If you’re an existing customer, you know exactly what I mean when I say, “Honey, I need a Miracle.” Our Honey Miracle Hair Mask is tied with our Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer for the top spot of best-selling product. When I came up with the idea for our Honey Miracle Hair Mask, I had no idea it would be so insanely popular. YouTube Vlogger, Chary Jay has called it her favorite deep conditioner, and people regularly post to Instagram about how this product is literally the holy grail of natural hair care products. The positive reception, however, has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because it’s great to have loyal customers fall in love with this amazing product. A curse, because its like, wait we still make this product by hand in 30 lb batches. This is borderline insane considering that our products that are made in the factory are made in 500 gallon (4,000 lb) batches. So, I think you can see why we’re a little nuts!
CEO turned Production Manager
At tgin, we give new meaning to the word “lean startup.” Basically, our entire production department is run by just two people. That means they are responsible for cranking out thousands of shea butters, argan oils, soaps, and our best-selling Honey Miracle Hair Mask on a monthly basis. Oh, did I mention that they have to ship out all of your orders in the morning?
Well, when we got the Target order, my team said “Boss Lady, we got this.” Ordinarily, I would believe them, but for this order I was like “ya’ll must be smoking that crystal.” Given the size of the order and the tight deadline we were working under, we had to bring in a team of temps to support my production team to help with bottling, labeling, and boxing up the product. Even I rolled up my sleeves and got in there and helped out with labeling and sealing boxes. Overnight, I went from CEO to Production Manager, which meant I was cracking that whip in an effort to get 2,000 units cranked out, boxed and labeled each day. Let, me tell you, pushing out 2,000 units a day is a major feat when you’re using a handheld Oster Mixer. Those little mixers are intended for that little batch of brownies you make 4 times a year not for running on high 6-8 hours a day.
Ten thousand Jars. Three Little Mixers.
Working on this order showed me just how hard production is. When I say production is hard, I mean it’s HARD. Being on your feet all day long, mixing products by hand for hours on end, and putting labels on 10,000 jars is more than a notion. I have always had major respect for my Production team, but the time and effort that goes into making thousands of jars of product by HAND is enough to make you want to hang up your apron, and tell BOSS LADY where she can shove her mixer. It’s funny, because my lawyer friends, who I love to death, would call and offer to come help out. As usual, I was like don’t bother. You wouldn’t last an hour over here putting labels on jars before you needed to take a break and run to Starbucks for a skinny green tea latte. 🙂
As Production Manager and CEO, my job was to QC every single product. This was our first big order, and I couldn’t afford for there to be any mistakes. If this order wasn’t right or if it was delivered late, we could suffer a major financial setback. As a result, I made it a point to literally touch every product that was made and seal every single box that went onto the final pallet.
If the product felt too light, I made the team add more. If a label was on crooked, it had to be reapplied. If a label contained an air bubble, it had to be re-adjusted. If the ink on the label, was off, scrap it. If there was grease or any kind of stain on a label, the product needed to be wiped down before it was boxed.
I wasn’t playing. My name and our reputation was on the line.
Crooked Labels. No Beuno.
Greasy Label. No Bueno.
Defective Label. No Beuno.
Well after 7 long hard days, we finally finished the job. When you’re done, all you literally want to do is sleep. The great thing was that the order was due before Christmas, so once we shipped the pallet off I could enjoy the holiday without thinking of Target for an entire month.
Yes, I inspected every single jar and closed every single box.
My name is Chris-Tia Donaldson and I’m a perfectionist and a control freak.
Final pallet wrapped and headed for Target Distribution Center
One happy (and tired) Production Manager
Remember, you can find us in select Target stores nationwide on March 1, 2015. If I can ask you for anything, (1) Pray for your girl; (2) if my shelf looks messy in Target for some reason, please straighten it up, so every slot is filled, and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can get it fixed; and (3) tell your friends and family that we are in TARGET and that we need them to buy just 1 thing before May 1.
Chris-Tia Donaldson is the owner of Thank God It’s Natural and the author of the best-selling book Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Natural Hair. You can follow her on Instagram @tginatural or on Facebook @thankgodimnatural. Tune in every Monday for the Target update until we launch nationwide in stores on March X, 2014.