What’s shakin’, Collective! Another month has come and gone and we’re well into the second quarter of 2019 with (arguably) the best months of the year ahead of us. Who’s excited?!
I probably don’t need to devote yet another paragraph to last month’s March Madness tournament but, for anyone who’s keeping track, I did end up winning our office pool, wrestling last year’s crown from Jess and securing a lunch of my choosing on Friday. Okay, I swear that’s all I’ll say on basketball (until next March, of course…).
Here at TC HQ, I’m happy to report that we’ve found a nice little groove as an 11-person team. Given the internal shakeup I mentioned last month, where the Fulfillment and Office teams function separately, we’ve done a pretty good job figuring out each team’s pre-summer goals and routines. So far, as a whole, our days involve a lot of inventory, a number of exciting marketing initiatives, and a bit of internal shuffling to cover teammates’ vacations.
Providing generous vacation time has been a value of TC’s since day one (we are a travel company, after all), and Darryl always encourages us to take our entire vacation allotment before the year is up. The flip side of this means that it’s a rare day when all 11 of us are in the office together. Just this month, Graham visited Hawaii, Beth explored New York, Veronica went to Cuba, and Matt vacationed in Mexico. Talk about a globe-trotting group!
For more on what we got up to when we weren’t jet-setting in April, keep reading below!
1. Gifting Travel 002 wrapped: In what feels like the blink of an eye, Gifting Travel 002, Sara and Maribel to Spain, is a wrap! Graham and Stew flew to Nicaragua at the end of March to pick up Sara and her mother Maribel for over a week’s worth of adventures in southern Spain and the foursome got to know each other as they visited Madrid, Seville, and Cadiz.
Graham and Stew had a ton of awesome stories to recount when they returned, and one of the funniest stories described their experiences at a play in Madrid called Mi niña, niña mía. The play was in Spanish and the subject matter sounded complex—and dark! Needless to say, neither Graham nor Stew was 100% certain what transpired in the play’s 90 minutes (and actually had fairly different interpretations of what they’d seen) and both required just a bit of translating from Sara when it ended! Overall, the theatre sounded like an awesome experience and combining it with a soccer game, some flamenco dancing, and a ton of tapas didn’t hurt!
Stew is in the process of going through the hours and hours of footage he took on the trip; it’s no small task but we are soo excited to get a more in-depth look at their time in Spain. I, personally, can’t wait to see Sara’s face when she finds the book she’s been searching for and watch Maribel dance while keeping time with her new castanets!
So stay tuned for the GT 002 teaser video coming soon and the longer recap video after that! It’ll be worth the wait!
2. Meet Jas: I’ve mentioned our 11-person team a few times now and you may be wondering: who is this elusive eleventh team member? Well, that person is Jas and she is an amazing addition to the team in the role of Fulfillment Assistant. Jas is from Crewkerne, Somerset, England and has brought her calm, easygoing demeanor to our crew. Fun fact about Jas: a mere two weeks into her time at TC, she broke her arm snowboarding…and handled it like an absolute champ! Not only did she not miss a day of work but she managed to cut leather, write postcards, and build Clips with one hand. Talk about a legend! We’re so happy to have Jas on board/to talk Game of Thrones with every Monday.
3. Granville Island Brewing collaboration: On April 25, we partnered with Granville Island Brewing to celebrate their company rebrand and help them launch some new beers at a party at the Vancouver Fish Company on Granville Island. Part of the new brand’s mandate involves “finding meaning through craft,” which is where Traveller Collective came in! In addition to creating co-branded TC x GIB Clips, which every guest was stoked to receive, Graham and Jess set up a small both to showcase our products and demonstrate the Clip assembly process! They spent the evening mingling with guests, talking shop, and tasting delicious beer. As a company that’s focused solely on ecommerce, this event was a great opportunity to connect with fellow Vancouverites, face-to-face about our products, and talk travel!
Here’s a shot of the co-branded Clip!
That’s all for April, folks! Sending happy Spring vibes to everyone and feel free to get in touch with me to chat Game of Thrones predictions at email@example.com.
For anyone who has been following TC and reading our Monthly Updates since last March…well, first of all, THANK YOU! You are undoubtedly a wonderful person and we’re so lucky to be sharing our adventures with you :).
