2021 was a busy year for all of us. As a way to better understand what was learned and accomplished, we took a few hours to highlight some of our best memories and biggest learnings. This journey was not just ours. It was shared among our friends, our families, and our customers. We hope you'll take a few minutes to read through our 2021 Review, and we encourage you to recap your own accomplishments and learnings! Best Memory: In June, we traveled to Honduras to distribute journals to students and see the work that The Foundation for Education in Honduras has been able to accomplish. This was an incredible moment for us personally, as it gave us such a greater sense of perspective, but it was also a great moment for our business, as it reinforced our commitment to doing some good in the world through our Scribes for Students mission. Biggest Learning: One way we measure our success is by determining 'how many balls we have in the air.' If things are slow, and we are relying on the sales of a single product or we are only acquiring customers through a single channel or ad, we know that whatever growth we are experiencing isn't very sustainable. We need to have many balls in the air, and we need to do our best to make sure each one of them is getting the attention it deserves. At the beginning of this year, an overwhelming majority of our revenue was coming from just 1-2 channels and 1-2 products. January and February of 2021 were great. In fact, our revenue was nearly double what we expected it to be because of the success of these two campaigns. However, when things started to taper off, and these two campaigns started to lose steam, we were stuck in the mud and we realized that the success of these two initiatives had made us complacent when it came to planning for the future. It all came to a head in February, when we realized that we didn't have a plan for growing The Scribes, and even if we did, it would have been impossible because we were flat out of inventory. At that moment, we forced ourselves to think outside of the box and we began to think more long term. We committed to growing our product line. We committed to growth-by-partnership. We committed to a more diverse marketing agenda. And most importantly, we committed to engaging with our community and building based on feedback. As a result, we spent the next few months collaborating with the likes of Cisco Brewery, Whalebone Magazine, The Starting Small Podcast, The Strand Bookstore, and so many more. These partnerships have been incredibly worthwhile and incredibly fun. In summary, our learning is this: One dimensional doesn't work for us. And not just because it eventually goes away, but because it shrinks your scope of thought. Keep a lot of balls in the air. Monthly Highlights: January: After months of working from home and fulfilling orders from my bedroom, we got our first office! February: As mentioned earlier, we were totally out of inventory in February. Instead of throwing in the towel, we brainstormed ideas of what we could personally make ourselves, and we released a line of Prints. This incredible work by Alden Bohrmann sustained us in the month of February and reinvigorated our collective creativity. Who knew we'd be into wall art? March: On March 25, we received our long-awaited inventory shipment and we had officially more inventory than office space. April: This month, we kicked off our partnership with Whalebone Magazine with a feature in their Weather Edition and placement in their two retail stores. May: As a way to spice things up on social media and promote our new product line, we kicked off our NYC Comeback Campaign, where for 21 straight days, we took a picture at an iconic location in New York City (Scribe in hand) and explained it's significance. All in the name of promoting New York City, a city that rebounded like no other following the pandemic. June: Our trip to Honduras, where we donated 3,000 notebooks to students all across the country. July: We got to see our products on display at the happiest place on earth - Cisco Brewery, ACK. This partnership also gave us the opportunity to donate supplies to all of the teachers on the island. August: In August, we teamed up with singer / songwriter Lucy Dacus to create custom journals for her world tour. This reel is the closest to 'viral' we've ever been. September: In September, we got to design GOOD journals with our friends from GoodMrkt / Vera Bradley. Being featured in their two stores, alongside so many brands on a mission to do some good has been truly incredible. October: In October, we were interviewed on The Starting Small Podcast, a podcast we've learned a lot from. If you a fan of entrepreneurship and storytelling, check it out on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. You can grab one of The Starting Small Scribes, too. November: Intern month! Let us highlight Portia Inzone and Samantha Whitaker (who we brought on in November). It was Portia's idea to release a collection of neutrals, which lead to The Scribe in Tan and Peach. December: Besides writing this email (which has actually been a super fun way to reflect); we had two big moments in December that we'd like to highlight. The first was our partnership with The Strand Bookstore in which we created this Manhattan-themed journal. Secondly, December became a month where we were able to donate 500-600 journals to students right here in New York City. We can't think of a better way to end the year than by serving incredible teachers and non-profits that make lives better.
