I love this time of year, it’s when we get to enjoy the retrospective look back on one period of time coming to a close and also, open a new, fresh page for the year to come.
2017 has been an incredible year, with many changes here as we grow and become more advanced as a young company in North America. In our second year in operation here, we’ve grown across every level of our business and I believe as individuals and as a team, we have as well. Next year, we will have just as many changes and advances, as that is just in our DNA. We are dedicated and curious group of people, we like a challenge.
- Investments in our technology have brought a more sophisticated method of working in our warehouse and keeping our industry-leading fill rates at an incredibly high rate (above 97%) making sure that artists have access to our products where and when they need them.
- We’ve added an Art Education program, bringing our knowledge and expertise into classrooms all across the continent and engaging our entire staff with the wonders of “art-geekery” as I lovingly call the technical banter.
- We expanded the presence of our brands greatly, seeing growth with new customers we’ve never even heard of before, as well as more of our brands being available at our valued retail partners. In July alone, we sent out over 250 new racks of our color, which has to be a record.
- We launched an entire new merchandising system for all of our products – elevating the presentation and amount of information available to the artists at the retail floor.
- We launched new product ranges such as Amsterdam Acrylic Ink, Ecoline Brushpens, and a whole expansion of new colors and sizes with Amsterdam Standard Acrylics, museum collection items from Bruynzeel and more, with great success.
- We expanded our conversation with artists and retailers alike, including this newsletter and much more engagement on social media.
- Our team became experts in understanding how studios and theaters work when we became close partners with the folks involved with distributing the movie “Loving Vincent” and helped launch the release of the Golden Globe nominated film here in the US. Bringing that movie to life with by creating events with artists who helped paint the movie and those retailers who wanted to join in to bring that experience to their stores was an incredible experience and one that we feel so fortunate to be a part of as it continues its momentum into the film award season.
So, this in a nutshell is what 2017 looked like. It went by in the blink of an eye and I am still a little shocked that we accomplished what we did, but it’s only because we have a great team that I’m incredibly proud of. That’s where it all starts. I’m reminded of a quote from Richard Branson that has stuck with me over the years: “Clients don’t come first, employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”
Looking into 2018, here’s a short preview of what to expect:
- We will be launching many new product extensions in our top brands and new lines. Keep an eye out for those in the coming months in our newsletters.
- We will see our brands in many more locations across the continent, and we will see a much higher level of engagement in education as we make investments in that part of our business.
- You will see us partner with like-minded non-competing brands, such as Strathmore Paper and Princeton Brush, creating programs and tools for the artists together, combining our resources and expertise to make all of us stronger and better together.
- We will expand our team, adding new faces that share the same vision and way of working together.
- Our technical advances will continue, operationally – making us more efficient and raising our service levels to our customers.
I’m sure about one thing, going into 2018, it will prove to be just as exciting as 2017, and we’re happy that you’re here with us sharing this experience.
From all of us here, we wish you a safe and happy New Year to you all and thank you again for your support!