Second, you’ll remember that March is a very exciting month here at TC because we participate in a little event called March Madness. That’s right, the Madness has struck Team TC once again and we’re all fully engrossed in the NCAA Division 1 men’s college basketball tournament taking place in America right now. Okay, I’m exaggerating when I say that we’re ALL fully engrossed. There are definitely a few of us who have been rabidly following every game but there are also folks here who lost interest in the tournament the minute their brackets busted and their dreams of a free lunch went up in smoke. However, as the person in the office who is currently in first place well, let’s just say, my focus is more than a little divided. Goooooo Virginia!
Alas, I digress! It is a lovely day in Vancouver and the office doors are wideeeee open. The daffodils have bloomed, the cherry blossoms are in fine form, and the first quarter of 2019 is behind us. I’d like to pretend that I don’t know that it’s due to rain for the rest of the week but it’s Vancouver, after all, so we’ll celebrate the sun when we see it!
March was an exciting month here at Traveller Collective. We launched products and sent two employees on Gifting Travel and also made a few changes internally to prepare for the rest of the year. Read on below for all of the details and feel free to get in touch with me with any questions or for step-by-step instructions on how to set up your office’s very own March Madness pool in 2020. You know you want to!
1. GT 002 underway!: After some last-minute personnel shuffling on our end, TC team members Stew and Graham headed off on March 25 to pick up Sara and her mother Maria (Maribel) from their homes in Nicaragua. After a few action-packed days in Madrid, Spain, where they took in churches, the theatre, and a Real Madrid soccer game, the foursome is now in Seville, Spain, where there are no shortages of beautiful streets to walk and tapas to eat!
Of course, as with GT 001 (Fatima and Ayat in Turkey), there were some unforeseen twists and turns that kept the travellers and our founder Darryl on their toes before the trip even started. For example, when we learned that travellers from Nicaragua need visas to catch connecting flights in the US, Darryl was required to do more last minute shuffling to ensure the group would make it into Spain. Rebooking the flights to go through Mexico City instead of the US was a last minute (and costly!) move but, as with most travel-related decisions, it was completely worth it. It’s crazy to think the trip is wrapping up soon but we’ve been loving following the group’s daily adventures and hope you have, too!
Which reminds me: our Instagram is always the best place to stay up to date on all things Gifting Travel. Graham and Stew have shared some awesome looking Airbnbs and some equally impressive dance moves there and I promise that we’re only a tiny bit jealous of all of the fun they’ve been having. Do you have questions about Gifting Travel? It’s one of our favourite things to talk about so shoot us a message via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on social and let’s chat!
2. Continent Rings live: After ordering a bunch of ring samples and testing various sizes, colours, and types, we are VERY excited to finally have Continent Rings live on our site. The loyal supporters that make up our Collective have been clamouring for Continent Rings for a while now and we’re thrilled to deliver at last!
Continent Rings are made of gold-plated sterling silver and are .4cm bigger than our regular Rings; they’re the perfect addition to existing collections because both the size and colour allow you to organize your Country Rings within each Continent. There are seven Continent Rings in total so why not try and collect them all?!
3. Designated Fulfillment team: As I’ve noted in Updates past, order fulfillment—the side of the business that completes customer support, stockpiles inventory, and builds orders—has always been a team activity at Traveller Collective. No matter the size of our team, we’ve all jumped in to build orders and write messages to our customers around the world. As is the case in many young, small companies, everyone on Team TC wears multiple hats and completes a wide variety of tasks. As we grow, though, it’s made more and more sense that specific team members take full ownership of fulfillment, the backbone of everything we do here at TC.
As such, some of our team have remained fully entrenched in fulfillment while some of us have taken a step back from daily order building. We believe that splitting our 11-person team this way and formally recognizing the Fulfillment team’s ownership of this aspect of the company will lead to better, tighter systems and more efficient processes…which means shorter lead times on orders, better customer service, and continued product development! While we love the idea of all hands on deck, there’s also something to be said for too many cooks. So, as we continue to restock and prepare for the rest of the year, including (gulp!) the 2019 holiday season, you can expect lovely handwritten postcards from our Fulfillment team—Matt, Erin, Rebecca, Beth, and Jas—every time you order. That said, all of us enjoy the hands-on aspect of the company so much that there are sure to be some guest appearances from yours truly and others throughout the year!
4. Film set for a day: At the end of February we had the unique experience of turning HQ into a film set and shooting a TC commercial here in the office! The commercial marks the first of a number of creative film projects we hope to complete this year, in addition to a video chronicling GT 002, of course . With Stew leading the charge and procuring a director of photography, a film crew, an actress, and all of the supplies (not to mention writing, directing, and acting in the project!), we had a super exciting day of filming in the office. I, for one, have almost no experience on sets so it was an especially cool experience to see the different roles the crew play and to watch Stew produce and direct using the skills he honed on a little show called Game of Thrones (easily my favourite fun fact about Stew!). Getting to laugh and cheer when Team TC members Veronica and Graham made guest appearances also made for a very entertaining afternoon—check out our commercial here and see if you can spot them!
