Mia Galison started eeBoo, a boutique, woman-owned toy manufacturer that specializes in useful, beautiful and well-made educational games, puzzles and gifts over two decades ago.
With three children under the age of three years, she wanted to create a new paradigm for what it meant to be a working mother. Starting with an office in her basement, she managed product development, sales and production, while embracing the noise, chaos and parenting as part of her brand.
By the beginning of last year, she and her team had grown her Manhattan-based business into a global company with over $7M in revenue, selling mainly through specialty, gift and targeted Box stories – 3,800 to be exact. Slow and steady growth, aligned with her initial mission of woman-owned, mother run and sustainably sourced.
“I learned SO much with C200, but knew that I needed to communicate what I was learning back to my staff. Get them more involved.”
The Right Leadership
Like many small, entrepreneurial businesses, her processes and systems were informal and her team was energetic and hard-working. Without a lot of experience and formal training, however, their execution (and profitability) was suffering as a result. While she had toyed with (no pun intended) the idea of direct to consumer, she was reluctant to pursue it.
“I joined a women’s President’s group in New York a few years ago. They recommended the C200 Protégé Program (a woman’s mentoring program for companies looking to reach $20M in revenue). But that was only four meetings and it was the only business education that I had ever had. But the program did help us to start implementing Scaling Up as an operating system which was a very good start.”
She pauses for a minute, thinking back.
“I learned SO much with C200, but knew that I needed to communicate what I was learning back to my staff. Get them more involved. I needed someone to help me practically in my business and work with my team. A more hands-on and customized approach if I wanted to achieve my revenue goals.”
So she reached out in late 2019 and brought us on board to assist her to “up her game” in early 2020.
The Right Operating System
Perfect timing! And a perfect storm. Given eeBoo’s location, they were at the epicenter of the pandemic and one of the first to go into lockdown in March of last year. The world changed overnight. But Mia courageously decided to go full steam ahead implementing the Scaling Up operating system.
She and her team started holding Virtual Weekly Team meetings with us to learn the Operating system, rapidly developing a working One Page Strategic Plan. Given the lockdowns, despite her initial reluctance, they knew they needed implement a direct-to-consumer business model. And they did in less than 90 days including working with her warehouses to manage inventory, updating the website and reinforcing the customer service organization.
Using the Scaling Up operating system and our guidance kept her and her team focused and aligned in the midst of rapidly changing conditions. They developed scorecards and Management Accountability Plans to assist with accountability. Weekly Tactical Meetings – a critical step for good Execution – and a more robust Daily Huddle were implemented, with the team and Mia learning Zoom in the process. It was a LOT of work – but they did it – and persevered.
The result? She and her team successfully launched a whole new D to C Business channel, leveraging the opportunity presented by the pandemic and the lockdowns. Jigsaw puzzles proved to be VERY popular 😊
The business grew by over 80% with enviable margins. More importantly, they nurtured their growing customer fan base – and enhanced their reputation for being a very high quality, sustainably focused company that delivered for their customers.
“We were riding an enormous wave of good fortune with the ‘COVID bump’, and we knew it. To make sure we didn’t crash, I knew we needed someone extremely strong in developing big money markets and managing a multitude of channels.”
The Right Talent
Recognizing the need to have the right A-Player leaders on her team to sustain what they had created, Mia hired two very experienced Senior Level Leaders and brought them on board in the Fall of 2020.
“I was trying to run a business that was growing exponentially. We had good people but not ones with experience and the skills to manage a larger company. I was really at a confluence of realizing that we were going to crash into an iceberg with our rapid growth and needed to put in the right infrastructure rapidly to support the growth.”
She pauses then adds with a smile. “I knew Sam, a highly experienced and talented COO / CFO from my previous business, was available. So I reached out last August and he came on board right away. I’m not sure how we would have done it without him. It is such a critical position. He was a god-send.”
What about the second critical position, her Director of Sales?
“We were riding an enormous wave of good fortune with the ‘COVID bump’, and we knew it. To make sure we didn’t crash, I knew we needed someone extremely strong in developing big money markets and managing a multitude of channels. So we brought Amy on last Fall and again, she’s been an amazing addition to the team. I’ve already learned so much from her. Definitely another timely and critical decision to ensure that we maintain what we’ve created and have the horsepower to go forward.”
eeBoo expanded last year into almost 1,000 new stores – and – have gone from a handful of users in the Direct to Consumer arena to over 22,000 world-wide.
With much needed support added to their new Direct to Consumer customers and by reinforcing their existing business model with standardized processes, Mia and her team are extremely well positioned for continuing to grow in 2021. And, have put the foundation in place to take the company to $20m in the next three years.
“I’m so excited and energized,” she shares with a smile. “And I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for us!”