I have a secret to share. I’m a bit of a control freak. Well maybe that’s not so much of a secret if you’ve spent any time working with me…
I started a cosmetic manufacturing company in 1998 when I was just 23 years old. After I sold it in 2009, I knew I didn’t want to ever take on the headaches of manufacturing again. In fact, when I started Stream2Sea in 2015, I was delighted to work with my local economic development office in building a community-based incubator that would manufacture our products.
I helped write all the standard operating procedures. I recommended the right contractors, selected the equipment, helped with all the initial start-up procedures. I helped select the management team, and worked hard to get them trained in good manufacturing practices.
Fast forward to 2019. Stream2Sea has grown incredibly quickly, and we’re shipping to all 50 states and distributing in 10 countries.
I call to reorder my products and there’s other production ahead of mine, because my sweet little community-based incubator has also grown. I try to get a handle on forecasting and production growth, but how do you forecast for something like Richard Branson endorsing your products or being invited to speak before the Virgin Islands Senate?
When you have complete control of the manufacturing, you can be nimble, produce quickly when you need to, try new things without having to meet large minimums. But, and it’s a big but, you have more headaches to deal with, more capital tied up, and more staff to hire, train and pay.
I struggled. I pushed back. I asked for advice from respected friends and colleagues. I hid my head under my pillow. Then I woke up one morning, jumped in head-first and made an offer on the warehouse I had built for my first company (and sold in 2009). I closed on the building in January and spent the next seven months re-acquiring the needed equipment, refurbishing the facility, developing the operating procedures, and preparing for our state and FDA audits. (Sorry dive friends – I know I’ve been MIA this summer, now you know why!).
All this while continuing to grow our sweet little brand.
Last month, we proudly made our sunscreens in our new FDA-registered manufacturing facility. And do you know what? They are freaking awesome! Even better than before. Maybe it’s the gorgeous 10-horsepower homogenizer we bought, or the shiny dual-motion 500 gallon jacketed kettle we mixed it in, or maybe it’s the love and enthusiasm that went into the blending process. Whatever the reason, I can’t wait to share more with the world!
Watch this space for even more great things to come.
As always, thank you for helping us share the knowledge that what we put on our bodies DOES make a difference!