Ah, year’s end. The time when we reminisce about the previous year’s ups and downs, and contemplate what we want to do differently (or maintain) in the upcoming year. For our first blog post of the new year, I wanted to share five of our small business success stories from 2014, and give you a sneak peek into three things that we’re planning for in 2015.
Po Campo 5th Birthday, illustration by Anne Benjamin
1. We turned five years old!
Po Campo celebrated its 5th anniversary on July 9. Most small business success stories contain this milestone since most small businesses do not make it to that age! We celebrated with a party at Heritage Bicycles in Chicago. It was a blast.
2. We had our first Kickstarter – and it was successful!
Following on the heels of a breaking story in the Huffington Post about our Bike Share Bag, we turned to popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter to launch our latest product. We ended up raising 156% of our goal and introduced it in two colors: Black and Emerald Bike Ride. Being able to add the “Funded by Kickstarter” badge to our site definitely makes it one of our top small business success stories of the year.
3. Some design recognition
Surprisingly few product companies are helmed by a designer, so I was honored to be named one of Chicago’s top designers in New City Magazine. I spoke about some of the trials and triumphs as life as a designer-cum-entrepreneur at the international Industrial Designer Society of America (IDSA) Conference in Austin, TX. A summary of my presentation is on my own blog, designsomething.com.
4. Fresh digs
After 2.5 years of running Po Campo out of my apartment and 3 years of running the company out of a shared, raw industrial space, we finally moved into our own space in November. It’s in an old picture album factory and our neighbors are a mix of small businesses, designers and artists. I’m happiest when I’m around artsy, creative types. We celebrated with an open house this December, which we plan to do every year. So, if you didn’t make it in 2014, plan to be there in 2015!
5. Donating over 50 bikes to World Bicycle Relief
We partnered with World Bicycle Relief back in May of 2013 because we love their mission of using bicycles to provide access and opportunity to people in rural Africa, especially schoolgirls. By the end of 2014, we donated the equivalent of 72 bikes. We see more and more small business success stories including a social mission and we’re happy to be a part of that.
Now onto a sneak peek into 2015. Three things in the works:
1. Coming to a town near you
We’ve been doing more events lately and have enjoyed them so much that we are planning on doing even more in 2015. Getting to meet old and new friends in person is so rewarding. Want us to come to your neck of the woods? Leave suggestions of events in the comments section below.
2. Launching an ambassador-type program
We rely on word-of-mouth marketing to introduce our brand to new people. One goal for 2015 is to formalize this and make it a true program with lots of perks for our advocates. Contact me directly if you’d like to join it!
3. New product introductions
Just like creating a movie, there are always a lot of great designs that end up on the cutting room floor. Therefore, I’m hesitant to show too much of what is behind the curtain but let me just say that we are taking our devotion of living a healthy lifestyle to new places, including the yoga studio and the playground. Follow us on Instagram to see sneak peeks of prototypes.
Steady growth and great customers is a consistent element of small business success stories and we look forward to another prosperous and joyful year in 2015. We are happy to have you along with us!