And don’t forget to stay tuned for more video content from the team here at TC. We’ve got some fun things planned and we’ll be sharing it all with you, Collective!
That’s all for this month. As always, get in touch in any way that strikes ya. Have a fantastic April!
Hello, Collective! It has been a minute since I’ve typed these words and, in fact, many months have gone by since I’ve updated you. 2019 is well underway and we are rolling along here at TC HQ in Vancouver. As I write this, a mild January is long gone and a cold and snowy February is wrapping up with some much-welcomed sun! Is it just me or is January insanely long and then February lasts about two days? Anyone else?
Inside TC HQ, our Fulfillment team is still in full swing prepping materials while the rest of the team handmakes orders almost fulltime, which is a very different scene than January 2018! The reason for our focus on fulfillment is the result of an incredibly busy, at-times-stressful-but-mostly-educational holiday season. More details on that, a recap of our last three months, and a few announcements below…so keep reading!
1. Meet Bethany!: And then there were 10! We were thrilled to welcome another former Prince Georgian to our squad when Bethany stepped in to help us with holiday order fulfillment back in December. And, wouldn’t you know it, we loved her so much we couldn’t let her go! Beth has joined the Fulfillment team and jumped right in to handling leather, engraving rings on the laser, and generally being a source of positivity, good humour, and recipes (usually involving some form of fried chicken). We’re so glad to have you, Beth!
2. NEW Rings live!: As many of you may have seen by now, we launched a number of new Rings on our website…and we think you’re as excited about them as we are. That’s likely because some of these Rings only exist because you kept asking for them! Rings are perhaps TC’s best example of customer-driven products and a number of our Rings (3-Letter, US State, and now full name Country Rings) were launched due to demand created by YOU. And I think I speak for Team TC when I say we wouldn’t have it any other way! It’s really rewarding to be able to deliver products that we know people want and that encourage you to collect Rings, engage with the Collective, and TRAVEL! That’s what it’s all about, after all.
To recap, new to the collection are full name Country Rings (with or without dates), full name US State and Canada Province Rings (with or without dates), and Custom Rings that can include up to 13 characters. Check out the full lineup here and remember: we’re listening! Want a Ring that you don’t see online? Make it a Custom (up to 13 characters!) OR message us to share your Ring ideas!
3. GT 002 in the works: 2018 marked our first-ever Gifting Travel trip and, thanks to your support, Darryl and Jess were fortunate enough to accompany Fatima and her son Ayatollah on the trip of a lifetime from their home in Morocco to Istanbul, Turkey.
This March, we’re super excited to be departing for GT 002, which will send Sara from Nicaragua and her mother Maria on their own once-in-a-lifetime trip to Spain. Darryl is working on ironing out the many details that come with organizing a GT trip and is beyond excited to visit Spain with Sara and Maria. This time around, Stew will be travelling with Darryl and filming the whole experience…so follow along! There are sure to be some memorable moments as Sara and Maria leave Nicaragua and visit a country they’ve always dreamed of seeing.
4. Holiday recap: The holiday season around these parts was…wild. That’s the only way to describe it. We were so inspired by the number of people who wanted to share TC with friends and family for Christmas and your support was nothing short of incredible. Personally, 2018 was my second holiday season at TC and it was beyond exciting to see the way that it’s grown and transformed in the space of a year (including the addition of 6 team members!).
That said…the season was not without its challenges. In fact, other than “wild”, I think “challenge” is the best way to sum up holiday season 2018! As a team, we prepped for the rush by looking at past holiday seasons, which, as a young company, is often the best data to rely on. As in other years, we hired seasonal help and anticipated that our internal growth would be able to keep up with the demand we anticipated…but quite simply, we were not sufficiently prepared and unable to keep up with order volumes and it showed in the delays experienced by some of our holiday customers.
Lucky for us, we’re not a team to shy away from challenges. On the contrary, we’re excited about the lessons that last season afforded us and we’re determined to crush the upcoming holiday season for you, our Collective (and, at the rate time is going, the holidays will be here very soon!). We’ve recapped 2018 as a group and have set new goals for 2019, including and especially the busy days between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve.
