Hello there! How are you? Pull up a chair by the fire. Fancy a hot chocolate? It’s chilly out there, so get yourself warmed up for a nice, lovely little blog read.
December has crept up on us out of nowhere, which means two things: you’ve heard Mariah Carey at least 30 times, and it’s time for our yearly wipe! We’re going to go over everything we’ve done throughout the past 365-or-so days. Well, not everything, you’ll be reading for hours, and you don’t need to know about the time we ran out of milk in the office. Dark, dark times (literally, because we had no milk for coffee).
A lot has happened so please be patient while this blog writer pulls it all together into a convenient little panda parcel for you to feast your eyes on. So, grab a *insert festive dessert here* and a glass of *insert festive drink here* and have a jolly ol’ read!
We made the switch over to Shopify back in January to make your bamboo-buying shopping experience the best it can be.
Since the launch, not only does our website look *chef’s kiss*, but we’ve also hit some huge milestones. In May, we received our 10,000th order, in September we reached our 20,000th order, and most recently in December, we hit our 30,000th order!
Here’s to the next 30,000, so we can save more trees and carbon AND provide you lovely people with loo roll and other glorious products.
Regale us with your new retailers…
It was a BIG year for your favourite black and white buddy Colin, who found himself on the shelf at some huge retailers (online shelves, too!).
You can now find us in Waitrose, gracing the loo roll and tissue aisle with our panda presence. We’ve also dipped our bear-y toes into the same-day delivery domain; you can spot us on Weezy, Getir, Jiffy and Gorillas. So, if you’re low on bamboo goodness, you can get it within the hour. No more panic-inducing trips to the shops.
We’re also on Ocado and Milk and More, so you can pop us in your virtual basket alongside your other bits of shopping, like milk and bread (mainly chocolate), to arrive at your door. Convenient, no?
Our growth doesn’t stop there. Just like bamboo, it just keeps on going until it’s made into eco loo roll. Our expansion into the USA continues, in December we launched with KeHE, a national wholesale organic distributor.
We’ve also launched in Hannaford supermarkets, with 183 stores spanning across the USA.
Can we crack America? Probably.
All around the world
We went even more multi-lingual this year by launching in some new European locations – can EU believe it? We landed in Douglas, a huge department store based in Italy, online and in-store, so keep your eye out if you visit or you’re browsing online in Italian mode.
We also launched in Lyreco France, Rossman Poland, Rossman Hungary, and Spar in Qatar (which is very fun to say).
Other new countries we now ship to include Australia, Israel and Iceland. Phew, it’s been a BIG year.
Brand new pandas
We had some NEW and noteworthy people join us this year – most newly and noteworthy are Giles Brook and Sophie More.
Giles was the CEO at Vita Coco (delicious coconut water buddies of ours) and worked on the senior management team at innocent (delicious smoothie buddies of ours). He’s here to help us grow thanks to his vast experience and amazing track record.
Sophie has previously worked at both Red Bull and BrewDog, but kept up the animal-themed job trend by making the switch to pandas. She’s offering us awesome marketing insight following years of brand building and growth strategies.
That means our global team has grown to 34 – not bad for a company that started in 2016 from our co-founders’ kitchen, eh?
A round of a-paws to OURSELVES, because we’ve been winning accolades and awards like there’s no tomorrow (there won’t be if we keep using trees for loo roll).
Just a few to show you how AMAZING we are:
- 13th in the Startups 100 list
- Sunday Times Fast Track Company to Watch
- Ocado Rising Star Award (Best Plant Based Product)
- LDC top 50 most ambitious companies
Our CEO and chief cheeky panda Julie Chen also won MSDUK’s Businesswoman of the Year award, which is an incredible personal achievement.
Way back in the summer, we opened up the chance to invest in us, and the response was incredible. We managed to raise a mammoth £3.7m in growth capital via Seedrs, which is a wild amount of $$$.
That’s 4,000 direct shareholders who have directly invested in us, because they believe that we can continue to grow and do a world of good.
And they’re correct.
Upping our sustainability efforts
To date, dear reader, we’ve achieved the following:
- 7,900 tons of carbon saved
- Offset 10,700 tons of carbon
- 300,000 trees saved
- £55,800 donated to the World Land Trust
We’re constantly striving to improve our eco credentials, and 2021 was no different, despite the hardship we’ve all had to face.
Our shiny new Sustainability Officer Eleanor Turner will be keeping us on track with our green goals and making sure everything is up to date and Earth-friendly. Keep your peepers peeled in 2022 for our sustainability report.
Perfect panda partnerships
We had fun AND made some new friends on the way this year. Feeling like the popular kids at school with all these cool new buddies.
We established and built brand new partnerships with amazing organisations and brands, such as Edinburgh Zoo (where we sponsor the Panda Cam), St. Johnstone Football Club, Faber and many other B Corp brands.
We’ve also maintained and developed our relationships with our current Earth, Ocean and People charity partners – World Land Trust, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Toilet Twinning – raising money for them and supporting them however we can.
And that’s pretty much everything! If we wrote more we’d be here forever, so this is just the main stuff. You can scroll through our social media if you’d like to go more in-depth, too.
2021 has been a year for tremendous growth for The Cheeky Panda, we’ve loved having you along for the ride, so thank you for joining us.
Here’s to an incredible new year - we’re set to make 2022 the year of bamboo (again).
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Team Cheeky Panda x