What a big, floppy disappointment. You start these "now" pages with the intent of updating it every week, being disciplined, and squaring your shit away -then you let 6 months go by without so much as a peep because you've just gone on with your life
Summer blew by...so did Spring. We've got two new employees at the shop, both vets, with another vet coming on board at the end of October as soon as he gets out. What do all these vets all day? Well, other than drive me to the point of alcoholism and wanting to kill myself (kind of like children do), they pick a lot fulfill your orders, make a lot of patches, do a lot of sewing, take a lot of product photos, do a lot of copywriting, and generally just try to learn about what its like to run your own business -so that they might do it for themselves one day. Its the most rewarding aspect of Violent Little, and its my way of manufacturing my own camaraderie. You see, there aren't that many vets in this town, so I like to import them and pay them to hang out and pretend to do work. Its a classic Violent Little move.
The Little Box of Violence is back! Except now its a bag, with fewer items, and less expensive...and with FREE SHIPPING! Signups are already sold-out for September, but we'll be opening them back up for October's bag.
Right now I'm reading two fantastic books: Extreme Ownership, a business management book by former SEAL, Jocko Willink and Money: Mastering the Game, a personal finance book by Tony Robbins. Both are blowing my mind.
In February we moved all of our fulfillment to Boise. It was an interesting experience, but in the end it was not for us. We need to physically be with our inventory. Not having all of our shit in the shop was depressing -it was like a ghost town, and it drained a lot of the "mojo" we pride ourselves on. Now that our shit's back, morale is high and the swagger is back.
Well...we spent the beginning part of the week in Sun Valley and then bounced out to Maui for some BJJ, plate lunch, Mama's Fish House, and to do some serious thinking. Oh sure...it sounds like paradise, and it is to a certain extent, but this ain't no vacation (in the traditional sense of the word). There's something about switching up the scenery that has an extraordinary way of refocusing the mind. Plus, with the time change in Idaho, you feel like a superhero for waking up so early. I've got two hours of Jiu Jitsu with my favorite instructor at Maui BJJ in Haiku, starting at 6:00am...then off to a Photoshop/Illustrator class at 9:00am so I can sharpen this dull-ass pencil and come up with some new shit.
Maui is a special place for us since we have a lot of family here. Last year, Shelly, my fiancee, and I spent the whole month of March here. I shipped over my 27" Mac (or however big the stupid big one is) and worked on the lanai of the small and rustic Ohana we stayed at on my Aunt's property. Came up with some badass ideas and it set up 2015 nicely...so we figured we'd do it again, although not for quite as long as last year's trip.
Designing a business, let alone running one remotely for a month on Maui (or wherever) is no easy task. Of course, one can come up with ideas and provide customer service from anywhere, but we rely on a team of skilled individuals to keep the wheels greased. Our fulfillment center that we just switched to is cranking out the daily orders, Cesar is back in the shop lasering, sewing, and listening to Mexican mariachi music way too loud, probably. And of course, I'm here pontificating a bunch of bullshit, crafting new ideas, thinking about philosophical shit, and trying not to suck so bad at BJJ. The drinking will come...and so will the drunk emails, so be on the lookout.
There comes a time in every business where you need to redesign it...where you need to re-tool the way things are done. For us that meant hiring a fulfillment company to fulfill all of our packages. It was just getting too insane, and Christmas was a perfect example of this. We almost went crazy. This is great news for us and for the customers. Its going to mean a lot less mistakes in shipping, which means much less customer service issues to deal with. And with fulfillment 100% off of our plate, we're free to focus on what we do best, which is coming up with more fucked up ideas and expand the Little Box of Violence, which has just sold out for its third consecutive month.
Today we packed up the entire inventory of the shop into a trailer and we're driving it to Boise to drop it off. We've had to suspend order fulfillment since Wednesday so that we could start making the transition. So far customers have been pretty understanding.
In other news, a good buddy of mine who recently got out of the SEAL Teams is moving to Sun Valley and is going to work in the shop to get his feet wet while he plans his next moves. We're thrilled to have him join us in the shop. He's fucking crazy and good at building shit. With all this inventory gone, I think we're going to just have to build a nice bar in the shop. Project numero uno.
