We launched 3 new Subscription Boxes! #BangTheDrum

I’m a firm believer that in 2018 people have to accept it is necessary (narcissary?) to share with the world accomplishments whether you like it or not or you’re just going to fade out and have to pay extra to be heard. For me, it’s not a challenge to be loud and proud, it’s probably my defensive lineman upbringing because deep down I know, I'm loud, proud and pumped for the bigger team, our community #TeamNebraska.

That said, our team made some dope shit I wanted to share....

Up First….The Shark Week Box

Who doesn’t love Shark Week? TV channels go nuts for it and even Shaq plays into it! Which means we were pumped when Discovery Channel approached us with the opportunity to license Shark Week and create the box to promote this crazy holiday.

One of the most awesome things about this box is….we created everything inside the box….except the Swedish Fish. Perhaps we should have titled this box….Everything but the fish?!

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This meant everything from idea to concept to design, product creation, website, social media, commercials, etc -- The Bulu team did it!

Check out the guts of the box that WE MADE OURSELVES!

  • EXCLUSIVE SHARK WEEK™ BOBBLEHEAD. Who doesn’t love bobbleheads?

  • EXCLUSIVE SHARK WEEK™ HEAT-CHANGING MUG. You’ll never drink your coffee or hot tea out of a boring cup again! Plus, this heat-activated transforming mug changes color to reveal a shiver of interesting sharks appears right before your eyes.

  • EXCLUSIVE SHARK WEEK™ BINGO CARDS. This beats grandma’s bingo club any day. Creates a fun way to watch for Shark Week shows!

  • SHARK WEEK™ KINETIC SAND. Remember gak and floam? Yeah, kinda of like that. People can’t stop messing with this kinetic sand.

  • EXCLUSIVE SHARK WEEK™ DRESS UP & WORD MAGNETS. Think paper dolls for sharks, but way more cool and imaginative.

  • EXCLUSIVE SHARK WEEK™ T-SHIRT. No matter your audience, people go gaga for soft, comfy, unique tees.

Plus, we didn’t want this cool stuff inside a regular ‘ol box…..so we wanted to make the box part of the experience (something I talk about in depth in this guide to launching and growing a Subscription Box Program).

So when a person orders the Shark Week box, not only can they get excited about all of the shark week swag that’s headed their way, but they know they can play with the box and create a shark out of that too. Killer!! (haha, get it?)

Next Up: Partnering with BuzzFeed to launch Lunarly Box

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If you watch Shark Tank (not to be confused with Shark Week!) you’ll hear stories like, “When Big Brand XYZ called us, we knew we were onto something…”

Welp, this is that type of call for us. BuzzFeed!!!!!!!!!!

BuzzFeed reaches millions of people each day with viral content and new stories - which they’ve been cleverly monetizing through specific programs, partnerships with brands, and top secret initiatives that we’re not allowed to talk about!

As one of their initiatives, Bulu partnered with BuzzFeed to create Lunarly.com -- the nature-inspired monthly self-care subscription powered by the new moon. Yea, the MOON mother f*****!

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Piggybacking on the movement of mindful living and tying this into predictable patterns like the renewal of the new moon, millennials are going crazy for this box. The growth in organic following on social media alone has been incredible.

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Oh, and there’s even a big brand partnering with BuzzFeed through this box. Perhaps we can talk more about that in the future!

This is an example of a smart brand building an audience long before they activate it - [again something we talk about in the launching a Subscription Box Guide].

Last but not least…

Okay...so one of the top 10 biggest brands in the world gets to launch the press release for this Subscription Box and then I’ll talk about it.

But let’s just say if you start following me here, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snap or Insta sometimes I provide a little more color on some cray shit we’re working on...

 

How we hired 6 people in 6 weeks: The quick and dirty

“I need to hire but I needed them to start yesterday” –every entrepreneur, everywhere.

How the eff do you hire when your company is growing like crazy?  

I hear ya. I’ve made tons mistakes (and still do) in hiring. I’ve hired too fast, too slow, the right person wrong time, wrong person wrong time, you name it...I’ve made the mistake.

But through sheer force of grit and giving a shit, our good decisions have outweighed the bad ones and we’ve developed what we believe is a solid system to ensure we can hire fast and hire right.

How We Hire at Bulu

So let me break it down step by step of what we do at Bulu -- candidates have to have the right skills, mindset, experience or potential in some cases -- but they must fit with HOW our company operates.