Stress: The Silent - and sometimes not so silent - Body Wrecker Many people are living with chronic high levels of stress, many times underestimating its magnitude and impact. There are MANY stressors that on a daily basis affect us: relationship issues (even indirectly, our friends or family experience them and we get affected to a degree as well), work issues (deadlines, meetings, public speaking, demanding hours, tense work environment), housing issues (roommates, building matters, expenses), finances, etc. Stress is usually an accumulation of small triggers, and not just an isolated event. We are not always cognizant of how many different things are impacting us, and thus, how much our body is working extra to adjust and manage. People don’t realize how stressed they are; they feel “normal” but internally the body is working hard to keep up. There are a lot of internal mechanisms that get activated when the body encounters worries or difficult situations. There are many internal “filters” that are no longer able to cope even on everyday situations: some people lash out against family, peers, or bosses in ways they wish they could take back; some have the opposite reaction and “blank out” in an exam, a meeting, or presentation; some experience anxiety to a degree that symptoms mimic stomach, cardiac, or respiratory issues. Think of it like this – you are a cup. Stress is water. Every time you experience a stressor, your cup fills up a little bit, and your capacity to hold any more diminishes. Everything is fine until you hit capacity and then the next stressor, no matter how big or small, causes a spill (which might manifest as an outburst, or a panic attack, or an overwhelming need to eat a donut). How do we reduce our overall stress level? The first step is to become more aware of how your body is coping with everyday activities and situations (relationships, work, finances, etc.), and proactively trying to restore that internal balance. One of the most efficient ways to do this is using a paced breathing technique, breathing being the #1 body regulator. Another way is trying activities that improve your mood to balance out the negative impact of stressors; and as powerful, is not letting things bottle up inside you: talking to family and friends, and/or exploring and processing feelings and situations by journaling about them. Using Optimalist app and journal The Optimalist app and journal are tools to help people become more aware of their overall stress levels and inform them on the impact of their daily activities. These tools are grounded in cognitive behavioral and evidence-based studies to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing. By keeping tabs on your stress level, you can take proactive steps to manage it (i.e., let some water out), and help avoid those spilling situations. Using Optimalist, you can manage your stress by: Understanding how each activity affects us, positively and negatively (using the app and journal to gain this understanding) Using the app's breathing pacer to optimize any activity Mindfully choosing an activity to rebalance our physiological stress. The intentionality is a key aspect to boost mood and reduce stress. For example, choosing to journal about our day and highlighting the positive things that happened will make us feel better and more fulfilled. Using the app to understand how different activities affect us will help us make better choices and include healthier habits in our everyday life. Getting an objective measurement (app), which gives us a sense of control and productivity, and listing tangibles goal to work towards (app and journal). Guest Writer: Dr. Maria Bruce
Hey, sub(scribe)rs! As we head into the holiday season, you probably have a shopping list for your friends and family. This year, we really want to encourage people to think about who they are buying from, and how each purchase makes a difference for these small businesses. As consumers ourselves, we know how convenient it is to buy from retail powerhouses (*cough* *cough* Amazon) and magically receive a purchase within a few days of ordering it. Don’t get us wrong, we do it too. Still, by having these conversations we become more conscious of our spending decisions, not only thinking about where we are purchasing, but also what - and oftentimes the convenience of big businesses leads to unnecessary purchases. To help you make thoughtful purchases this holiday season, we’ve created a short list of small businesses that are worth your support. GoodMrkt Goodmrkt is a retail concept committed to doing good. Their in-store and online collection of products are curated from 50+ brands, all of which are committed to doing good in their local communities and the world. We’ve been fortunate to be carried at GoodMrkt, and we even created some really neat journals with them, in partnership. If you prefer to shop in person, GoodMrkt has two brick and mortar locations - one in Fort Wayne, Indiana and one in New York City. Bombas Bombas creates high-quality and comfortable socks, underwear, and t-shirts. Like us, Bombas has a buy one, give one model, and for every product sold, they donate one to someone affected by homelessness. For her: Women’s Holiday Calf Sock 4-Pack For him: Men’s Pima Cotton Crew Neck Long Sleeve T-Shirt Use code MERRY20 for 20% off your order until 12/3! Ranger Station Ranger Station creates beautiful fragrance products for women and men. From hand-poured and packaged candles to perfume and cologne, they offer a range of earthy and floral scents. We love their candles that burn out into whisky glasses. Check out The Holiday Set for the greatest bang for your buck, and use code BLACKFRIDAY for 25% off sitewide. Hydros Hydros offers filtered water pitchers and bottles using 100% coconut shell carbon in a BPA-free casing. Their technology filters water at 5x the speed of their competitors! So far they’ve saved over 35,000,000 plastic bottles from polluting our oceans, and your purchase will help them save even more. We’re eying their Water Filter Bottle this holiday season. MUD\WTR MUD\WTR offers an organic alternative to coffee, with 1/7th the caffeine as a cup of coffee but the benefits of focus, energy, and immunity without crashing. It seems that the best way to transition from coffee to MUD\WTR is with their Ritual Starter Kit. Take an additional 20% off with code TURKEYTAIL! Together, let’s support and uplift entrepreneurs by making conscious holiday shopping decisions. Wishing you a warm and happy holiday season. - The Scribes
Working from home has certainly created distance between employees and their workplace - a physical reminder of where you work and what your company stands for is more important than ever. Purchasing custom journals from The Scribes is a feel good moment for your company, and I’d say a company that integrates giving back into their mission is a company worth supporting!100% of our corporate clients rated us 5/5 for customer service and would purchase from us again.
