ES: BAGGU began as a small family business in 2007, when my mom and I couldn’t find a reusable tote bag that was both aesthetically pleasing and durable. So we decided to make the bag we envisioned ourselves; the business grew organically from there. My mom and I worked out of her garage. We even enlisted the help of my younger brother to pack and ship the first orders. I ran the business, managed production and administration, took care of baggu.com, and handled all wholesale requests—all on my own. I knew our process wasn’t scalable, and we needed to find the right team and process to help us grow as a brand.
EV: I then joined to help with design and branding right when the company was starting to become a real business in a competitive market.
ES: Ellen is my childhood best friend who’s now our creative director. Having her join the team was a huge step towards growing our brand.
ES: We quickly realized that were unable to keep up with all the moving parts of day-to-day operations. We had a fast-growing retail business and way more going on than our pen-and-paper project management system could handle.
EV: I can still remember when were just a team of 8—we had email, a Google Calendar printout tacked to the wall, and a production schedule in the form of a spreadsheet with columns for projects and dates. No doubt, things were falling through the cracks.
ES: As our team and sales grew, we knew we needed a better task management system, one that would replace a lot of imperfect systems we glued together. My husband pointed me towards Asana and said ‘You need to try this out!’
EV: Asana enabled us to keep track of everything we were doing and break up our projects into smaller, actionable tasks. It helped us get things done from the get-go! A lot gets lost in email. With Asana, things happen.
Transitioning from making requests via email to making them in Asana quickly became second nature. Now when we assign tasks to create sketches or research design inspiration, I feel confident that people can follow through. Long projects, like creating our Fall Catalog or coordinating the launch of a brand new BAGGU product line, suddenly became easier.
ES: Opening up a San Francisco office was a pretty significant shift for our company. Design and Operations moved west, while Sales stayed in New York.
EV: We really ramped up our Asana usage when our office became bi-coastal. As a result of being in different offices, even more of our conversations moved to Asana. Now toggling between Asana and our work is really, really natural.
ES: Asana became indispensable. Communication flowed freely through Asana—the sales team knew what was in the pipeline from design, and everyone managed to stay in sync, despite the distance and time difference.
EV: Asana has always been able to grow and evolve with us. My teammates keep discovering really innovative ways to to work more efficiently with Asana.
ES: For example, Amy, our product manager in New York, plans the whole BAGGU production schedule in Asana. It’s magic!
AS: We’re still a small team but there’s a lot that needs to be communicated across offices and time zones. Using our manufacturing timelines, I help coordinate dates and deadlines for product development and design materials with the Creative offices in San Francisco, and communicate those production plans and projects with our Sales offices in NYC. Asana reduces the amount of email I need to send—I can just add people as task Followers!
ES: We spent a lot of time in the beginning, back when we were just in New York, thinking about how we wanted to grow the company. With a small team, you have to be strategic about what you take on. I make a point to stop and think about what type of people and tools we need to make our goals happen, and Asana is one of those tools.
AS: We’re now able to accomplish more than you’d expect with 21 people. Thanks to Asana, our communication is streamlined. We’re dealing with a ton of retailers and partners. We’re in over 1,000 stores, have distributors in 12 different countries. Our goal is to continue producing good, quality products and be able to take great care of our customers.
ES: We’re a small team, but we do more than you might expect! We’re able to compete in a competitive retail market against larger players. Asana has helped our team grow and continue to deliver on products that our customers love and use everyday.
Using Asana wall-to-wall has been crucial in helping Hack Reactor scale. As Hack Reactor CEO Tony Phillips puts it, “We’ve cut our operations costs in half because we’re able to execute more efficiently with the processes we’ve set up in Asana.” And as costs go down, the quality class experience—and the post graduation experience— goes up. Graduates from Hack Reactor are hired at a 98% rate.
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