So, we want to thank you a million times over for your patience and for your support. All of the words of encouragement, the kind emails, and the excited product reviews do not go unnoticed and, quite the opposite, are discussed at length as reasons why the Collective, spread across 100 countries, is so very special.
From all ten of us here in Vancouver, we hope your 2019s are off to fabulous starts and look forward to keeping you up to speed as the year rumbles on. Happiest of travels!
I’m writing this month’s update from an office that feels very much like Santa’s workshop! The Christmas movies have been playing and the advent calendars have been opened – it’s December, everyone!
So, in the spirit of the holidays, I’ve decided to tweak a portion of a classic Christmas poem to share the joy of order fulfillment with our Collective. Read on, Dasher, on Prancer, to find out a bit about what we’re doing yesterday, today, and every day until Christmas…
‘Twas the month that has Christmas, and all through TC,
We’re building your orders, and smiling with glee;
The leather’s been cut and the Rings have been stamped,
Postcards have been written ‘til our hands have cramped;
It’s Darryl and Graham and sweet Jessica, too,
Don’t forget Veronica…wait, is she new?;
Plus Matt, Lauren, Erin, and Rebecca in tow,
And then there is Stewart, and our dear dog Cleo;
We’re building your Clips and we’re mailing your Tees,
In hopes you’ll find TC under your Christmas trees;
It means so much to us that you’ve decided to share,
The things we create for you to carry and wear;
So as the year closes we’re sending you cheer,
And shipping your packages with love from right here;
May your holiday season be a warm cozy dream,
Happy December to all from the whole TC team!
- NEW Toques: We launched our first-ever toques a few weeks back and are stoked to see them heading out the door already. This season’s toques come in Light Grey and Charcoal; they’re extremely soft and cozy and very un-itchy, which is a huge bonus! You’re able to wear the toques with or without a cuff because the small white TC tag is reversible. More info and photos of the toques can be found here and please let us know if you have any questions about them!
- Meet Veronica!: November was a super exciting month for us because we welcomed aboard our 9thteam member. We are THRILLED to introduce The Collective to Veronica, who has jumped in with both feet as TC’s Social Media Coordinator. Veronica hails from Calgary, Alberta, and is a seasoned travel veteran despite being the youngest member of the squad (by, um, just a few years!). We immediately fell in love with “Ron’s” energy and enthusiasm and she’s already keeping us entertained during order fulfillment (she’s got some pretty unique dance moves!). We look forward to V keeping us up to speed on what the kids are doin’ these days! Welcome to Team TC, Veronica :).
- TC Open House recap: We’ve been talking about hosting a small friends and family night here at TC HQ for some time and finally decided that we’d waited long enough! On November 22, Team TC invited about 35 of our nearest and dearest local pals to mix and mingle, eat pizza, and drink a few beers at our office. We also premiered the full-length Gifting Travel 001 video to this group (which you can watch here on our YouTube channel!). It was an awesome night and a real pleasure to share our space, and our story, with this small but extremely receptive group. We always appreciate the chance to talk about Gifting Travel and the evening allowed us to spread awareness about this important project to some of the people in our lives.
As you’d expect, Stew was on-hand at the Open House to film the night’s events. Check out Open House recap vid here!
Now seems like a great time to remind you that we love visitors so, if you’re ever in the area, please stop by for a chat and to check out our space! Maybe we’ll be watching Elf or an episode of Friends or, if you wait a few months, we might just have the BBQ fired up!
That’s all for November – back to the workshop I go! Happy holidays, Collective! See you in 2019!
Welcome to November, all! We’re comfortable here in the year’s penultimate month and continuing to gear up for the holiday season, TC style (meaning inventory prep and plenty of tea). Daylight Savings Time ended in BC on November 4, which means that while we did get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday, it’s getting darker and darker when we leave the office every day.
No tears here, though, as October was an unseasonably beautiful, unrainy month for us Vancouverites. Team TC is determined to soak up the last of the sun while we can (and some of us are better at this than others). Rebecca went on an epic hike to Garibaldi Lake that ended in plenty of snow and Jess continues to play outdoor soccer with no prospect of weather delays. However, Graham has moved from beach volleyball to hockey, a sure sign that #winteriscoming…
October was another productive, thought-provoking month here at TC HQ. A lot of our discussions these days center around inventory and products: do we have enough stock to fulfill holiday orders? How many boxes should we fold from week to week? What new products are Collective members absolutely desperate for?! The exciting news is that, with an increasingly well-rounded fulfillment team, we’re able to answer these kinds of questions with more and more accuracy and to plan effectively for the upcoming days, weeks, and months. We’re also able to devote time to product development so now (and always) is a great time for your feedback. On that note, keep reading below for some exciting hints about the items you can expect to see online this year!
