First and foremost, we’d like to offer a sincere apology for being so out of touch with our followers on the Nisolo blog. The last few months have been some of the most exciting and transformational ever for Nisolo, and we cannot wait to update each of you with all of the great news. Thankfully, we’ve had the opportunity to grow our team, and now, we will be able to keep in touch at least once every week or two through our blog!
For this first blog post of the fall, we decided to start right where we left off in February: The Unreasonable Institute. Thanks to the support of the Nisolo community, two of the Nisolo co-founders (Patrick & Zoe) spent six weeks at the Unreasonable Institute in Boulder, Colorado. As a reminder, Unreasonable is an accelerator program dedicated to tackling the world’s biggest problems by arming entrepreneurs with the mentorship, capital, and a lasting, robust network to make it happen.
One of the most important events of the summer was the Unreasonable Climax Event, when over 1,000 investors, mentors, and Boulder citizens gathered to hear the 12 Unreasonable fellows share the story of their enterprises. Nisolo Founder, Patrick Woodyard, shared a quick presentation on Nisolo at the event, and we’re happy to share it here:
The air in Colorado was definitely fresh and the mountains were beautiful, but the greatest highlight of the summer was for sure the progress that we made in gearing Nisolo up for scale. In this post, we’d like to focus on three specific areas with more updates to come in the next few weeks: Impact, Growth, and Primary Takeaways from the summer at Unreasonable.
At Unreasonable this summer, we had a major focus on building strategy that will allow us to have an even deeper impact in Peru. Our shoemakers have experienced a 400% income increase since beginning to work with us, which has led to things like inaugural access to education and savings and significant home improvements. This impact has affected the lives of over 120 people! While we are proud of these achievements, we definitely want more for our remarkable shoemakers and their families. Within the next year, we hope to roll out a formalized savings program as well as financial management/accounting courses. This will help our shoemakers better manage the increase in income that they are experiencing as a result of the amazing work that they do.
Another highlight of the summer at Unreasonable was looking back on the growth we’ve experienced thus far. We’re excited to share that we have now sold Nisolo products in 48/50 US States and over 20 different countries around the world! This has been done through our website, partnerships with 40 retailers across the US, and special events—all without spending a cent on advertising. For over a year now, we have been net income positive, and sales in every area of the business will experience at least 100% YOY growth by the end of 2013. Things are going well, and man does it feel amazing to know that the more our sales grow, the more lives we can impact in Peru!
While we learned an incredible amount this past summer, we’d like to address one specific takeaway in this first blog post. For those of you who have started your own endeavor or who have worked for a start up, you may resonate with this. The last two years have flown by for us. We’ve worked harder and faster than we ever have in our lives. While this has been good in that it has allowed us to grow quickly, we have been operating with blinders on. In a sense, we have been far too focused on the everyday urgencies associated with running Nisolo.
Regretfully, this has led to the failure of consistently implementing the basic fundamentals of a healthy organization. This summer has been a good reminder to get back to the basics when it comes to things like communication among team members, balance between work and life outside of work, and the importance of celebrating as a team when good things come our way. Keeping simple truths like this one in mind, we are feeling more ready than ever to take on the high growth that we are experiencing in Peru and around the world.
Thank you very much for taking a moment to read, and we hope you’ll look forward to more blog posts coming soon.
-The Nisolo Team