During the 2022 Holiday Season, we had an outpouring of support from our fans and customers supporting our business while we were just on the heels of dozens of new product launches that I created from my upgraded laboratory and beauty bakery. We also just moved out of our warehousing and fulfillment operations so we could focus more of our time and energy on our product development and 100% PURE brand development.
In late November, we fully realized that we had a meltdown in our fulfillment operations. We had partnered with a fulfillment provider, Rocket Shipper and they utilized technology from Extensiv. We turned on the switch on November 1st. By the time we realized it from the customer complaints, we found out that orders were stuck in their systems and products were shipped without dunnage (the support around the products to prevent them from damage during transit), and the shipping method they used was seemingly done randomly. We had sold inventory we didn’t have and lost inventory. Our customers were sending us more emails than we could manage and our social media was aflame with angry messages. To top it off, we were blamed for sending too much packaging and finished products to their facility.
In 2004, we sold our first 100% PURE product. We launched www.100percentpure.com and every day would receive a dozen or so orders that me and my co-founders, Richard Kostick and James Wang would personally pack. We operated out of our farmhouse in Napa where we handcrafted our products. We used sustainable materials from day one, utilizing cornstarch peanuts and making sure we packed them in a way that the product will arrive safely to the customer and create the optimal experience.
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We moved to a home in the hills of Oakland, California in 2005 and still handcrafted the products from home and shipped them from our house. About mid-way through the year, we moved to Emeryville, CA, and rented our first warehouse. A tiny 1200 square foot warehouse right next to Peets Coffee and Dunseumor Madelines. We still hand-packed out our packages with the help of an assistant. We pride ourselves on the care of our customers.
Our biggest challenge while in this location was when we were fulfilling a truckload-size order of body scrubs for our largest customer and ran out of oil mid-production. We were producing body scrubs nonstop for 24 hours straight with a dozen staff inside of the small space in order to not let our customers down. Someone asked, where are the extra organic grapeseed and apricot oils? We were out. Richard and I were not going to give up, especially when it comes to not letting our customers down. We loaded our jeep full of empty containers and drove up to Woodland, CA where the farm we buy our oil was located. It was nearly midnight when we arrived, we left the farmers messages on their phones but they wouldn’t pick up. We arrived at their farmhouse and banged on the door, hoping that someone would hear us and help us get more oil. Lo and behold, the farmer and his wife answered, in their pajamas, awoke from our banging. We explained our situation and the farmer got dressed and brought us to his inventory where we helped ourselves to fill up on grapeseed and apricot oils. We returned around 1 am in the morning and made more body scrubs until the sun rose and the truck pulled up. This was our first full truckload, and we didn’t have a forklift or pallet jack. James and Richard built the pallets inside of the truck and pushed them in place with their feet while lying on their backs. We delivered on time to our customers and delighted fans with our 100% PURE body scrubs.
That warehouse only lasted about 3 months and we outgrew it. We then moved again in 2005 to Alameda, CA to a warehouse double in size, 3500 square feet, right on the water with views of the San Francisco Bay. It was a beautiful location and very inspiring. We got so packed in that warehouse that when we needed to produce more products, we had to put our pallets of packaging into our parking spots to free up room on the manufacturing floor. If it was raining, we had to close manufacturing for the day.
In 2007, we knew we needed a larger space and moved back to Oakland, CA. This time to an industrial-sized warehouse. We signed a ten-year lease, only to break it in three years when we found our longer-term home. We found many sub-tenants to take the space, however, the landlord would not approve it. The landlord ironically turned out to be the neighbor to Richard’s parents and they sued when we moved out. It was challenging to be sued for breaking a lease by a landlord that happened to be Richard’s parents’ neighbor. The same neighbor that Richard would water their plants and feed their cats while they traveled for vacation. We persevered and eventually worked out a deal and moved on.
100% PURE now operates out Purity Park, an 8-acre, solar-powered facility in the heart of Silicon Valley - San Jose, California. We put our efforts into enhancing our beauty bakery. The space where I work on our R&D and hand-crafted manufacturing. After all, 100% PURE is about providing the purest products and healthiest cruelty-free products for all people. We helped create the natural and clean categories in beauty and accelerated their innovation. Right now is our biggest challenge as we outsourced a function that we did in-house from day one. Our fulfillment. We had a meltdown on this move. We have all of our staff dedicated to improving their operations and to our customer experience. Now we have some strategic decisions to make. Do we continue to try to work with Rocket Shippers to improve them? Do we start our fulfillment again? Do we move to a more experienced fulfillment partner? Will they care as much about our customers as we do?
I do take responsibility as I decided to partner with them, but is it wise to continue to work with a partner that pushes blame back on you when their obligations are not being met? To date, we have not received any apology from our fulfillment partner, only blame for sending them too much inventory, yet I am so very sorry to all my fans and customers we have let down due to this situation. We will persevere and improve from here. This is the lesson from all of our challenges, you must persevere and keep improving. Stay tuned.
- Tags: January-2023
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The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.