- NEW Decals in stock: That’s right, we now have new decals live on our website! Darryl designed the decals with a fresh look and we’re stoked to see these versatile waterproof pieces back online. Even better: they come in a 3-pack for $5.00 USD.
- New products on order: Speaking of that new new, there are a couple of products coming down the pipe that we’re extra excited about. The reason? A few of these products have been on our Collective’s minds (and in your comments on our social) for a while, meaning that we’re taking your ideas and making them HAPPEN. We love seeing your product suggestions come to life in our store; that’s how our Necklaces, State Rings, and Dated Country Rings came to be, after all! While these upcoming products aren’t actually in-house yet, they are on order…and let’s just say that your Clips and Necklaces are going to look prettyyyy flashy. Okay, I’ve already said too much…
- TC x Wholesale: Did you know that TC also fulfills wholesale orders? Businesses occasionally reach out to us about ordering bulk Clips, Necklaces, and Rings for their employees, customers, or partners…and, needless to say, we’re thrilled to oblige! In October we had the privilege of creating two co-branded Clips for different companies who wanted to give members of their communities leather Clips stamped with their logo in addition to ours. It’s such a privilege to get to work with likeminded brands who aspire to shop Canadian and who love giving back!
Looking to purchase TC products in bulk for your business or interested in a different wholesale opportunity or collaboration with TC? Reach out to our very own Graham “Handsome Graham” Stan at email@example.com for more information. And thank you for thinking of us!
That’s it for October, Collective! Signing off now as your secretive-but-always-happy-to-help-TC team member :). Cheers to YOU!
Happy October, Collective! As the year’s spookiest month rolls on, we’re looking forward to carving pumpkins, watching scary movies, and, of course, drinking pumpkin-flavoured beer at the office in a few weeks. While I’m unlikely to don a costume on October 31, I’ll be more than happy to eat any Halloween candy that comes my way...mini chocolate bars, anyone?!
Now back to last month: as is typical of most retail right after summer, we saw September slow down enough for us to catch our breaths and ensure your orders were on their way to you within 8 business days. The colder weather brought some respite from the smoky heat we’d gotten used to in August, but the sun did come out right at the end of the month so we could throw a final BBQ for Darryl’s birthday. Burgers, chips, and potato salad are always a good time!
We also had our last quarterly meeting of the year in September; these meetings always leave me invigorated and inspired and I think the rest of the team would agree! We’re primed and ready for Q4 and are making some exciting changes internally to ensure that we’re well-equipped to execute everything that’s in the pipeline. In addition, we’re already preparing to the best of our ability for the upcoming holiday season; we want to ensure we have sufficient inventory and people-power to allow for a successful gifting season for you! Because TC is still a young company, it’s really hard to know what our holiday season will look like. One thing I know for sure: I’ll be buying eggnog prettttyyy quickly and requesting Christmas music while we fulfill orders. November 1, it’s all goin’ down!
To read more about what we got up to in September and where we’re headed next, take a peek below…
- Crewneck sweater launch: On the last day of September, we were super excited to officially launch TC crewneck sweaters. Just in time for the cold weather (at least in our part of the world), these crews are warm, soft, and ultra comfortable. And yes, I’m speaking from personal experience, as both crews have already become an important staple in my wardrobe. We’re pumped about the two colours we’re currently offering and would welcome any feedback about other colours you’d like to see (Black? White? Red? Get at us!).
We believe crewnecks are an important addition to the TC apparel lineup, and they’re one of many items we want to be able offer in addition to our Clips, Necklaces, and Rings. Like our tee shirts, they’re unisex and come in sizes XS to Large. Despite being fleece-lined, they’re not overly bulky so they’re easy to shove in your suitcase for trips to colder climates.
- TC x Sofar Sounds: On September 23, we were incredibly privileged to host a Sofar Sounds event at our space in Vancouver. For those unfamiliar with Sofar Sounds—I was until I attended this show!—it’s a global movement whose mission is to bring the magic back to live music. Sofar accomplishes this by transforming everyday spaces (like our office or someone’s backyard) into venues for intimate, secret live shows. As hosts of the event, along with the 60 or so guests who’d won tickets through Sofar’s lottery system, we were treated to performances by three amazing BC-based artists: Abraham, Friday Night Fires, and Devours. Each act was unique, captivating, and unbelievably talented; it was by far the coolest concert I’ve ever been to. We also all agreed that we’d never been part of a more respectful, attentive audience (a nice change from the noisy movie theatres I frequent). Our participation in the whole event was made possible by Stew, our resident Sofar expert and TC employee since June. Stew’s been involved in music scenes around the world and has attended Sofar events in four different cities. I would HIGHLY recommend checking out Sofar’s website and signing up for your city or a city you plan on visiting – I’m sure your experience will be worthwhile!