We just got back from Shot Show where we had a tremendously successful show. And by "tremendously successful" I mean that we walked around like a bunch of marauding bears, handed out patches, and got drunk...excessively. We popped into Vegas a couple days early so we could see some family and hang out a bit before the retardation. We had quite the crew this year...Joshua Johnson, a couple of Navy SEALs...cause we're fucking name droppers...my fiancee, and even my brother from Miami Design Shop came out for the fun. We stayed at Excalibur...not because we had to, but because we wanted our Shot Show experience and Shot Show patch to embody the seedy underbellied shady sidestreet that we epitomize. I often say, without Always Sunny in Philadelphia, there is no Violent Little. It was awful, great, and we got incredibly weird. We also went on the greatest craps run I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Good thing too -we were losing our ass before little brother showed up to save the day.
Right after Shot Show we drove up to Park City to go to Sundance with our friends from Readyman and Black Rifle Coffee to take in the Range 15 trailer premiere/party. I was sick as a dog from Shot Show and I just wanted it all to end...but we had a blast. I'm seriously considering not drinking for 60 days.
We got back to Sun Valley at around midnight last night and unpacked. It was Jimmy's last day today, unfortunately. He was a fantastic asset to this company and he will be missed. I really can't blame him for leaving given that his new job gives him unlimited vacation days...whereas we have a generous policy of precisely "none" at Violent Little. Maybe I might want to look into changing that to retain quality talent. I congratulate Jimmy on his new appointment and hope our "professional" paths cross again some day.
This week we're focused on catching up from Shot Show, getting new product ordered, and getting our box design finalized for February's Little Box of Violence. I received a call from the printers today telling me that they WOULD NOT print the image that we asked them to print on the box. Its almost more fun when they do this. Product for the February box has started to arrive and we're on track for an on-time departure from the shop on Feb 10.
Oh thank fucking God the Christmas season is over. It was a rough one for us getting a new "warehouse guy" up to speed on the whole process. It was probably the worst possible time to do so, but we had no choice. We probably lost a few customers in the process...but hopefully most of you stick around and give us another chance.
This week we're focusing on a short film that we made with our very first employee, Pat, from a couple years ago. Pat was the man...he put up with a lot of shit and at a time when we had very few customers. He'll always have a special spot at this company, and it is in that spirit that we shot a few sketches today. The name of the film is called "Pat's Back".
It's also that time of month where the Little Box of Violence action starts to happen. The product starts to arrive, warehouse space starts to get tight, and we all get a little excited for the calm before the storm. We've got 300-ish boxes going out on January 10th. As of now everything is on schedule.
And one more thing...us, Thirty Seconds Out, and military artist, Joshua Johsnon -the man with the Golden Dick, have been working on a BIG SPECIAL project for a couple months now. The fruits of our labor has just paid off and we're now holding the finished product in our hands. There will be a launch party at Shot Show...most likely at a random booth that doesn't rhyme with F&F Smecision. It appears as if a keg will also be there. Stay tuned.
Well, first of all, we've had about 4 feet of powder here in Sun Valley in about the past two weeks. As expected, the Christmas shopping season has been crazy. We knew it was going to be a bear, and this year didn't disappoint. Some mornings we'd come in and print over 200 labels to ship out, which is a lot for one dude to handle. To add to the craziness, our warehouse manager, Ton, decided to leave us after over a year of dutiful service...which really sucks because he was very good at his job. He's sewn every leather patch to leave our shop in the past year. He also fulfills every package that goes out, and with an accuracy that can't be matched. He will be missed. And by the way, thank you to all those who submitted resumes and emails when we were searching for Ton's replacement. We filled the position locally because we needed something ASAFP and because the right guy presented himself (thus far). Our new warehouse guy, Cesar, got thrown into the belly of the beast very quickly and at the worst time of year to "learn on the job". He has made some mistakes on people's orders. We hate disappointing customers, but Cesar is a good dude and we're going to give him some more time to get the hang of it.
Right now, with the majority of the Christmas season behind us, we've been focusing on the Little Box of Violence -establishing relationships, talking to customers who received our first box, improving, judging, and coming up with a whole bunch of F-ed up shit to put in there. My buddy, Brandon, who got out of the SEAL Teams about six months ago, has been hanging around here in Sun Valley at the shop quite a bit to see how we do what we do here. With his extensive knowledge and background, he's been great to have around and help curate the box. A month or so ago we drove to the little border gambling town of Jackpot, NV and locked ourselves in a hotel suite with a bottle of scotch and some Adderall and basically knocked out the whole concept of the box over a few hours. The box is up to 300 subscribers now. Box 2 is gonna be a big ole' bitch.
-Yanne...its pronounced Yawn, like when you're tired.