Happy 2021, Nudge fans! If you're reading this, I am confident that you are relieved to have 2020 in your rear-view mirror (although 2021 hasn't exactly been a picnic, either [I hope you bought some GameStop stock]), but I wanted to give something of a year in review of our operation and some really exciting things to come in 2021.
2020 was pretty good for us, all things considered. I was hired as the company's first full-time employee, and we added another part-time employee to help us manage the growth (and probably one or two more to come in 2021 if things go according to plan!). We were on an absolute torrid pace of growth going into March Madness; almost a dozen of our schools were set to make a deep run in the basketball tournament and our sales were picking up to reflect that, but unfortunately there was no March Madness so things quieted down.
Once we were asked to work from home, we rolled up our sleeves and really saw the benefits of a (mostly) consumer facing and primarily e-commerce business. Flexibility, ability to make quick decisions, offer new products and maintain a strong voice with our customers allowed us to continue to grow despite not having anyone in an actual office (shoutout to our friends at Fabricated Customs for still printing our shirts with excellent quality and doing it safely). It was right around the time of the lockdown when we offered our East Lansing shirt and our new cornhole decals to our fans and got lots of positive feedback.
We also introduced the Relentless t-shirt, the Paul Bunyan trophy t-shirt, a variety of youth products, a classic MSU wordmark t-shirt, and Gruff and Spartan helmet hoodies in a variety of colors as well as growing our footprint nationally.
While Michigan State is and more than likely always will be the flagship university in our licensing department, we saw huge gains with Texas State, West Point, Grand Valley, and Houston as well as California Berkeley (which makes me incredibly pleased because we do not yet have an apparel license with them although we are working on it).
Our new universities that arrived in 2020:
- Cleveland State University
- Old Dominion University
- Saginaw Valley State University
- US Naval Academy
We ended the year with an even 30 universities, making our collection even more robust and multiplying our catalog to the point where we had to rent out another suite in our building (we have 4 out of the 7 on the ground floor now) to accommodate our growing operation.
While the growth was extremely encouraging, it was also very linear. New universities brought new decals, t-shirts, and sweatshirts - in 2021, our goal is to offer a much more diversified catalog, including women's cut t-shirts, embroidery, maybe some tank tops, maybe some shorts or sweatpants, maybe some polo shirts, and maybe some more merchandise that isn't a car decal. We also have plans to get our customers and our fans involved a lot more with giveaways and interactions, because at the end of the day, we wouldn't be here if weren't for all of you. I can pat myself and our team on the back as much as I want, but we all know it isn't possible without fans who care about our products as much as you do, so thank you sincerely from all of us at Nudge Printing.
Here's to an exciting 2021! What do you want to see from us in the new year? It can be anything from designs to products to new universities to more content on social media behind the scenes. You name it!