Archives for March 2016

Buy Once

Buy Once

kusikuybabypiano

KUSIKUY Kids – hand knit alpaca wool sweater, ears hat and woolens.

I was checking on a KUSIKUY order at Green Mountain Diapers today (yes, besides glittens, we make amazing hand knit alpaca night pants and woolens) and was having a lovely chat with Karen, the owner of this great natural diapering company.  20 years ago, we were both starting our companies out of our homes while raising kids in a natural, healthy way. Karen was talking about how a friend of ours who owns Vermont Woods Studios is selling beautifully hand crafted furniture as “Buy Once.”  You get a lovingly hand made piece of furniture that becomes a loved part of family life, forever.  It reminded me of KUSIKUY.

Handmade in Vermont - Buy Once, love forever!

Vermont Woods Studios – Handmade in Vermont – Buy Once, love forever!

 

In 2007 KUSIKUY launched the “8 year sweater” a guarantee that our hand knit alpaca sweaters would last 8 years.  To support this, we free offered hole repair and replacement services.  We waited and braced ourselves to see what would happen.  Now 7 years later, we have not had a single sweater returned or sent in for repairs.  The reason?  Most of our KUSIKUY sweaters last for 12 years and counting.  An 8 year old sweater is still a “young adult” in KUSIKUY sweater years!  So with KUSIKUY, I guess you can also say, Buy Once!

KUSIKUY Baby Dream sweater - 10 years old and still kicking!

KUSIKUY Baby Dream sweater – 10 years old and still kicking!

Here is my friend’s daughter in her 10 year old KUSIKUY hand-me-down from her 2 big sisters who each wore it for years!  Years of heavy play and machine washing and it’s still a favorite.  KUSIKUY certainly is Buy Once!

KUSIKUY’s first investor!

KUSIKUY’s first investor!

Mock up of KUSIKUY's new hang tags - coming soon.

Mock up of KUSIKUY’s new hang tags – coming in April.

So exciting.  I got a totally unexpected phone call today.  It was an investor wanting to know how he can help KUSIKUY.  “Can I pay for the labels he asked?”  Instead of accepting payment for labels, I signed him on as KUSIKUY’s first investor.  Now this is his chance to be a part of the KUSIKUY history, coming in at the ground level as we are just getting started with our next decade of growth and development.  Even better, he is no longer “paying for labels,” instead he is making a three-year investment with interest.  How great is that?

Watch for KUSIKUY's May Kickstarter coming soon!

Watch for KUSIKUY’s May Kickstarter: Design your own glitten – coming soon!

So other investors in the wings this is the time to come forward – send me a message and we’ll talk!  We have other exciting fund raising opportunities coming up too such as a May kickstarter and summer-long discounted pre-sales.

 

Scaling KUSIKUY – $5 million in 3 years

Scaling KUSIKUY – $5 million in 3 years

KUSIKUYLLamaSo something folks are constantly asking me is if it takes us 12 hours to knit a glitten, how will KUSIKUY scale?  The answer is through place.  We will continue to seek out enclaves of amazingly skilled artisans  with access to local natural fibers and work with them to keep expanding the KUSIKUY line.  Building capabilities and opportunities.  After Bolivia we can expand to Peru, where KUSIKUY has worked int he past and still is in contact with its former producers.  Then it’s off to Africa for a summer line of hand made brilliantly dyed cotton dresses and shirts for men and women and then on to Asia for some silk.. All the while maintaining Fair Trade standards, celebrating the artisans, delighting the consumer, and making gorgeous clothing that lasts, is loved and makes everyone feel wonderful.

Building a Team

Building a Team

team thinkingI’ve been listing to Alex Blumberg’s podcast, startup, and was intrigued when he talked about valuing a business that did not yet exist – at $10 million and then working backwards to see what was needed to get there.  So I did the same with KUSIKUY – valued it as $5 million in 3 years and realized I needed a team (and some more money but that comes later)!

I also know from when I grew KUSIKUY before, that I did not like running a large firm alone.  I felt lonely with no one to celebrate successes or commiserate over setbacks with.  I wanted this to be fun and I wanted fun people around me to share this with.  I also did not want them to be my employees, because I did not want to have to constantly be directing everything, I wanted folks also being in charge and sharing in ideas, direction and talent.  I wanted a team.

So I looked over my favorite friends made these last 6 months of growing KUSIKUY and found three people I would love to have on board – ones with a proven track record of success in their own work, with independent flexible work schedules, and an interest in KUSIKUY.  J: a wonderful visionary of people and the online user experience, J2: the systems guy who could take our inventory control, ordering systems and fulfillment software though our current Bolivia production to Peru, Africa, Asia and beyond (more on that in the he next paragraph), and T: an amazing men’s fashion guru who also understands wool.  tea

It was spring break.  I had some free time.  So I set up meetings with each of these great people and pitched them my idea.  They were intrigued.  I am waiting to hear back what they decide.  We have a get together party scheduled for May…

 

Getting down to business

Getting down to business

KUSIKUY coffeeSo excited about the design work that Jon and CommonSpace have been doing for KUSIKUY.  A lovely day over a chai and coffee at Greenfield Coffee a local shop we never visited yet, and will certainly visit again.  I met Jen and we talked KUSIKUY, really loving the “arm sock” feel of the glittens, so soft, warm and cozy!  Almost ready with the new logo design.  Here’s to our second round of development…