Thank you for indulging us whilst we review our achievements in 2017 and look forward to 2018. We're sharing this as we know that many of our customers like to have a 'behind the scenes' update periodically.
Top Tip: If you're ever in a doubt as to what you've achieved / had fun with / experienced / made memories of, we highly recommend jotting them down in your diary even if it's just with a couple of words or a phrase. Then, in the lull between Christmas and New Year, you'll be able to go through the year with a highlighter pen and see in neon glory, everything that has happened.
2017 was utterly exhilarating and terrifying in equal measures.
Terrifying: At the start of the year we invested in kit, software and technology to change how we work and significantly increase our capacities for production. Doing this at the start of the year, when we became quieter after the beautiful chaos of our first Christmas was a difficult decision but one that we knew would be vital to the future growth of the business. I remember writing words in my diary that related to fear and the scale of the unknown.
Terrifying and exhilarating: We then spent several months 'bedding in' the new processes and setting up and testing all that this brought. We scoured the shops for reindeers in March, ready for Christmas product photography. We researched and established new partnerships with pen manufacturers, road tested pencil cases and sent back a number of deliveries which didn't meet our exacting specifications. We experimented with offering academic diaries. We took a huge number of photographs and re wrote product descriptions. We worked diligently to produce regular newsletters. We emailed and messaged with seemingly infinite numbers of individuals to produce one off, utterly bespoke orders. We responded to many numbers of organisations who were interested in submitting corporate orders.
Exhilarating: Recognised influencers in the stationery, lifestyle and blogging worlds noted our work. Celebrities ordered and recommended us to their friends. Receiving a personal note on Vogue headed notepaper made us dance a wee jig in the Studio. We finished the year with features in our beloved Independent and the Evening Standard - they helped to keep us busy right through to the final posting dates!
Exhilarating: We also designed a new collection - the secret code collection. This was a new activity for us - designing a collection which fitted neatly together and would be perfect for gifting irrespective of gender, age or life stage. The wordsearch diary was chosen by The Independent as one of their diaries of the year and heralded it as a must have for 2018. The morse code and binary code notebooks and diaries have also done well but the true leader of the pack is the wordsearch. We think it helps people to express their feelings about a person as a whole - their social life, home life, work life and their adventures past and yet to happen. It also provides opportunities to be inappropriate, make in jokes and embarrass in good humour. We're looking forward to seeing what people come up with when we launch our limited edition valentine's style in the new year!
Terrifying: November was, at points, terrifying. It was a rollercoaster - influxes of orders followed by a day of silence and us checking that the internet was still working for The Human Race. This repeated throughout the month and our emotions went up and down with the orders!
Exhilarating: Seeing 2014, 2015 and 2016's customers come back and order diaries, notebooks and pens for themselves and their families, workmates and friends was a wonderful experience. We loved receiving the bespoke requests, asking us for ideas on what we could to make something memorable. It's a privilege to serve our community and being asked to contribute to meaningful life points is a wonderful experience.
2017 in summary: Looking back, I appreciate that it's entirely on trend to choose a word or theme for a year and we're not averse to this - well, I as the author am not. It's not entirely something Richard buys into, but he sees how it gives purpose and focus to my outlook, so he goes along with it. My word for 2017 was 'growth' and we are delighted that we've seen so much growth in all of the places our work is available.
Looking forwards: So, what will my word for 2018 be? The word has actually been on my horizon for a number of months - and even though it was literally in front of me, I didn't come to 'see' it until the 19th December. I was at an event in London which was all about personal development. I went with a dear friend who shares my outlook on the benefits of positive thinking. Led by Brad Yates, the evening was all about "thriving" and the many forms it can take. I couldn't believe that it was on my tickets, reminder emails, in my own diary and so relevant, so pertinent, so appropriate for every area of my personal and professional life.
It was a proper thunderbolt moment - the purpose of our work is to make life easier, better, richer and more colourful for our worldwide community. In 2018 we will be working tirelessly to bring you new products, trying new styles and designs and finding ways to help you and the people you love and care for thrive on every level.
So it's with delight, that I'll be tasking Richard with making an entirely new style for me, for my own Hope House Press 2018 diary - with the word "thriving" in as many formats, fonts and styles as I can have him fit onto one front - and back cover piece of leather! I'll share it here and on Instagram as soon as I have it.
How has your year been? Have you documented it in a journal or diary? Did you choose a word for the year? How did it work for you? What are you planning for 2018?
Whatever it is, Hope House Press will be in your handbag, jacket pocket or at your bedside - wherever you keep your notebook or diary, rooting for you, wishing you a thrivingful (New Word!) 2018.