We are incredibly proud to announce our one year anniversary! This past year has been filled with incredible milestones for us – launching our business, our dream. Hosting our first ever clients. Building close to 3,000 followers on Instagram. Planning an amazing mommy blogger event. Featured on BlogTO. Going viral on Tiktok. Creating lasting relationships with partners and sponsors. But these accomplishments are not without the tough times…
To say that this past year has been hard is an understatement! The struggles, the learning and everything in between kept us wondering whether we would survive this past year. As young female entrepreneurs, we had put everything on the table. We were all in. It was mid-March 2020. Construction was nearing its end. Employees had been hired. Marketing was underway for our grand opening on April 4th, 2020. It had been a long journey to get here, but we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. But sometimes, life doesn’t play nice.
On March 23rd, 2020 the Ford government announced the shut down of all non-essential business for a duration of 14 days. No one knew at the time that the 14 days would become 3 months. It was a hard 3 months. Stopped even before we had started. We stayed positive; making amendments to the space and adding protocols for a safe re-opening. We added an additional handwashing station, added signage and developed protocols waiting for the green light.
July 4th, 2020 - we finally opened our doors!! After our first weekend of opening, we only had 5 appointments. 5!!! Most of them were close friends. I remember going home worried. Was this even going to work? How are we to make rent? Pay our maintenance cost? Pay our staff? The thoughts were constantly on our minds - it was looking very bleak.
All of a sudden, it happened. We were featured on BlogTO. I remember doing an interview with them in April (3 months ago) but I never expected anything to come out of it. Everything changed. The phone was buzzing, and the bookings started. Website traffic was up 1000% overnight. The momentum kept building all summer.
20% of new businesses fail in the first year of operations and 60 % fail within the first 3 years. These were statistics before COVID! And with COVID, the fear was evermore real. As school started and the numbers rose, we knew the second wave was upcoming. The phone was silent
and bookings dropped again. Were we destined to
be another statistic?
The government had started various programs to help businesses survive these hardest of times. We started applying for government programs and we got rejected one after the next. To get any kind of support from the government, a business needed to show and quantify the impact of COVID. We realized that the government had forgotten about businesses like ours, businesses that were under construction or just about to open as COVID hit. We had a signed and committed to a lease, and hundred of thousands in construction costs prior to March 2020. Not good enough! Rent subsidy? No! Wage Subsidy? Nope! Canada United Grant? Nope! We wrote letters to politicians, the Ford Government, the Minister of Small Businesses - but of course, there was no help. Our cash dwindled as our worries grew.
We tried to control the controllable. Worked hard and tried to promote ourselves through Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok. Our followers on Instagram grew to almost 3000. The support some of our clients provided us will be something we are forever thankful for. I remember going home some days so happy from the people I met that day. Some even left behind their business cards for us to reach out to them for support. It was incredible. From the bottom of our hearts, we are thankful to each and every one of you. The support each of you offered has been the fuel that has kept us going. Even something as simple as a favourable review or a good word to a friend goes a long way.
It is also important to acknowledge some of our wins over the year. Getting 122, Five-star Google Reviews means a lot to us. For a small business, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. We had two videos go viral on Tiktok; with one video even accumulating 8.7M views. Our Baby Blogger Event was a huge success. We cannot thank the bloggers and sponsors enough for making the event successful. (We are looking forward to hosting another one in the fall of this year)
COVID has also made us innovate and re-envision our business plan. We decided to expand our services to kids up to 12 years old and get a big tub. It was the older kids who were pushing the parents to keep coming back. We also decided to begin offering adult massage for those parents who need a relaxing break!
The year has been challenging, but beautiful and rewarding at the same time. It forced us to become even more resilient, focus on our clients and making their experience amazing, and continue to innovate. We continue to focus on how we make our experience unique and grow our Snuggles family day by day.
As we look forward to what the future holds for us, we know it will continue to be a challenge as we try to move past the pandemic and focus on the new normal. Surviving the first year was hard and surviving it during the pandemic made it 10x harder. We have learned a great deal over the past year but most importantly have met some amazing people along this journey of entrepreneurship. Most importantly, thank you to all our little clients who have stolen our hearts. We are so happy to have had the opportunity to serve you, and we hope and pray we can continue to do so!