Reflections on 2023
I was standing behind the block of lane 3 with a stopwatch in my hand. It was February 13th, the day of the state championship swim meet for my son and his swim team. During a break in the action, I checked my phone, clicked on the Amazon app, and there is was: a picture of a Swivel Bottle with an Add to Cart button next to it. Just like that, after a 4 year journey, we were open for business! A few days prior I had sent in a few boxes of brand new Swivel Bottles via UPS to Amazon, quite convinced that it would be at least 2 weeks before they would receive and process the product and then send an email to let me know they were ready when I was. To my amazement, I didn’t have to wait long, and this thing we had been dreaming of was all of the sudden a reality.
It’s really just me, Thys. I came up with this idea and decided to turn it into a company. You’ll notice, however, that I often use “we” when I speak of or promote Swivel Bottle. The reason is simple. Inventing a product and launching a business is nearly impossible to do on your own. I’ve had the privilege of working with a so many amazing people who are way smarter than I am to make this venture possible. That list is long, but at the top of the list are Chris and Sarah from Touchstone 3D, a design and product launch company based in Cary, NC. On a more personal note, my wife (and best friend), my boys, my parents, my sister, and dear friends have been overwhelmingly supportive. They keep me going and cheer me on. Swivel Bottle is absolutely a TEAM effort.
This first year was so full. For one thing it was full of learning opportunities. How to navigate e-commerce, build out a website, keep the books, build a brand, find new partners, grow sales, create marketing campaigns. And the list goes on. We had a few doors slammed in our face this year, but overwhelmingly the response to Swivel Bottle has been super positive and encouraging. It’s obvious we have something here. Swivel Bottle meets a need and solves a problem. There is nothing like it on the market and the responses we get, especially in person at expos and at running events have been so fun to see. People of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds clearly see the value in Swivel Bottle. To receive this type of validation is deeply motivating and fuels the drive to keep going, and never stop!
My dear friend and Executive Director of First Bourn, Jen O’Keefe, reminded me over coffee a few months ago that growing a business is like running marathon. It was such a perfect analogy and I’ve been reminding myself of that often. The initial excitement and boundless energy of standing behind the start line and then running your first mile fades away and evolves into a state of mind I refer to as “settling in.” Swivel Bottle is still very much in the early miles of this race. We have so many more miles (and milestones) to go. We must remain patient, diligent, aware, and hyper focused on executing to the best of our abilities. It won’t be easy, but that is the entire point. Embracing this challenge is what success ultimately hinges on.
So THANK YOU! Thank you to my customers, my supporters, my partners, and even my detractors. This has been an amazing year and I cannot wait to see what 2024 has in store for us.
Happy Holidays, and don’t forget to grab a workout. You deserve it!