As December draws to a close, I’m looking back on the year that just passed, reflecting on what we learned and how we grew. This being 2020, there’s a lot to process! Here are five things I’m taking with me from this year into the next:
It’s About Who You Serve, Not What You Sell
This was the intention I set at the beginning of 2020 as we were gearing up to launch a refreshed brand and product line, over a year in the making. It’s easy to fall in love with your new product and your new website and lose sight over why you’re doing what you’re doing. I hoped this adage would keep me focused.
After all, I didn’t start Po Campo because I loved selling bike bags. I started Po Campo because I was (am) passionate about making biking a better and more seamless part of people’s lives; designing stylish and functional bags to help them carry what they needed on and off a bike was how I could do that.
It goes without saying that this year turned out radically different than anyone could have anticipated. The importance of focusing on the serving rather than the selling really grounded us this year, empowering us to be nimble:
- Offering free shipping during citywide lockdowns
- Releasing breathable, high viz masks
- Creating content for all the people (re) discovering their bicycle
- Connecting with local charities to support essential workers and delivery staff
None of these initiatives were part of our plan when the year started but because we were focused on our customer’s needs, we were able to adapt and serve.
Micromobility is an Evolving Story
I always believed that as soon as street infrastructure became better (hello miles of protected bike lanes!) and that riding became easier (hello e-bikes and e-scooters!), micromobility* would catch on like wildfire. The pandemic turned out to be the catalyst to make those changes happen faster than anyone had expected.
Why the bike boom? During lockdowns, biking became the recreational activity of choice for people wanting to get outdoors, alone or with their family. It was a great way to get some exercise when gyms were closed, a way to explore your surroundings, an ideal way to get from A to B and steer clear of public transit. With fewer cars on the road and cities closing down roads to cars and building bike lanes, the streets suddenly felt safer, inviting new people to try using micromobility – and getting comfortable with it.
“The more I biked, the more confident I got about biking in the city,” New Yorker Betty Cheong said in this article Why Women Are Biking in Record Numbers in NYC.
At Po Campo, we are delighted and eager to serve all these millions of people flooding the bike lanes, equipping them with the gear as mobile as they are. We expect that micromobility will continue to evolve as more and more people integrate it into their daily lives, and we’re looking forward to evolving our product right along with them.
*Micromobility refers to using lightweight personal vehicles like e-bikes and e-scooters for short trips
Giving Back Is What Moves Us Forward
Po Campo really upped its giving this year. We had the good fortune of being in an industry that thrived during the pandemic, the bike industry, at a time when so many other industries and their workers were suffering. I’m proud of the way we were able to give back to the organizations doing the hardwork of making biking better, more accessible, and safer for people.
- 350%: The increase in the number of bikes funded through our partnership with World Bicycle Relief because of the incredible growth in our online sales. Read more about partnership with World Bicycle Relief.
- 4,653: The number of medical grade masks donated to NYC working cyclists through our partnership with Biking Public Project.
- 51: The number of new Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) as awarded by the League of American Bicyclists, whom we partnered with in their INVEST in America campaign this summer (in which they increased their number of donors by over 50% compared to the previous summer's campaign!)
While giving back has always been a part of our brand ethos, the impact of this year’s efforts really showed us how leaning into these programs is key to moving the causes we care about forward. The experience this year has allowed us to reflect on our overall initiatives and we are proud to say we are going deeper next year. Stay tuned!
Growing Our Team Grows Our Potential
Po Campo was a very small team for a long time. Not because there wasn’t work to do, but because I was apprehensive about hiring the wrong people, or hiring the right people but not being able to provide the comfortable and stable work environment that I would want them to have.
I finally came to terms with these fears, recognizing that they were only holding us back. I knew I needed to surround myself with people who had expertise that I lacked and a true passion for growing our business. Danny Meyer of Shake Shack said in his episode on How I Built This: “The people who do best in business aren’t the ones with the least problems, they’re the people who solve their problems better and have more fun doing it with better people.” I was ready to bring on my fun problem solvers. And that we did.
This year, our core team (get to know them in this blog post) grew alongside a super helpful Advisory Board to fill in knowledge gaps. As many people told me, a good team really is a “1 + 1 = 3” kind of outcome, where not only did we increase our manpower to get more done, but the fresh perspectives and new ideas really took us to a new place.
I’m really excited about continuing to grow our team next year!
Inviting You to Invest in Our Growth
When I compare Po Campo in December 2020 to Po Campo in December 2019, I’m so impressed with how far the business has come in just one year. Between growing our team, building out our product line, and the tailwinds of the bike boom, it has been a transformational year for the business.
As we look into 2021, I’m feeling a mix of excitement for our growth trajectory and all the awesome new product we will soon be launching, and deep gratitude towards our loyal customers and supporters, without whom we would not have gotten to this point. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the launch of our equity crowdfunding campaign, which gives anyone (including YOU!) a financial stake in our company for as little as $150.
The details of the deal, our company’s traction, and growth plans are all on our campaign page. I invite you to be an investor in Po Campo, helping to fund our growth as we put the pedal down and bring our sustainable, stylish and functional bags to more and more people.
I wish you a happy and safe holiday season. After this year, I think we’ve all learned to expect the unexpected, but I’m pulling for 2021 to be a year with a little more predictability – and lots of biking. What about you?