Memorial Day Madness – When Systems Get Pushed to the Limit

Typically, I don’t spend a ton of time within our day-to-day operations. More so than anyone else at our company, I’m usually working on developing features that will improve our customer experience and/or save us time and mistakes. Most of the time I’m a few steps ahead, meaning I’m creating/fixing/improving something that’s not quite a problem yet or that we probably don’t need yet, but that we think we will in the future. Having this mentality has largely saved us from ongoing total chaos as… Continue reading


Warehouse Renovation Complete!

During the last week of 2016 construction wrapped up on our warehouse renovation. It took us a few weeks afterward to complete our rearrange and redesign, but now we’re finally operating at full capacity in the new space! The photo above is a look at the space that we’re currently using for packing and shipping orders. Our total space doubled from around 5,000 sq-ft to around 10,000 sq-ft. For packing and shipping, we’re essentially using the same inventory zone system I detailed in 2010, with… Continue reading


We’re Literally Under Construction

Over the years we’ve improved a lot of things about our warehouse since first moving in back in 2008. We’ve gone from using a 3G hotspot to having a high speed connection, we’ve remodeled and improved our small office, added better lighting, and of course upgraded our horrible heating system. The space has gone from pretty run down to a decent space, however it’s still been the same space and recently we’ve been feeling really limited by our ~5,000 sq-ft. We don’t have the space… Continue reading


The Great Warehouse Flood of 2014

Early on a Monday morning in January of 2014 I received a phone call from our warehouse manager. Typically early morning phone calls mean that something is wrong, but usually it’s nothing like this. When our employees arrived that morning they were greeted by a flooded warehouse. Parts of the warehouse were in several inches of water, and most of it was in some sort of standing water. It looked like this: And this: Immediately they started photoing everything, which was a huge help with… Continue reading


Illuminating Our Warehouse

Last week we had new lighting installed in our warehouse. If you look back at old photos you’ll see how dark it was relative to the photo above. This wrapped up a long list of improvements we’ve been making to the space since moving in back in 2008. As I wrote back in July when we renewed the lease, the place actually isn’t so bad now: The lease included some small improvements to upgrade our current place, such as some new doors and fixing our… Continue reading


Another 3 Years

We recently renewed our lease to stay in our warehouse for another three years. Over the past six months we seriously considered upgrading to a new facility. We could use more office space. We could use another shipping dock. We could use more space for our products. But ultimately we weren’t ready to make that huge jump. If we were going to move, we’d probably jump from just over 5,000 sq-ft to around 15,000 sq-ft. At that point everything becomes more expensive – the rent,… Continue reading


What a Difference a Monitor Makes

It’s funny how big of a difference little changes can make. Earlier this year we started noticing that our employees were doing a lot of tasks that would benefit from more screen space. Laptop screens are more than adequate for plenty, but when you’re doing accounting, customer service, social media, research projects, and the like, it can be incredibly beneficial to snap two windows side-by-side. Not to mention the programming I’m doing or the graphic design that Mike’s doing. It’s not just more convenient, it… Continue reading


Scrubbing Toilets

Now that we have our team in place, there’s a new “normal” in the warehouse that’s much different than it was at any time in the past.  There are a lot more people there on a daily basis, doing a wider variety of things.  When this transition occurred we took the opportunity to change a few routines to better fit the company culture that we wanted going forward. One such example is the routine cleaning around the warehouse: the bathroom, the kitchen area, sweeping, mopping,… Continue reading


Small Businesses vs. The Common Cold

Here’s something you won’t hear discussed in business school.  It’s an unpredictable and very real problem that we’ve encountered consistently over the years.  While it’s something we’ve discussed quite a bit, we’ve never been able to improve upon our “solution.”  What problem you ask? Everyone in the company getting sick at the same time. In retrospect this has actually been less of a problem for us than I’d imagine it is at most small businesses.  Because roughly half of our team is working from home… Continue reading


Now With a “Real” Office

Back in ’09 I wrote The Bootstrapped Office. At that time we had the simplest, most basic work spaces at our warehouse and at home. As should be the case, there were a million things more important than the aesthetics of our office: Thing is, our customers will never see our work area. So when things go good for us we invest in better technology, employees, new product lines, new marketing initiatives, and a little bit in ourselves. Those things matter in our business. The… Continue reading