If you’ve been keeping an eye on Attacus lately, you’ll have noticed we’ve been behaving unusually. Big sales and the cryptic mention that we’re making some big changes to our business… you’re probably wondering what’s going on, and why.
The truth is we are struggling. But not in the way you might assume.
This isn’t a financial problem, but a personal one.
The past 7 years as small business owners have felt like a sprint at 100mph. Our sole focus has been on building a solid brand and a business that could support the two of us, and we’ve put every single bit of effort and focus we’ve had into doing that. In the 7 years since we launched the brand, we’ve achieved more than we ever thought we could.
We feel so fortunate to have such a wonderful global community of people who connect with the ethos of our brand and the things we design. Our products are now worn in 54 countries around the world and we’ve sold over 30,000 of them to date.
And until 18 months ago, we achieved all of this as a team of just two.
And while this whole adventure has been awesome and rewarding and successful in lots of ways, we’ve sort of lost ourselves in the midst of it all.
You see, when you’re giving your entire self to something and finishing most days with absolutely nothing left in the tank, eventually something’s got to give. We feel like we’ve created a bit of a monster. A living, breathing, rapidly-growing entity that threatens to engulf us entirely if we don’t work out how to tame it. We currently have a far bigger workload than we can manage.
While taking on a member of staff in 2020 helped ease some of our workload, we’re still working far beyond a sustainable capacity with very little chance to take time off or to recharge.
We are, essentially, really burnt out. We’ve depleted our last reserves. We’re knackered.
So, we have two choices.
1) Get bigger: Hire more staff to help us tame this beast, creating way more overheads. Scale up operations and face having to sell significantly more kit in order to fund these new overheads.
2) Scale back the workload.
We’ve always said we’re not interested in building an empire. We set up Attacus from our kitchen table as a way of making products for ourselves because we couldn’t find them elsewhere. We didn’t have grand plans to be executives managing a swarm of staff, stakeholders and liabilities, and we still don’t. It’s not what motivates either of us.
We’d much rather maintain something that can sustain us but is still small, fun and less pressured. Something we look forward to getting out of bed and going into the office for.
So we’re moving forward with a new plan for Attacus. A plan we’re nicknaming Attacus 2.0. A plan which allows us to keep doing the thing we love but in a healthy, long-term way.
Attacus 2.0: The Plan
- Hold significantly less live stock.
- Transition to a more ‘on demand’ stock model.
- Move to a smaller office.
- Produce more limited edition and collab products.
- Continue growing our Attacus Custom offering.
We’ve already focused our efforts on reducing our stock levels, hence our emphasis on sales recently. Our next phase of the plan is our office move, which will be taking place in the next month.
Why are you doing such a huge sale?
- We want to reduce our stock levels. The lower the stock volume we have, the less burden there is on us. We currently have a 1700 sq ft warehouse that costs a lot of money. We’d much rather have a small, cosy space that encourages creativity rather than causes us to constantly think about the numbers.
Are you going bust/Is Attacus shutting down?
- No, don’t worry. We have a solid business that’s grown fantastically over the last 5 years. But life isn’t all about growth or money. It’s about experience. And currently our experiences are limited. So we’re making some conscious decisions as owners to scale back in order to give us, personally, a better work/life balance.
Are you restocking winter kit this year?
- Unfortunately not. We are currently trying to clear the remaining winter stock that we have. If you have a look there’s some mega huge discounts to be had. Unfortunately winter kit takes up a LOT of space compared to summer.
Are you going to stop making kit?
- Absolutely not. We love Attacus and making kit. We’re just making some changes to how we do that.
Something I want is out of stock in my size, are there any extras floating around in the office I can buy?
- Nope, everything we have in stock is on the website. We're making plans to release more kit next year, so there may be a chance to order what you want then. We announce dates of all of our restocks and new product launches via our mailing list, so it's worth signing up there if you're interested in hearing about what we've got coming up.
Here's to the future!