2022 Year in Review: Connor’s Founder Business Recap
Bluebird crushed 2022 and I am thrilled!
Seriously, after our struggles in 2019 and 2020, I wasn’t sure we were going to make it.
When COVID hit, we were down to our last $200 in the bank account. I put together a plan that I knew would take a couple of years to come to fruition.
You can read my review from last year for reference. And the last 4 years of reviews are linked at the end of this article.
We had to keep the proverbial lights on long enough so that I could invest in a new product line and new sales channels (mainly USA, online and Amazon) and grow them profitably.
I always play the long-game, and I knew that I could do it. But could I do it given the constraints (no cash, retail sales down 50%)?
2022 marked the first good year for Bluebird in a long time. Maybe ever, if I’m being completely honest.
Here is the much anticipated review.
What Went Well: The Positives
We Doubled Sales vs 2021
2022 revenue is more than double compared to 2021. This exceeds what I thought was a lofty goal of 80% growth.
Looking a bit deeper I can share that retail is up 55% compared to last year despite no substantial new store listings. This basically means that same store sales are up around 50%. Awesome.
Website sales doubled and Amazon is up a lot thanks to two things:
- Launching in the USA
- My continued efforts into educating guests with long-form nutrition articles that introduces new people Bluebird Provisions.
Since physical product-based businesses are so inventory intensive, this is about as fast as we can grow without raising debt or outside capital.
We Can Be Profitable (on paper at least)
The big secret among any physical product business is that you can be profitable on paper but still feel like you’re broke.
This is because all of your cash is tied up in inventory at any given time. As we grow and sales increase, you get excited for a second…
Only to realise that all of that ‘so called’ profit goes into buying more inventory so you don’t sell out. Our bank account is a friggin yoyo from month to month.
Cash flow and cash-conversion cycles are more important as we grow. There are things I’ve done to improve these greatly (fintec solutions, payment terms, etc) and it provides a huge relief.
We Retained Talent
Keeping good people is incredibly difficult. 2022 we were able to hire a crucial team member who is thriving.
If you’ve sent an email to our customer support, you probably got a response from Francisca. She is awesome!
This frees me up to focus on what I’m good at while not bogging me down with other things.
What Didn’t Go So Well
It wasn’t all sunshine and butterflies. Let’s go through some of the things that did not go so well.
Beef Broth Product Development Failure
I had planned on launching a new product, a beef bone broth powder in the summer / fall. The product development turned out to be a nightmare.
I couldn’t get it to taste the way I wanted to without using nasty filler ingredients like natural flavors or yeast extract.
These two things go against my moral compass because they’re awful for our health. I learned from my experience selling on Amazon that you can’t sell a product that doesn’t taste really good.
Why? You’ll get eviscerated with bad reviews.
So, now I have the product which is ready to go and is high quality beef bone broth that mixes well, but tastes touch bitter.
I’m going to do a limited release of it (in the USA first) in a slightly different form in March.
Make sure you’re on the email list if you want to get some before we sell out.
If you’re in Canada, don’t worry, I will get it ready for launch in summer / fall. The reason I can’t launch the USA and Canada at the same time is because of resources.
Leave a comment if you want it sooner and I’ll see what I can do.
Retail Lack of Expansion
We still don’t have any conventional grocery stores stocking our products despite our efforts over the last two years working with brokers.
A huge part of me wants to blame them because our competitors are in conventional stores. But I’m 100% focused on growing online and Amazon. I simply don’t have the time to focus on growing it that it needs.
We do well in natural stores (like whole foods), and maybe that is where retail ends for us.
Goals for 2023
1. Grow Sales by 100% vs 2022 (double)
2. Launch and Grow a New Product Line
3. Grow Online Presence (website traffic to 250,000, TikTok to 50,000)
4. Be Profitable
If we’re not profitable, then why am I doing this? I took the risk and started this because I wanted to help people like you improve their health by introducing you to bone broth.
We have to be profitable for us to grow so that we can help more people.
Oh yea, I’m trying my best to do all of this while having a child in March. Being there to support my wife and child is more important than any of this. So that might change things. I’ll do my best!
Want to help me reach our goals? You can do a few things to help.
- Buy some bone broth for yourself, a friend or family member.
- Leave a review on Amazon USA or Amazon CA
- Subscribe to our email newsletter below.
Did We Achieve 2022’s Goals? (set at the end of 2021)
Let’s take a quick look at last years goals.
1.Online sales to 65% of total revenue.
In 2022, online sales (if you count Amazon) made up 67% of our total revenue. This is a huge increase from around 10% in 2020 and 40% in 2021.
2. Launch a new product in summer 2022
I completely failed this one. You can read above for details. But I have something coming in March that will make up for it!
3. Hire, lead and build out a world class team
Thrilled to say that I met this goal. We are continuing to build out the team.
4. Grow total revenue 80% vs. 2021
Yep! We surpassed this.