Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we define growth and success and how I want to define these things for Youer in 2022.
Traditionally, in business, they’re defined by numbers that trend upward. More revenue, more customers, more teammates, more more more. We’re a culture that’s obsessed with hustling but bigger numbers doesn’t always mean we’re succeeding or growing sustainably.
In full transparency, Youer had a big year – we grew in a big way, but with half the team of previous years. A sort of contradiction. That kind of growth is exciting, but it demands a lot out of the people involved in making it happen, and coming on the heels of a year that nearly put us out of business, gave it significance.
We took on some big things. Transitioning all our production to accommodate monthly product drops was a management nightmare that Alicia navigated with poise and excel wizardry. The digital preparation for these launch events put me in a new position - behind the camera, shooting the majority of our imagery for the year. It took us about half the year to get on top of our inventory and stop selling out within minutes, but I think we’re getting there. Also, SELLING OUT IN MINUTES! Wow – that is unreal, the support you all have shown this year has been beyond unreal – there aren’t words.
As a team we took on developing our own fabric – that was a first. When the fleece for our beloved Treasure Dresses + hoodies was abruptly discontinued early 2021, we literally designed our own and now have it custom made. That was a trip, and continues to be a learning experience.
Youer has been fully remote since April 2020. While I feel creative and inspired in my home office, I’m definitely feeling a void of spontaneous discussion and thinking that exists in a group office. I look forward to that coming together again soon, but it is so rewarding to be part of a digital community like Youer. Every day, we get hundreds of messages on Instagram with words of support and encouragement, photos of you out getting after it, or stories of your day that make us smile. The connection to you all is invaluable.
And a physical place for us all to be weird together is now in the works thanks to our CSA (Community Supported Apparel) campaign. The production challenges of 2020 left us NEEDING to take some of our production into our own hands, and earlier this spring I started shopping around for buildings to start an experiential production house – the Youniverse! As a community, you all contributed over $100k to our fundraising campaign to partake in the building of our factory. It was an incredibly powerful experience to see this community, that continues to grow over the years, step up in a major way – I’m still blown away. Since the CSA closed, I’ve put 2 offers in on buildings (neither have been accepted), looked at some bare land, and settled in with patience for what might be a longer ride than I anticipated. But when I find that perfect place, the Youniverse will turn into a space where we’ll make clothes, hang out together, get to know how your clothes are made and who makes them, and exist in a magical land of Youer.
Unlike 2020, I don’t want to leave 2021 in the dust – it’s been an amazing year that’s taught me a lot. There are many things I’ll be taking from this year forward into 2022, but most notably it’s trust. Trust in YOU to keep this thing going, keep this dream alive, and keep on showing up in the world as original individuals. You all are unbelievable and challenge me to dream bigger every single day. I really love you all, truly. Like very very deeply. And I hope that in this moment, you have everything you need and want. Happy New Year, I’m so excited to do 2022 together.
Founder + chief everything officer