Did/do you have a roadmap of your launches, or just release one product at a time whenever it's ready?
150 retail sounds like it could be a rather complicated product - how long is the time to market given that you have to wear all the hats?
How do you do QC for the container qty amounts?
What would be your first hire? Sales rep, controller, another designer?
Edit: Figured out your brand. Can't go wrong with cats in this internet day and age
Was the internet-cat-craze a calculated target audience on your part, or did you just invent something for you cat and took it from there?
No brand secrets! Just wanted to keep the thread about making a biz, not about my company
Road Map: Honestly, no. I started and grew this company in probably all the wrong ways. I largely rely on instinct, which is admittedly not ideal.
A bigger thing regarding Road Maps is actually the overall plan for a new company. I started it as an experiment, and grew it part time over many years. It's still a tiny company, and only in the past 3-4 years has it been a FT effort. Because I did not launch with any product dev or dales goals/targets, I did not have a map laid out to get to them. I do not recommend following my approach! I will apply everything I have learned the slow slow slow way to the next brand I build and should be able to match my current sales within 1 year, not 8.
PO to delivery is a standard 90 days, with ocean shipping. Development can take 1-2 months for sketches, proto's, etc. Sampling from the factory is an average of 3-4 weeks per round. Go to the factory to work with them directly if you can! It's eye-opening.
QC is a bit of a challenge. I used an agent that I knew and trusted to source the factories, and they watched QC. But I did not have a real QC process in place, and I do regret that. Luckily, there haven't been any major issues - my products are quite simple - and any issues that have come up are mostly the last 10% of getting the product to look or function "just right". I am alway MUCH pickier than my customers, and rarely have any QC complaints that have to do with production.
My first FT hire would be a Marketing Director. Online marketing can be endless and can eat up every minute of the day. Once the websites, warehouses, and production is set up, the day to day is mostly automatic, and doesn't need any hands on to work.
I would like to hire a designer/developer on a project basis to help to get my sketches and proto's documented into spec and engineering files that I can send to the factory. Know anyone?
CATS! I did have cats at home and did want to make products for them. To learn more about the market I went to a couple trade shows and saw that there was definitely a lack of well-designed cat products. And the LOLCAT phase was just kicking in as well, so it was a a perfect storm.