For starters, we use a few tools to help us analyze potential employees -- currently the "CliftonStrengths" and "Hartman Personality Profile" are our favorites. (What are yours? Share below!)

CliftonStrengths have been around for 18 years. Candidates have to answer a set of 177 questions in less than 30 minutes, and it tells our team a few things about them, such as:

  • A measure of their talents within 34 themes (hint: we’re looking for diversity and folks that are self-aware of their strengths.)

  • An instant common language for us to accurately describe to other team members how candidates think/behave and what they do best. In most cases, we’ll relate it back to current employees and say “the applicant has Adam strengths with a Kelsey personality.” so we instantly all know them a little better.

  • What I call the “red flags” and there’s only a few of these. Things like...If someone is applying for a Finance position but “Analytical” is their bottom strength, likely means they just don’t have the skills.

The Hartman Personality Profile (aka the “Color Code”) divides personalities into 4 colors -  Red (motivated by power), Blue (motivated by intimacy), White (motivated by peace), and Yellow (motivated by fun). If you wanna try this with yourself or your team, here’s the worksheet.

Basically, we use these tools to:

  • Diversify our team. It’s critical that we don’t have a team of everyone who thinks alike – differences are good!

  • Help identify folks who embody our 4 core values – Fearless, Foundership, First Class, and Fire the Assholes.

  • What I call the “red flags” and there’s only a few of these. Things like... “White” personality applying for a position with a lot of travel, trouble shooting, sales, customer service, etc. is probably going to be miserable as they tend to be creatures of habit.

As an example, if someone has the strength “Harmony” and their color is “White” from the color code, this is typically an indication that confrontation will be hard for them. Which also means that the core value of being “Fearless” might be a challenge. Key word, might, every case is different but it helps us manage people appropriately.

Knowing this, in our process we can address things likes:

  • How do they overcome that?

  • How self-aware are they of their strengths and weaknesses?

  • Can they find someone to help them?

What’s cool with this is….while they may have trouble with being fearless, someone with those two qualities probably won’t have an issue with the values of “First Class” or “Fire the Assholes”.

By using these tools as just one step to analyze potential team members, it’s a way for us to say, “WE ARE THIS WAY….ARE YOU?”

And then if they say “YES, HERE’S AN EXAMPLE,” we can dig into that and see if it matches up with what we found on their assessments.

If they say, “Nah, that’s really not me….” – then that could be a red flag and we drill deeper, and sometimes even warn them that they’re likely going to be miserable working at Bulu. And that’s usually accompanied by key insight from the assessment that they appreciate.

Don’t Be Afraid To Say No!!!

Each company has their own culture, and that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. That’s definitely the case for Bulu. We’re closer to the ‘85 Bears than the ‘04 Patriots (only a few will understand that reference...so here’s a link to the ‘85 Bears. Please watch the whole thing.)

The goal of your hiring process should be to weed out people who aren’t a fit for your culture at all!!! Have you ever tried changing someone’s personality? Yeah, not easy (impossible as some psychologists would say!!).

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We have a great culture for someone – a specific set of someones.

And those folks somewhere within themselves need to be Fearless, take ownership (AKA Foundership), produce First Class work and positive and friendly. And be okay with some “tough love” because this is a team. The best team.

As an entrepreneur or anyone in charge of hiring and growing a company, you MUST have some set of core values and standards that define your culture, that likely embody the best parts of yourself. When you can use tools that help you identify people that fit the mold, you can make better decisions faster...which is all that really matters in business.

When and if you can do that, it makes it easier and faster to hire employees (we call them teammates). Which is great, because we hire a lot. And hiring 6 employees in 6 weeks... we followed this to a T.

For a look at those 4 core values I mentioned in this post, check out the video below. The real conversation happens in the comments but the video shows just how committed we are to our goals with our massive sign!

Give me a shout out if you have questions about any of this. Or if you want to know the fuck ups when it comes to hiring! Maybe I’ll write about those in a future post. 🙄

PS: Carefully apply values and tools to hire because the flip side of that is that you need to be ready to fire based on those same values and tools...but that’s a whole new post for a rainy day.

What Got Missed in the 2018 HitWise Report for Subscription Box Data

What Got Missed in the 2018 HitWise Report for Subscription Box Data

The HitWise report namedrops the “Subscription Boxes” everyone knows – Hello Fresh, BarkBox, Dollar Shave Club, Birch Box, StitchFix – you get the idea. Currently, it’s one of the best reports that documents our industry and I think it’s great and it gets everyone fired up in a good way.

But it’s not the whole story.

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