Wow. 2014 was a very eventful year for us here. Thank you to all of our customers and fans out there that spent their hard earned dollars with us, shared a link with your friends, liked us on Facebook, commented on an instagram photo, backed us on Kickstarter...all of it. Obviously, without you...this toy adventure of ours couldn't happen.
We are super proud of all the accomplishments we had last year. Here's the highlights.
1. We went on a tour across Canada. We dropped in on Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Toronto, Markham, Ottawa and Montreal this year and we met so many new friends. Next time I roll around I need to take more photos though!
2. We fully funded two Kickstarter projects. Lethal Taco by Oscar Mar x David Dick and DIY Lovebot by Matthew Del Degan. These two projects essentially changed our lives. We knew that we wanted to get into production in a big way and we knew that these two projects would catapult us into something even better than a premium retailer...a premium toy maker. I am so proud to work with amazing artist partners like Oscar, Dave and Matt. Working with them closely on these projects have been extremely exciting so far and we are almost complete our first production run for both projects. Stay on top of our Kickstarter pages for the latest updates on those.
3. We opened up our flagship store in Markham. Our new shop in Markham is the first time that we've been able to offer Toy Workshops to anybody that walks in. This location been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I've always wanted a store that we can run as a community project. Our family actually lives in the neighbourhood and our intent is to turn our own community into an art district by bringing creative shops, activities and projects to the people that live here. It's a lofty goal...but I'd like to contribute something real to the people around us than simply selling toys. Toys are awesome but life is more than just plastic.
2014 was a helluva good year for us but is nothing compared to what we have in store for 2015.
Our 2015 goals this year are:
1. Make more Toys. Our primary objective is to complete our first production run of Lethal Taco and Lovebot first. But soon after that we plan to add to our lineup with more projects from more artists.
2. Mobile App. I said that I would do this in 2014 but I really didn't like how it was progressing so I decided to put the project on the shelf. It was very frustrating. But I'm gonna try again in 2015. iOS and Android developers...hit me up if you want to do something fun.
3. Mindzai USA We started to offer free shipping to the USA on orders over $100 this year but we think we can do a lot better. We are Canadian but we have a lot of friends in the US and we want to serve you better, faster...and in US dollars. If you haven't noticed, the Canadian dollar is not as high as it used to be and it makes it a bit harder to service you since we are getting hammered by shipping brokers, customs and the dollar exchange.
4. Exciting in-store experiences. We launched the store without too much fanfare in December. We really just wanted to meet our community. That was an awesome time and all...but wouldn't it be awesome to have an artist sign autographs in our store? Themed workshops? Have some live music in the shop? Art Gallery from artists around the world? Block Party? I am going to find something unique to do in-store this year...No solid plans yet...but I'll work on it.
5. Designer Con in LA. We were actually supposed to go in November. But It was more important for me to focus on toy production issues for Lovebot and Lethal Taco so we had to put it off. I was really bummed about it. We booked a booth and everything too!
6 and 7 are more personal goals but are more important than any of the goals above.
6. Spend more time with loved ones. We work a lot and we love what we do but everyone needs to take some time off once in a while to pay attention to the people around them.
7. Be more patient. I've had this goal on my list for many years now and will likely stay there until the day I die. But every year I remind myself that patience is a key to success. When I'm impatient I tend to make careless mistakes so i need to constantly focus on being patient with myself and my messy creative mind. I find that when I take the time to think things through, I reduce a lot of clutter in my life and I am able to come up with clear and concise goals and activities. This is the reason why our website is clean and simple and why almost all of our images are exactly 600x600 (someone actually has to source and edit all product images...me). And also why when you walk into our store, all of the products are lined up so straight in the way that it is. All of it is done with purpose...and all of it is due to some good old fashioned focus and patience.
That's it! It's a very simple list yet I know that each item comes with many challenges.
I wish you all the very best in 2015. Don't just daydream...Dream BIG and follow through. I know you can do it.