Po Campo turns 6 tomorrow! In honor of our anniversary, we're doing a 20.09% sale (code 6years) and I'm sharing the things I've learned to appreciate the most while on this crazy Po Campo journey. And, like all good journeys, I've included some of joys, heartaches and surprises.
Looking for a more typical round-up of highlights (and lowlights)? Read my 5th anniversary blog post from last year.
1. Seeing a Po Campo bag in the wild never gets old.
I remember the first time it happened, maybe two months after launching in 2009. I was driving and saw a woman riding the other direction with a Po Campo handlebar bag on her bike. I started honking and waving out the window at her wildly. She probably hated me and/or thought I was insane, but I was so ecstatic I couldn't help myself. I pulled over and called my co-founder, saying, "I saw one! I saw one!".
See more customer photos here
Still to this day, seeing someone with a bag is absolutely thrilling. I can't imagine that I'll ever be like, "Oh yawn, there's another Po Campo bag". I still wave wildly whenever I see someone with a Po Campo bag, and I try to talk to most people too. I'm keenly interested in know their experience with the bag, and if they have any suggestions on how to make it better. So, if you see someone yelling at you about your bag, know that it is probably me.
2. I appreciate how f'n hard it is to make things!
I've spent my whole professional career in product development in some capacity, but it wasn't until I started my own business that I appreciated all that goes into coming up with an idea, figuring out how to make it, then actually making it (and paying for it - whole other story), and getting it to where it needs to go - on time. Seriously, I'm stunned that anything arrives at a store on time, EVER. Now that I know all that goes into making things, I am much less likely to blink at higher prices, particularly from small companies like mine, because I'm like, "Dude, you deserve this. Way. to. go."
Rather than share the horror stories about all the things that have unexpectedly gone wrong, I'll instead share how I learned to not to let the unpredictable nature of manufacturing hamper my creativity, or attitude. The first couple years of Po Campo, whenever there was a delay, or there was a problem with a product, I would get really upset, faulting myself for why it didn't work better. As you can imagine, it can be hard to create new things and move forward when you are down on yourself, so eventually I learned to adopt an "it's a practice, not a perfect" mindset and just do the best job I can and continue to learn and improve. Like so much in life, it's a beautiful mess.
3. Finding like-minded souls
One of the sweetest parts of Po Campo for me has been finding and building our tribe. At our five year anniversary party last year, I knew a lot of people there, but there were a lot of new faces too. Yet, I wanted to become friends with everyone I met, and that's when I felt like we were really building something special.
Of course the joy of finding like-minded souls spreads throughout the whole business. I have a great team to help me work events and move the company forward; I've met inspiring people in the bike advocacy community with a shared vision of how great the world will be when more people are able to bike in their cities; I've developed deep friendships with other women entrepreneurs who I turn to in times of celebration and struggle; I've found great manufacturing partners that I enjoy working with and creating new product with...the list goes on and on. When I started Po Campo, I felt like I was "going out on my own", but it doesn't feel that way anymore.
Our original display, circa 2009
And, just think, if Po Campo were a human being, this would be its last summer before first grade. I can't wait to share with you all the things I've learned in our seventh year next summer!