Happy new year! Celebrating 2018, anticipating 2019


DryEyeShop Highlights from 2018

NEW SHOP: We started the year right in the middle of migrating the shop to a new software platform. It was a massive, challenging project and it will, of course, always be evolving now that we're here, but I'm so happy to have that behind us. 

FREE SHIPPING MEMBERSHIP: We launched DryEyeShop PF right around Thanksgiving (a little too quietly... we kind of need to promote it more, because we know we have a LOT of customers who will save). This is a fee-based annual membership program with a dual purpose: it's our way of trying to provide a better deal on shipping for frequent purchasers (while financially sustainable for us), and at the same time raising awareness of the need for preservative-free eyedrops and solutions.

YOUTUBE CHANNEL: I took the leap. It is the opposite of polished. Mostly me sitting in front of my Mac sticking things on my eyes. But it's a start, and the response has told me everything I need to know about how important this is to people. There will be many more of these in 2019 - now focusing more on scleral lenses, and other dry eye topics like good eyelid care. Suggestions & requests are always welcome!

DRY EYE HAPPY HOUR: Tuesdays at 5pm... Whiteboards, dry eye and suitable refreshment. Mostly brainstorming sessions, all about how to make the world better for people with dry eye, all about the dry eye foundation, the dry eye shop, anything and everything dry eye.... Open to current and former staff, and any interested customers, readers or members of the public if you happen to be in town.

FACEBOOK: My Big Fat Scleral Lens has been a great success in terms of bringing together scleral lens patients, pooling ideas and issues so we can all learn, and giving doctors opportunities to learn about our needs in this young, rapidly evolving area of medicine. We're at about 1,800 members right now. 

SURVEYS! This was a late 2018 innovation. I am having great fun with dry eye surveys and scleral lens surveys on a variety of topics. The results are incredibly illuminating. Look out for my surveys on the site or in emails, and please add your voice! Suggestions are always welcome too. 

BACKORDERS, BACKORDERS, and MORE BACKORDERS: Will it never end? Refresh PM has been out of production since mid 2017, and will not be back before next summer at the very earliest. LacriPure has been unavailable most of the past six months and reportedly will be for at least four more months. Unique pH has had wobbly supply. A host of eye ointments and gels have been unavailable for prolonged periods at times throughout 2018. ARGH! This has been really, really hard on patients who can't get what they need. We have worked really, really hard to help people keep up to date with what's going on and provide guidance to patients and doctors alike on what the most appropriate substitutes may be.

FINANCIAL "HICCUPS": 2018 was the year of reckoning from some financial missteps during some intensely trying times in 2016-17 when we were trying to respond well to lots of special needs going on without skimping on the individual attention and service that are so important to us. The bottom line is, I accumulated debt that I should not have. It has really meant going back to square one for me and figuring out all those things about running a business that I never actually learned and just scraped by without. I graduated in October from the SBA Emerging Leaders class in Seattle, which was hugely helpful, and am continuing to meet monthly with my newfound CEO support group. We've had our rough times but we'll weather it all, thanks to the unfailing support of truly caring customers.

Er... and MORE BACKORDERS: When the till is running a little too dry here, sometimes we are backordered just for want of cash. We absolutely hate that customers are ever inconvenienced by this and I am working very, very hard to turn that around permanently. Manufacturer backorders are bad enough, without us being short of product for no good reason. I appreciate your support through the wobbly moments!

STAFF: We've had some comings and goings but right now we're back to our best, tight little group and loving it! Here's what we look like: Me, day and night; Brent, all day; Susan and Ally, mostly in the mornings (Ally starts at 6am!); David on Thursdays; Chaidie part time after school; and Aidan telecommuting from college for a few hours on Sundays (but here for two weeks started Jan 2, and here in the summer). This team means everything to me. We're very much of a family, and everyone has worked so hard and been so dedicated through all our ups and downs. Wait, I almost forgot our newest staffer: Emily... Chaidie's schoolfriend is here a few hours a week helping on videos!

I could go on for hours. I am sure I will continue remembering things and will probably keep adding on to the end of this post. 


I wrote up a whole thing, and then my laptop screen went kablooey on me and lost it. I can't bring myself to do that again, so here's some brief clips, whichever I remember....

GSLS and ISCS: I need to get out to conferences more, get myself more education and most of all spend time talking with doctors and manufacturers. I've been to lots of medical conferences but never a specialty contact lens meeting! And... thanks to you, I've already raised $909 of $1000 in expenses to take me to GSLS on January 24th! I appreciate you all so much! If you see this and want to kick in part of the remaining $91, here's the GoFundMe

MORE VIDEOS: Let me know what you want to see! What are you having trouble with, or want to see live examples of? Or even just want to hear someone talking about, who really "gets" what this is all about and what it means to you.

MORE SURVEYS: Ditto. What do you want to learn about others' experiences compared with yours?

FAR MORE PRODUCTS: There are so many products I am longing to introduce to the shop! Cash has been the only constraint and this is the year that starts to get fixed. I have endless lists of products that I want to add to every category we already have in the shop (sclerals, nights, lids, lubricants), I want to bring back optical products, I want dry eye friendly cosmetic and skin care products, I want books, I want personal humidifiers and coolers for autologous serum and on and on. They won't, obviously, all happen this year. But they will start and they will happen steadily, deo volente. Again, feedback on what you'd like would be great!

SUSTAINABLE FINANCES: That's my euphemism for profitability. It feels so much more in tune with the company's actual mission. If 2018 was the year of reckoning, 2019 is the year of knuckling down, facing down my anxieties, continuing to claw my way up the learning curve and propel my introverted self into a lot of conversations I might not otherwise want to have about money matters. We shall overcome :) 

AND THE VISION? If you want to follow my thought processes on what this shop is about and where it's headed, I'd like to invite you over to my Patreon account where I am about to start blogging regularly about that. Ever since incorporating the Dry Eye Foundation, I've been kicking around, sometimes with myself and my whiteboard, sometimes with the whole team or one or two members, all kinds of thoughts about whether and where the shop fits in. It's been an interesting process with a lot of soul-searching. Stay tuned :) 

Overall, 2019 promises to be an exciting year of intentional growth and change!

DryEyeZone highlights from 2018, plans for 2019

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment