Yesterday, we shipped our 100,000th order!
That's a lot!
It all started in 2005...
We launched in 2005. I suppose it really all started in 2004, though. At the time, it was all about Dr Holly's Drops, and my partner Cindy was warehousing and shipping them from Michigan while I worked from a home office in Florida.
Things evolved a lot from there, though, in a pretty short space of time, and soon we were selling Eye Eco's Tranquileyes, which was brand new at the time and so revolutionary, as well as Panoptx glasses (now known as 7Eye), and not long after that, the early version of the now-known-as-PROSE cases, which were much smaller, and plungers, and all that. Oh, and rice baggies. That was our dry eye shop original, and it's never changed in all these years.
It was very, very small back then, of course...
Just me, really, from 2006 on, and we moved to Washington state.
It was all about dryeyezone.com or rather dryeyetalk.com and community building in those days. Information was scarce. True dry eye specialists even scarcer. And the concept of corneal pain almost unheard of except by Dr Perry Rosenthal.
A ton of phone time with patients which is what I've always loved... learning people's experiences, trying to help connect people with information and doctors and so on, and eking out a living from the shop. Dr Holly's drops unfortunately didn't work out financially and it was a heartbreaker to have to let that part wind down, but I was glad Focus Labs were able to pick up and carry on FreshKote.
Then long years of slow growth...
That was a period of my life where I was homeschooling my daughter, and my husband's health was declining, so being able to work from home and control my hours suited me perfectly.
But by 2015... growth was creeping up.
That's when I hired my first staffer, who went from a few hours a week to part time to full time in just a few months. It was good that I got a chance to get used to having employees, because the Unisol 4 situation was just around the corner.
Then in 2016, yikes!
The Great Saline Crisis happened. Business changed almost overnight, life became all about helping people get saline, educating them on the options, and calming their fears. Oh, and scaling up my business to cope. It literally quadrupled in a matter of weeks, and then plateaued. But it's taken me more than two years to wrap my brain around it and start recovering from all the mistakes I made from want of "real" business experience.
So about those 100,000 orders:
Half of them happened prior to 2016, the other half have been in just the last 2.5 years.
Anyway, it's fun to think about, and we're going to celebrate with some coupons! Stay tuned!