This collaboration with Sofar represents the first of, hopefully, a bunch of events we’d like to take part in or organize in conjunction with other groups, Vancouver-based or otherwise. One of the most wonderful and unexpected benefits of growing our team (you’ll remember we’ve doubled in size since February!) is that our network of friends keeps growing and, as a result, we’re meeting more people doing really cool things. It was a pleasure to share our space with likeminded Vancouverites and I know it won’t be the last time.
That’s all for now, Collective! Enjoy October and, as always, please reach out to us with anything you need from your friends here at TC :)!
As the end of summer nears, it’s safe to say that August has been a bit of a blur! I feel like I’m constantly repeating myself on this topic but it really is crazy how fast time passes, particularly as the year goes on. Here at TC HQ we’re really glad we followed through on our hiring goals and added two more people to our team because we’ve rarely had a day in August when at least one team member hasn’t been away. I travelled to Whistler, Jess roadtripped from San Francisco to Big Sur, Stew returned home to Northern Ireland for a family wedding, and Graham is heading off to Italy as the month draws to a close. Even more importantly, though, Darryl was able to enjoy a bit of time at home with his newborn son! August has definitely brought some big changes to Team TC and we are all looking ahead with a bunch of excitement and, as is always the case with a growing business, some butterflies and question marks!
Keep reading below for details about what we’ve been up to and where we’re headed as the weather changes and we prepare for the year’s last quarter and the busy Christmas season!
- More new hires: As promised in the June/July update, we’re super excited to confirm that we’ve added two new hires to our team. That’s right, Team TC is now a team of eight! Rebecca hails from Liverpool and had literally just arrived in Vancouver when she joined our team as a Fulfillment Assistant. She comes with glowing recommendations from one of the UK’s leading headwear producers and brings her hands-on approach and fabulously dry humour to our team.
Erin is originally from Saskatchewan and is an incredibly talented singer and songwriter—we know because we’ve been listening to her tunes while we fulfill your orders (check out the band Rah Rah and you’ll see what I mean)! Erin has taken to the role of Fulfillment Assistant like a natural thanks to her passion for teamwork and her many years in logistics and warehousing.
It feels great to round out our team with two more women, both of whom bring unique experience and brand-new lunch spot recommendations to the group. Welcome aboard, Erin and Rebecca!
- Gifting Travel 002: Now that Gifting Travel 001 is officially wrapped, we’re working on launching Gifting Travel 002, which we anticipate taking place sometime in 2019. The cool part about 002 is that we’ll be able to take what we learned during 001—everything from the best way to translate WhatsApp messages to tips on applying for visitor visas—and use it for GT 002, all while learning completely new lessons as we plan a new trip for a different person from another country.
With Stew at the helm, we’re also working on a 10 minute or so video recap of the first trip. Stay tuned for updates on the video as well as on GT 002!
- wais update: Those of you who have been following wais, TC’s sister company that asks trustworthy locals in cities around the world for their five favourite spots for food and drinks, will have noticed that we haven’t added new spots to the site throughout much of August. The reason for this is because we are taking time to gather feedback about wais so we can improve the site for users. We’re developing a short survey that wais users can complete based on their experience and are hoping to solicit in-depth feedback from any users who are willing to participate. Does this sound like you?! Then please raise your hand and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org we can arrange a chat via email, phone, or Skype!
We always talk about how important feedback is to us and we’re hoping that this purposeful, structured effort to hear what you think shows that we mean business! We chat about wais all the time in our office but can only make it better when we know what it’s missing based on user experience. That’s where you come in!
- Necklaces and more necklaces: We’ve noticed a significant spike in the number of necklaces you’ve been ordering in recent months, which is both awesome and surprising given how popular the Brown Clip has always been! The Gunmetal Necklace is certainly our most popular style while the Dainty Silver and Classic Silver usually come in fairly evenly behind it. The Dainty Brass was our least popular necklace by a large margin and so, after switching suppliers to a company that didn’t offer a brass option, we decided to stop selling Dainty Brass altogether. The good news is that, a) our new supplier is keeping our current necklaces well-stocked and we’re really happy with both their quality and appearance and b) we are always looking to expand our necklace line based on customer input so there’s nothing to say that we won’t have a brass, or gold, or rose gold necklace option in the future.
