First and foremost: LOGISTICS.
Guys, we heard you loud and clear. Setting up an online business requires serious logistics help. We were in over our heads here and had some major snafus that we have definitely learned from. We cannot do this without you, and so if you’re not pleased, all our goals can go right out the window. We’re committed to the business from angles we didn’t even know existed now!
- Customs: This was our most serious reason for shipping delays. We spent over five weeks going back and forth with German Customs and Deutsche Post. There were forms and information requests coming out our ears.
- Formal processes: We need to outline clear formal process for every facet of our business. This includes things like printed order forms, purchasing raw materials, receipt organization, packaging lists, etc. Having teammates spread out across the word begs for an organized, standardized way of doing business to increase accountability.
- Repackaging: Our selected envelopes didn’t match the standard German DHL requirements. Each individual pack had to be resized by hand.
- Capacity: Our Berlin office is stretched extremely thin right now. Most of our team is currently in Chile/South America focusing on our next production. As a result all our repackaging and shipment snafus were dealt with by our CFO and his daughter, during evenings, holidays and weekends.
- Promises: What we think is reasonable is not always feasible. We made promises about delivery dates before we had adequate research about every single detail that goes into producing garments. There were angles we’d never even heard of, and surprised kept popping up.
- Balancing: Shipping, handling and salaries will eat up a majority of profits. Finding the balance between good quality materials without breaking the bank is a priority. When you’re small scale no one wants to cut you a deal.
- External Communication: Working with public authorities has been a challenge - entrepreneurs want to work 24/7 on their goal and want to pull out all the stops to succeed. We want to be compliant in all we do.
- Cultural Communications: Intercultural differences played a huge role in our production hurdles. We have team members from all over the world, and we are working with suppliers and agencies across Latin America. What is a straight line in Germany is a winding road in Latin America. What could take four permits in the United States takes an hour of negotiation and meeting the right people in the Dominican Republic. What takes three hours in one culture takes three weeks in another. Saying, “This needs to be accomplished really quickly.” or “Size large has sleeves X centimeters long.” means different things in different cultures and when you’re in the thick of it small surprises start adding up.
Third: SOCIAL IMPACT.
- Flexible Goals: Everyone’s ideas of progress and development are not necessarily shared. Germans, Dominicans, Americans, Bolivians … break it down even further to cultures, communities, neighborhoods, families and individuals. Ideals and standards of progress are all completely circumstantial and highly related to your background. Higher salaries don’t necessarily mean higher levels of empowerment or engagement. Motivation is intrinsic and our goal is to bring out the best in everyone and make them feel empowered on their own terms.