Depending on how you look at it, 5 years can seem like a long time…
We tend to have a long term/strategic view and spent most of 2015 working on our business plan and exploring the market. We met The Superior Labor and Traveler’s Company (they’d just rebranded from Midori) in November 2015 in Japan before we’d even started our company.
We made our first sale on July 10th 2016 (a TSL Engineer Bag and pouch), but only officially opened for business on Monday 11th.
Opening in July (on a Monday!) probably wasn’t the best idea, but Charles had been building the website since April and we were raring to go. It took us 10 days to get our second sale, but it was a big one (for us) - 12 limited edition blue Traveler’s Notebooks. We felt cautiously optimistic.
We only had 250 products in our catalogue in the beginning, today there are close to 2000!
2016 was spent slowly building visibility, finding suppliers and acquiring our first customers, a surprisingly large number of whom still place orders on a regular basis, 5 years later! We’ve always tried to maintain a good relationship with customers and try to communicate as much as possible. These positive relationships really help us stay motivated when things get tough!
It was a stressful year, we’d invested heavily in inventory and cash was tight. The people we met often said they thought we were crazy to start this business, they didn’t expect Nomado Store to survive 2016, let alone 5 years!
In 2017, we focused on adding new brands to the store, building visibility and leveraging sales. We were working 7/7 and didn’t have much time to think about the future. Our TSL business started to look very promising and we were gaining increased recognition as a Traveler’s Company specialist reseller.
Both these brands continue to play a major role in our business. From the beginning we’ve tried to carry the largest range of TSL products outside Japan and have also worked hard to identify future bestsellers in their new or past collections. We were the first outside Japan to sell the Personal Organizer, Traveler’s Purse, Traveler’s Note Cover, Re-use Notebook Cover and many more popular TSL designs.
2018 was a pivotal year, we designed and launched our first collaboration products with High Meadows (no longer in business, unfortunately) and the Superior Labor (Engineer Bag Compact, Paint Shoulder Bag large). These were milestone projects for us, they relied on customer input, creativity and merging them with the suppliers’ values and style.
Customers reacted very favourably to this new approach and the Engineer Bag Compact is still one of our absolute bestsellers. TSL have always supported us on these projects and they will always have our gratitude for this.
We rebuilt our website in 2019 and added much needed automation for tax free shopping to support our non-E.U. customers, another milestone!
Collaborations were our main focus in 2019, we developed the Writer’s Organiser, Higonokami and Pen Case and Group Bag with TSL, the Small Organizer with .Urukust and the Yubokumin planner and TN insert with Nanala Design. These products boosted our company’s growth and by November 2019, we were starting to worry about how we were going to cope with the extra work in 2020.
We’d been running the store from home since the beginning and our (relatively) spacious house was starting to look like a warehouse (boxes EVERYWHERE). We needed space, staff and we were working hard on a strategic project (not directly related to Nomado Store) that would require substantial investments in time and budgets. 2020 was going to be a pivotal year…
Two days after our return from a trade show in Milan in February 2020, a month after launching the first Sashiko Bag, the COVID pandemic officially broke out in Europe. This marked the start of a truly bizarre year…
Our growth rate slowed down (Nomado continued to grow), shipping became even more complicated (from us to customers and from suppliers to us) and because of this we had to work even harder. We temporarily stopped looking for a suitable location for a new brick and mortar store and storage facility and extra staff. We also delayed our strategic project. It felt like walking into a tunnel with no visible exit…
Everything slowed down and this gave us more time to think strategically, work on product designs and try new approaches (our washi tape collection for example).
Thanks to to this, we were able spend time finding new premises for our inventory and to move forward on our collection of 5th anniversary products in 2021. These are products we decided to launch this year because we feel they are particularly relevant. Some of them may become part of our permanent assortment, others are limited edition only.
The Daruma Factory x Nomado Store collection was the first in March 2021, then the .Urukust x Nomado Store Pen Case in April and the TSL x Nomado Store Sashiko Bag Compact in June. We will be releasing a really cool collaboration product with Nanala design in July and a special limited edition Superior Labor x Nomado Store bag in August/September. Hopefully, there will be more to come before the end of the year!
These past 5 years have been a crazy journey. Like all journeys, we’ve had our share of happy memories, mistakes and misunderstandings, made new friends and shared new ideas. Opening Nomado Store in July 2016 is still the best thing we’ve ever done!
Thank you for travelling with us!
Charles & Nomad_ist