Saturday, January 8, 2011

Out With the Old

I read a quote this morning on Twitter: "The time is always right to do the right thing" - Martin Luther King Jr. The more I look at that, the more I see. Every year, we take a winter break over the Christmas holidays. Course, the office may be closed, but work behind the scenes continues as we clear everything out, replenish soap stocks, and get ready for the start of another year. I always set goals for the coming year. Knowing what you're aiming for helps keep the focus in case things start to get a little off course.

In the week that lies between Christmas day and New Year's day, me and Jason took a look back at our year. It began with major surgery, and was a tough time for us. He had two surgeries that first three months, and it wasn't until the summer that he could carry any real weight. Life's bumps in the road so often cause you to take stock of your life. Where you're going, where you've been... and where the heck you are.

So, the summer passed and I found my turnaround time getting more difficult to keep at three days. Okay... three to five days isn't too bad for a small business. I'm always working weekends, so no real problem there. Then come November I had to move that to five to seven days to keep up with product making. Knowing your business is growing is great in theory, but in practice it's hard to keep the plates all spinning.

My workshop is set up for a small business. It has grown over the course of the last five years, but essentially it's still the same workshop. I've added things as they were needed along the way. I used to buy bottles and jars in 2 dozen bags. Then it was four dozen. This last year has seen boxes now of 400. And... oh, my word... where do you store it all? Then there's the soap. Small batches of what was once a dozen bars became 36 bars, then 78 bars. And as I sat over the Christmas break, the reality of my fantastic December kicked in, and a realization dawned that my workshop is no longer equipped to carry me through my next growth stage.

Decision time ahoy!

Within days, Jason had guys round and plans were drawn. Ideas were floated, and I started to see just what the workshop should really be. But... it can't be done in a weeekend. It has to be re-modeled. What do I do? The next opportunity to close for the time required will be the Christmas break next year. I can't wait so long. I already know that I'd be in chaos by the time March comes.

Decision made. The workshop is being remodeled, and I'm having the whole place purpose built to suit my Manor Hall with room to grow even more. How's that for optimism? The work begins on January 11th. The office will not be opening as scheduled on January 10th. I've taken full use of the week just passed, and the contractor has assured me that all will be completed before the end of this month. I don't think that's too bad, so I'm going for it. I'm realizing a long held dream.

So, once all the shipping notices have gone out, the website changeover for January will go ahead as planned. The home page will be updated, but the office will be staying closed for another few weeks. No doubt you'll all be wanting your soapy stuff though, and I can't have you missing out on that. I'm gonna make sure you have an opportunity to get it. I'll be keeping things active here by running giveaways, and I'll also be keeping you up to date with regular posts and pics of what's happening.

I've dreamed of this day for five long years. Two years ago, I planned on it happening in 2012. It's barely 2011, and it's happening right now. Manor Hall is growing, and my many thanks go out to each of you for making all this possible. This coming year should prove an exciting one, and I hope you'll enjoy the journey with me.


cHim-prints said...

Ohhh. I can breathe again!

Congratulations yet again on the decision to expand. I hope you post some pictures so that we all can see the birthplace of the products we love so much.

I am happy for you that the good news about Jason's health carries on. Happy days.

Manor Hall said...

You bet I'm gonna be sharing pics and musings here as the workshop renovation takes place! I'm feeling so excited about it all, it's unreal. Thank you so much for loving my soap and being part of the growth my Manor Hall is experiencing.