That’s all for August, folks! Thank you for all of your summertime support and wishing you a happy September, whether that means back to school, back to sweaters, or back to planning your next travel adventure :).
And just like that, it’s August! You’ll notice we’ve been awfully quiet from TC HQ in recent months, but we swear it’s for good reasons, many of which are described below. Summer is officially in full swing around these parts: we’ve BBQed for Friday lunch, we’ve acquired two new office fans, and some of us have even foregone socks and shoes given the recent heatwave.
We also spent our first Friday evening as a team of six (plus a few special guests) outside the office enjoying a favourite summer pastime: watching the Vancouver Canadians baseball team beat the Eugene Emeralds 5-1 at Nat Bailey Stadium. It was really awesome to spend time together away from our computers and hammers, and these kinds of socials will be an increasingly important part of TC’s culture as our team grows (more on that below!).
For now, we’re spending most of our time making your orders and the rest of the time doing fun stuff like wrapping up Gifting Travel 001, launching new merch, and tweaking the website. Keep reading for details and, as always, please get in touch to say hey whenever the urge strikes :).
- Gifting Travel 001 WRAPPED!: If you were following along on Instagram, you’ll know that Jess and Darryl spent 10 amazing days overseas for Gifting Travel 001. They flew to Morocco to pick up Fatima and Ayatollah and then soaked up everything that Istanbul, Turkey, had to offer. Highlights included visiting the Blue Mosque and the Istanbul Aquarium, taking Fatima and Ayat on a boat for the first time, and watching Fatima revel in moments like getting her first receipt and eating her first McDonald’s cheeseburger.
To commemorate Gifting Travel 001, and in preparation for Gifting Travel 002, we’ve put together a short film that features highlights from the trip. We’re working on a longer piece that will include interviews with Darryl and Fatima and more footage of their time together but, for now, check out the GT video and feel free to share widely within your network!
- New hire(s) continued: We really lucked out when we welcomed Stewart onto the team as our second Production and Fulfillment Coordinator back in June. Stew hails from Belfast, Ireland, and is an incredibly talented actor and director (he worked on Game of Thrones, sooo…). Stew’s knowledge of film, television, theatre, and music is unparalleled, and he’s a welcome addition to my discussions with TC team member Matt about celebrity news and the newest Netflix must-watch. Speaking of watching videos, Stew’s filmmaking abilities are showcased in the Gifting Travel short film so go WATCH IT NOW if you haven’t already!
We are currently in the process of hiring TWO Fulfillment Assistants to help Stew and Matt cut the leather and engrave the rings that are integral to your handmade orders. Fingers crossed that by August’s update, we’ll be a team of eight (plus Cleo, of course!).
- White Tee launch: Just in time for summer, we introduced our Classic White Pocket Tee last week. We worked with our designer pal Nick to decide on colours and style and are really happy with how this beauty turned out! It’s versatile, comfortable, and classic—view it here and stay tuned for more merch dropping soon.
- Fulfillment (and more fulfillment): Fulfillment is our term for our process of completing your orders and getting them out the door to you, our wonderful Collective! It’s been a fulfillment-heavy summer for us and the amount of time we’re spending over in the “workshop” area of our space definitely proves it. That’s why we’re working to build out our team, improve our efficiencies, track metrics and set goals, and strengthen all of our abilities (from box folding to ring engraving) to ensure that your order is built to our standards and on its way to you within 8 business days. We’re all learning what fulfillment looks like as a team of six, soon to be eight, and it’s always exciting and always a work in progress :).
So, with that said, thank you so much for your patience this summer and for communicating with us as often as you do. Whether it’s to tell us what you want on your Custom 3-Letter Ring, to pass on suggestions for products you’d love to see, or to share the story behind your order, we LOVE hearing from you. Happy August, everyone :)!
Happy June, everyone! May was an exciting, productive month here at TC HQ in Vancouver. May was also the first month this year that we experienced a few brief, albeit noticeable, absences on our team as we all embark on a bit of pre-summer travel. Darryl played tourist in New York City for the first time, I spent a few days in the sun in Arizona, Jess checked out a surf competition in Tofino, and Graham is currently in Barcelona en route to Mallorca for some seaside adventures. We know that we are so, so lucky to be able to take off and see these amazingly diverse, special places in the world. I’ll also be so bold as to speak for all of us when I say how rewarding it is to return from a trip feeling invigorated, inspired, and wanting to come back to work, catch up with your colleagues, and find out what’s happening at TC and with you, our Collective.
