow us on insta you'll know we're always wearing it, we very rarely wear falsies, vegan mascara all the way!
We developed the entire range with our suppliers, working tirelessly to make each item something we absolutely love!
We're also so pleased to say that we are still 'just us' no investors or big corporations having a say in what we do, which if you're a business owner you'll know is pretty tough! But we're still learning and 2019 has taught us to be better business women, hopefully that continues into 2020.
One of our quotes to live by 'my brushes are better than yours' because it's true!
Another highlight has been growing our team, bigger team means a bigger office, so we're moving in 2020 to an amazing place...watch this space.
And finally, the 'lows'...
There aren't any really.
OK so the above is actually crap, the low would be that it feels like it's getting harder to switch off, the bigger the business gets, the more obsessed we have to be to keep 'on top of it'. Truth be told, a day off feels like a bit of a distant memory, and it's difficult to think about much else apart from work most days, but there's so much work it's most days and most nights.
Accurate, on some days in particular, but happily not all.
We've had lots of rough patches, running a business is not easy and in reality, it's not getting any easier the bigger we grow, it's getting tougher is the truth. There always seems to be more to do, but we'll keep doing it because the other truth is we still love it. The phrase a 'labour of love' is pretty much how we'd sum up running a business. There's no secret to running a successful business, you just have to work hard enough.
And success will come.
So for all of you who are reading this who are feeling those lows, we know how you feel. It's difficult not to end up giving in to it, but just take a little step back and look at what's making you feel that way, we have and we're hoping this year to change a few things to feel better, after all, running a business requires you to be feeling your best because you give back what you put out. If the following image is your life, maybe you should make one small change too so that you can get a little joy back into your life. Not saying you don't have any, but everyone deserves more joy.
Instead of the above, maybe try allowing yourself to do at least one of the below. Illustration by Ava Marie Doodles.
So to finish this blog post off, let's all agree to do one nice thing for ourselves every day throughout 2020, remember it's not just about business, there are far mor important things.
Lots of love,
Sophie & Hannah xxx