Eighteen months ago, we met Ramiro Ocasio and the team at The Foundation for Education in Honduras. For those who don’t know, FEIH is an organization that builds schools and delivers hope to some of the most underserved areas of Honduras. This week, I got to experience Honduras first-hand, and while there, we were able to distribute journals to students and teachers as part of our larger partnership with FEIH in which we donated 3,000 custom journals to support their efforts. As someone born in the United States, it’s hard to understand what real struggle looks like until you visit a country like Honduras. Sure, we have our problems here in the states, but we are incredibly fortunate to live in a country where our basic needs are met. Poverty, crime, and corruption have plagued Honduras for a long time, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the people you meet there. Instead, so many people I met while in Honduras are so proud of their country and happy to share it with visitors. At one of the schools we visited - in the small town of Esquias - we were met at the driveway with a mini-parade and traditional Honduran dances. We were greeted by the mayor of the town and served tamales by a few women who came to cook for us. Together, we all celebrated the construction of the new school that will change the lives of so many children and their families. It was a good day in this small town that has struggled so much, particularly in the past year. According to the Mayor, the town is situated in one of the best coffee-growing regions of Honduras, but due to a long drought, production has fallen. In this particular town, it is said that the average family lives on $1.20 per day. Covid-19 certainly hasn’t made life any easier. But on this day, we were brought together to celebrate the students of Honduras and the immeasurable difference FEIH is making for the better. I am so grateful that we at The Scribes got to play a small role in this special day. Since starting our business, we’ve donated over 10,000 journals to students, primarily here in the United States, but after this trip, our commitment to supporting FEIH, and in particular the students and teachers in Honduras has never been stronger. Now a few days removed from this trip, I can truly say that my perspective on life, work, and purpose has been forever changed. To the amazing people of Honduras who welcomed us into your community - thank you. And thank you to Ramiro ‘The Hero’ Ocasio for leading this trip, and more importantly, leading this initiative of giving students in Honduras the education they deserve.
Long before we started The Scribes, Alden, Pooja, and I were out for lunch in New York City. Like the nerds we are, our conversation largely centered about our favorite brands, and why we liked them so much. I asked the group: “If you could name your 5 favorite brands, what would they be?” I gave some context and said things like “You would be sad if this brand was no longer around” and “This brand should be one that actually makes your life better.” We each rattled named a few. Apple came up, obviously. Slack. Barbour. Costco. Trader Joes. Some big brands. When it got around to me, I rattled off a pretty obscure list. One of the brands was Cisco Brewery, on Nantucket Island. My reasoning was simple: When I am there, I am so happy. Dogs on the loose, good beer, and most importantly, I’m around so many happy people. At Cisco, you have no worries. Never in a million years would I have thought about starting a journal company. Never in a trillion years would I have imagined that we would be creating The Cisco Scribe for their summer merch. Well, crazy things happen. Check out The Cisco Scribe and have a great summer. - Mike
A few weeks ago, we were having drinks at a local cocktail spot by the office. As we looked around, we noticed how much NYC has changed over the past 14 months. Outdoor seating where you couldn’t have imagined, distanced tables, QR codes for menus, and signs that say “Must purchase food with every order.” With all of that said - and all of the change - we felt optimistic about the future of New York City, and we have a feeling that New York will come back like never before. On that day, we reminisced on what the previous fourteen months looked like, for us and for the city. In March 2020, the world shutdown and New York was the epicenter of the pandemic. We went from living in the city, seeing one another on a daily basis, to living with our parents in our respective hometowns. We left all of our inventory in New York City, because after all, we just needed to ‘flatten the curve’. It soon became apparent that it would take more than a few weeks for the virus to subside and like every other business, we made remote, work. We scheduled daily calls to keep up with our business, kept in close contact with our suppliers to make sure they were ok, and anxiously went on with our work. I was living in New Jersey, which made it pretty easy to drive into the city when we needed to fulfill orders or retrieve inventory being shipped to our apartments. As I drove through NYC, I’ll never forget how empty the streets were. I drove through Times Square and stopped in the middle of the road. No honks. It’s surreal to even reflect on. I never thought New York City