Back in March, we published this little "On Launching" dealio about the journey of building out a subscription company. It covered everything we learned (and employed) in launching Latigo because a) some of you wanted to know, and b) transparency is nice! It remains our most-read article to date, and was even featured by Shopify! Here's a brief update (mostly by the numbers) on where things stand after a full year in business. Massive thanks to everyone who continues to support what we do.
That's a healthy amount of coffee! Our brains were saved from totally exploding earlier in the year when we discovered Shipstation. At the time, we were purchasing shipping labels for each "new" and "recurring" order directly in the Shopify portal. This was wildly time consuming and inefficient (for each label, you had to enter a "product weight" and select the package size and yadda yadda yadda). These days we use Shipstation to handle 100% of our recurring orders which saves us hours upon hours every "ship day" when we need to print a couple hundred labels.
In 2017, we shipped 26 different coffees from all over the world. Our primary importer/partners are Red Fox and Bodhi Leaf - and we recently partnered up with Take Flight Coffee to commence roast operations in LA!
We officially started taking orders on December 19, 2016. The announcement came in email form to friends and family - and within a week, we had our first healthy batch of subscribers! Those who know you personally of course will want to throw support (and many used our referral program) - an incredibly humbling time for the business. We were shipping coffee! Finally!
Here's a little warning for starting any type of online business: get ready for that initial "subscriber spree" to drop off quickly. In the back of our heads we were pretty certain this would happen, but thought maybe just maybe sign-ups would continue steadily into January and February based on referrals. Let's just say that didn't quite happen. We were pretty much flat on growth for those first few months (gaining a few here, losing a few there). Real grown didn't come until mid-March when we launched our first online promotion.
Sure, we still see growth based on totally organic means (like some fun reporting we've done with Field Mag and The Radavist), but if you're going to be a 100% online business you need online visibility in order to grow. The biggest boost to our subscriber count comes each month from our two current partners: StackSocial and Acorns.
Latigo was born out of a need to share: stories, coffees, and good vibes. We're a super small outfit and everything we put out into the world (including this post) comes straight from the heart. Some weeks are more inspired than others - and that's OK, because we don't want to force stuff that doesn't come natural. That's never been the intent here.
So it was a total honor when, in the first half of 2017, we managed to work with two of our absolute favorite brands on the planet: KCRW (89.9FM), and Patagonia. Both add so much value to our own lives - similarly, we aim to bring a little spark of inspiration to our subscribers. Ask for some Latigo coffee next time you're shopping at the Patagonia Santa Monica store (or attending one of their many rad/free events).
Music is quite important to what we do. With each new roast, we update this Spotify playlist with a batch of fresh tunes and put all the older stuff in this archive. No algorithms, just handpicked jams that pair well with the coffees (and with life). Combined with our recent Holiday Survival playlist, we've compiled some 45 hours of fresh music in 2017 for our subscribers.
For those lucky enough to attend the first ever Latigo Campout, we had a special music treat on the first night. Erisy Watt performed what may have been the most intimate show of the year in California. This was pure magic and we're eager to #growoutside some more in 2018 with more outdoor shows and adventures.
We do this because it's fun. Each time we find "The Coffee" to feature on an upcoming roast (after sampling dozens), we get super excited to share it! Same thing when we discover new music, or a random sticker, or some new outdoor coffee gear. Bit of a cliché by now, but it's 100% true that you cannot survive the "lows" of launching a biz without a high level of stoke for what you're actually doing (you simply won't want to). Our stoke level continues to run at maximum and we hope it shows!