update, Winnipeg -

3 years and still bulging

Happy Anniversary to us!

Hi, everyone. My name is Jeremy. I, along with my husband, Charlie, run this silly little company that you have generously supported over the past three years. These posts generally aren't written in first-person but today we're personally writing to thank you for your love.

It was April 3, 2019, when Happy Bulge launched at Phoenix Pride. We were a travelling Pride booth: One city one weekend, another city the next. After Phoenix we set up in my hometown of Winnipeg, then it was San Francisco, then it was Calgary, finally ending in Palm Springs. After those five cities, we went back to the drawing board and had ambitious plans for 2020. Then, well, you know what happened that year.

We had pre-ordered boxes of inventory arriving every few weeks. They began to stack up. With the world shutting down, our shipments kept arriving. Then, we did what we hadn't planned: We went online. In August 2020, we put a focus on social media and an e-commerce store. In a little over two years, we had 2,000 orders.

Along the way we got in trouble many, many times from Facebook and Instagram, and famously fought them and won. We are always surprised how many of you love the products so much that you send pictures and videos of the envelopes when your orders arrive! True, the two of us aren't on the front lines of your messages and emails every day but we keep a close eye on the feedback you send. Together, not one email or online comment gets past us. We might not see it right away, but it makes its way to us. And we love it -- the good and the bad. We're learning as we go. More importantly, we're listening all the time.

Throughout the three years we leaned on the staff of our broadcast and publishing parent company. Over time, we've been able to shift to have dedicated employees for Happy Bulge. Last July, thanks to my Brazilian husband's love of coffee, we launched Buff Boy Brewing Co. in West Hollywood.

This morning, in a video chat meeting with both teams, Charlie and I were excited to celebrate Happy Bulge's third anniversary and gift them a special bonus as a thank you. These companies aren't million-dollar corporations but $1,000 bonuses for people is pretty significant for small businesses. Before you question why I'm telling you how much we gave them, let me tell you how our guys brought me to tears.

After the excitement of the bonus announcement calmed down, we told both teams that all of the sales from Happy Bulge and Buff Boy this weekend will be donated to Ukraine relief efforts. Not the profits, every penny from every sale. That means, if you spend $40, that $40 is going to charity. (Think of it as you making a donation and getting a free swimsuit, for example.) Moreover, the two of us will personally match the final amount -- meaning your $40 "donation" actually is $80 for the people of Ukraine, the country where my grandparents are from.

One of the Buff guys offered to donate his bonus to the initiative. Then another made the same offer. Then another. Then the Bulge team generously made the same gesture. Everybody refused the bonus and is giving it to charity. That means -- and my eyes are watering as I type this -- we're already donating $12,000 to Ukraine relief... and that's before this blog was even posted.

We made business decisions on the fly and sometimes got things wrong. Nearly everybody -- yes, nearly everybody who reaches out -- has had a positive experience with us. Like I said, your feedback always finds its way to the guys in charge. We hear you. And we definitely see you! (Can we talk about those selfies you guys send?!)

Thank you for following, for shopping, for commenting, for subscribing, for "liking", for criticizing, for complaining. The fact you make an effort or put any energy and attention to our projects means something. It truly does.

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