Okay, enough sappy stuff! Keep reading to find out what happened here this month and where we’re headed going into the first official month of summer :)!
- Gifting Travel update: ALL SYSTEMS GO, people! That’s right—in case you missed the email with the latest Gifting Travel update, flights and accommodations are booked and Fatima, Ayat, and Team TC’s Darryl and Jess are headed out on June 16 (less than two weeks from now!). There’s been a slight change of plans, though, and due to complexities associated with Fatima and Ayat obtaining tourist visas for Spain, the group is now off to beautiful Turkey! All four are extremely excited, and all are visiting the country for the first time.
There is a ton to be done in terms of finalizing the group’s itinerary for Istanbul and ensuring everyone has the necessary luggage and supplies for the trip, but we’ll be sharing the entire adventure with you via our social media and in email blasts. Keep your eyes peeled!
- New hire(s): We are THRILLED to announce that we’ve added a fifth member to our team! We warmly welcome Matt to the group as the first of two Production and Fulfillment Coordinators. Matt brings a boatload of experience in logistics and project management to the group thanks to his long history in retail. He can quote “Friends” with the best of them and isn’t afraid of a post-work patio beverage. Needless to say, we are so excited to have him on the team to help make our fulfillment process faster and more efficient!
We’re also looking for a sixth hire, a second Production and Fulfillment Coordinator, to add to the group. This person must be based in Vancouver, so give us a shout if this sounds like you or someone you know!
- Fall For Local recap: We had a blast at our first-ever Fall For Local Market at the end of April, slangin’ clips + rings and interacting with locals and likeminded business owners. There were SO many awesome vendors at the Market; a few of our favourites were City and She, Konisa Studio, and NutMeg Mylk. It was a really impressive event with a great turnout on both Saturday and Sunday.
One of our most interesting takeaways from the event—and both Darryl/Graham and Jess/I noted this on our respective days at the TC booth—was the realization that our products require some explanation in a face-to-face environment. That is to say, it isn’t entirely evident in personto people unfamiliar with our product, despite our sign proclaiming “All Your Travels. One Place”, what exactly the clips and rings signify. Of course, to us, that’s part of the appeal: the clip and ring combo is a subtle, personal reminder of your travels without being too flashy or in your face. However, in a market setting, the product requires a degree of clarification that it just doesn’t online or on social media, which are our primary means of sharing the product. Having to speak to the rings’ purpose was a first for most of us and it was a lot of fun seeing the looks of comprehension and excitement dawn on peoples’ faces when they realized what we were displaying!
Overall, the experience was worthwhile on so many levels (not to mention the fact that Jess and I won a market-related contest against Graham and Darryl…there’s always a contest). It also served as a testament to the power of community building and of good ol’ word of mouth advertising, which we have so many of you to thank for.
So thank you for everything you do for TC and for being so invested in contributing to our causes. Please follow along with Gifting Travel throughout June and send good wishes to the four travellers! May their flights be on time and their adventures be many! And happy pre-summer travels to all of you :).
Passports are in, plane tickets have been purchased, and accommodations are booked! We are thrilled to announce that Fatima, her son Ayat, and Darryl and Jess from Team TC are counting down the days until they depart on the inaugural Gifting Travel trip.
However, due to the complexities associated with obtaining a tourist visa for Spain (which we discussed in more detail in the last Gifting Travel update), there has been a change of plans and the group is now travelling to a different country: Turkey! Moroccan passport holders don’t require tourist visas for Turkey so, while Jess and Darryl will need to complete paperwork to obtain visas for Turkey with their Canadian passports, Fatima and Ayat will not. This means significantly less work for them to undertake in Morocco and ensures peace of mind for all involved.
Fatima is, of course, a little disappointed that she won’t be visiting Barcelona this year and we’re disappointed too. But in Fatima’s words, it is more the experience of leaving Morocco and exploring somewhere completely new that she’s most excited about! Turkey is somewhere she has always dreamed of going and the trip will be full of new and exciting things for her and her son. From the first time seeing the ocean and taking a plane to experiencing a new culture and language.
We’ll be sending out another update as the group’s departure date, June 16, approaches. Stay tuned, and thank you so much for your ongoing support of this project!