could look like it did. Many of our friends and family said ‘New York City is dead’. Reporters said that the city would never return to normal. It’d be a lie if we never thought the same thing, but more than anything, we never allowed ourselves to believe it. We returned to New York in late spring / early summer. Just like it has shown this year, warm weather and Vitamin D did some healing, but the city was still on shaky ground. Compared to a few months prior, there was hope in the air. As summer burned off and fall approached, COVID-19 cases started to rise again. Lines for testing centers were wrapped around the block, and ‘Out of Business’ signs appeared more frequently across the city. People were eating outside in Parkas. You could still find joy in things, but you had to bundle up and try really hard to see the light. Here we are now, however, sitting at this bar in April of 2021. The QR code menus, ordering food with every drink, and distanced tables don’t really bother us. If that’s what it takes to keep businesses open, let’s do it. It’s getting warm again and the vaccine is rolling out. The city is starting to look like the place we all love! Tourists are again taking pictures in front of the charging bull. I recently sat next to someone on the subway. I saw a few guys dressed in suits walking to work. NYC is coming back. And we want to capture it. Over the last 21 days, we’ve been walking all over the city taking a picture in front of a New York landmark with a Scribe in hand. We hope that the project has brought some awareness to the great parts of New York City that people all over the world know and love. We are so excited for the city to fully reopen on July 1st and we invite all who said ‘NYC is dead’ to the city to see if they still stand by their opinion. Here were the 21 places we visited! 1. 90 Broad Street 2. The corner of Spring Street and Crosby 3. Bleeker Street Bar 4. Strand Bookstore 5. La Colombe 6. Brooklyn Bridge 7. Stay Forever - Our first retail shop! 8. Union Square Park 9. The Oculus 10. Joes Pizza - The best pizza in NYC. 11. Grand Central 12. Michaels Apartment 13. Charging Bull 14. Washington Square Park 15. A view from the city across the river - Jersey City, NJ 16. Empire State Building 17. Times Square 18. Central Park 19. Subway Station 20. The Met 21. Statue of Liberty To find out the relevance of each location to The Scribes follow us @thescribesco! Pooja Patel
Journaling is a great habit to incorporate into your daily routine. We all have a few extra minutes if we plan accordingly, and the health benefits of journaling are proven. Three reasons you should try to journal for a few minutes each day: Journaling reduces stress - Our minds are full of things to do and the fear of not remembering to do them. When you take pen to paper, you declutter your brain and eliminate the stress of remembering so much. Journaling will boost your mood - Try writing down 3 things you are grateful for everyday. This serves as a helpful reminder that we have a lot to be thankful for, and when you think about the positive things happening in your life, the rest won’t seem so bad. Journaling helps keep your memory sharp - Science shows that our physical motor activity is tied to our cognitive function. When you write something down, you are more likely to remember it. If you’ve tried to ‘journal’ but it wasn’t your thing, it’s likely because you didn’t give it a fair chance. We’ve been there, too. Like so many things in life, you don’t see the benefits until after the habit has been formed. For the next 21 days, we encourage you to crack open a journal and commit a few minutes each day to your mental health. Studies show that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so we’ve curated 21 prompts for you to explore and keep you entertained. Kick-Start your Journaling Journey: If I had the courage I would… Write about an activity, place or practice that makes you feel alive. Write about something you need to let go. Create a mental health bucket list. Make a plan to get rid of your fears. What advice would you give to the person you were last year? Write about your best day so far this month! What do you need to get off your mind? What is something or someone you need to detox from your life? How well do you manage your time? Talk about a movie or book that had a positive impact on your life. How did it change you? What is your self care routine? Describe 5 nice things that happened to you in the past week. Then, list 5 nice things you will do for others next week. Describe your perfect job, and be honest. (Assume you’re set for life financially, so ‘no job’ is an option) Write a letter to someone who has always been there for you. Describe a mistake you made recently, big or small. How did you deal with it? When you are in a bad mood, what can you do to turn your day around? Create a bucket list. What are your core values? Try some free-association! Use one or more of the following words: thunder, dream, silence, peace, deadline. Write down whatever comes to mind. What would a perfect day look like for you? We’ll be following along and completing these with you. If you feel inspired to share what you create, let us know! - Pooja PatelCo-Founder, The Scribes
Here, we dive into our fourth 'rebrand' in 18 months.