The website has had a makeover and the cover images have been updated across the socials. It’s almost as if Christmas never happened… well, on the surface that may appear. However, in the background, I’m still catching up on what was a busy Christmas, so I’ll be restocking the shelves, catching up on admin, responding to emails and of course, setting goals for exciting plans to come in 2023.
Before I dive into sharing those plans, it’s important to reflect on what has been achieved throughout the year instead of getting caught up in the hectic schedules and endless to do lists of running a small business. The transition back into routine after the Christmas break can be challenging for any of us, so I find it helps to make a note of your proudest achievements to make you think about how you got to this point; bringing gratitude for what’s been achieved and a reminder of the learnings and challenges that were overcome along the way.
For me 2023, is all about slow and steady progress, small increments in growth to help continue our purpose of supporting social and local businesses and raising awareness about business for good. We’ll continue to do our bit by giving back to mental health charity initiatives where possible. All whilst continuing to provide you with gorgeous gifts and products that will bring meaningful smiles to loved ones, friends and colleagues.
Storybox 2022 Recap and Outlook for the Year Ahead
1. We have now partnered with 24 social and local businesses across Northern Ireland to stock their products.
When I first started Storybox in 2021, this number was 8. Over the next year, I would like to increase this to 30 with businesses that are keen to partner and who share similar ethos and values. I’ll specifically be focused on social enterprises and local businesses based in the west of N. Ireland to ensure my supplier base has a more even spread across all of N. Ireland.
2. Launched a brand new website
As a small online business, a user-friendly website is paramount and therefore, it was time for an upgrade on both website copy and layout to ensure people fully grasp the ethos and stories behind the initiative and the businesses involved, as well as be able to purchase their products with ease. The website will never remain static and will always be updated and improved however, I am extremely happy with the foundations in which to build upon.
3. Shipped our first international order to USA
In this calendar year, we have sent over 1200 boxes across the UK and Ireland and we’re proud to have sent 350 boxes overseas to a client in the USA. The local businesses engaging with the Storybox initiative have now been promoted to an entirely new demographic and client base, and we’re delighted to have made that happen for them. Let’s see where Storyboxes make it on the map this year!
4. Made donations to mental health charities and initiatives
This year, we have had the honour of using the extra profits from Storybox to donate £500 to a local women’s centre. This £500 was used to pay for mental health support for local women in need. An additional £100 was donated to PIPS Suicide Prevention Charity through a ‘giveaway with purpose’ competition we hosted in November. We aim to increase this year’s donation amount by 30%.
5. Awareness raised
Metrics for measuring awareness is always a tricky one due to not being able to accurately track word of mouth or other offline data (although we will be doing some research in this area later in the month!). However, for now, we can share some information from digital platforms which have seen on average, an increase in 35% in our following. Website sales and visits have increased by 30% since last year; encouraging numbers that are going in the right direction despite the current economic climate.
Lastly, thank you to all our customers, suppliers and friends who have helped make the above happen. Thanks to you, we’re able to collectively share more about the amazing social and small businesses we have to offer here in N. Ireland.
In 2023, we'll continue to share #GiftsWithPurpose as a way to showcase more about businesses that make operating ethically a priority, are leading by example or innovating with purpose to better improve outcomes for people and planet.
Small businesses making big impact - here's to more of this in 2023!