“But in reality… TSHU is really small!”
Yes, it is. Since TSHU first came about, I can’t recall how many times we’ve heard these words. And what to say about the incredulous stares from people visiting our office and storage – aka a room filled with handkerchiefs, piles and rolls of fabric, a table, one chair, scissors and an ironing board.
Truth be told, it’s not that unusual! It’s the reality of many, many web startups. A beautiful website, great products, coupled with good media coverage… And appearances can be misleading! Add a video of a spacious storage room (someone else’s!) filled with packages and palettes and bingo – you’re the upcoming Amazon.
This erroneous perception can be exhilarating. In fact, a great number of entrepreneurs choose to hide the truth (sometimes a little, often a lot!), letting everyone think that things are exactly the way they seem. At that point, it’s difficult to reveal true sales numbers and hence keep your loyal clients updated about how the business is really growing.
With TSHU, Marion and I have chosen to be brutally honest about our reality. Are we more pure than others? No, not really. We’ve simply decided not to spend time and energy fighting transparency. Our loyal customers adopt our handkerchiefs, but also our story – and we want that story to be true, even if it means that people will realize we’re really quite small! So, since our very beginnings, we’ve been upfront with journalists about our sales figures.
On this note, we’ll be nearing 2,000 handkerchiefs sold since our launch in March 2014!
TSHU is indeed a small business led by Marion and I, a loving couple. In love with each other and with the handkerchiefs we offer. No, TSHU doesn’t generate enough profits to pay Marion, who’s in charge of daily operations.
Everything we earn is reinvested to better our products and service!
So how do we manage to make things work without being both committed full time to the project? First, the handkerchiefs are made by carefully selected sewing shops in Montréal. And, we’re surrounded by amazing professionals who could not be more competent and who have helped us tremendously in making our vision of TSHU a reality. To name only a few: our artistic director Olivier Valiquette, our photographer Jimmi Francoeur, our web strategist Jean-Philippe Duchesneau, our copywriter Jean-Sébastien Marcoux, our master-packager Pascale Poirier – and all the other precious TSHUpers who will know who they are.
Yes, we’re small and we sell “little hankies”. Today, we’re happy to share news, info and thoughts with you – whether you have already adopted our handkerchiefs or you just find us a little nuts and are enjoying reading our crazy stories. Here goes.
In June, we closed our first profitable quarter; not profitable by a lot, but profitable nevertheless – even after having made our donations to plant trees, as we promise to do. It will have taken us one year (and many mistakes!). For this second year of existence, we hope to double the number of handkerchief adoptions – and cities of new parents, too! It’s off to a good start: last week, we received an order from Israël. Israël?!! That made us realize that our TSHU handkerchiefs have travelled quite a bit already.
After doing a quick countdown, we came to the realization that our hankies have flown all the way across the world to some 120 cities in more than 15 different countries.
This makes us quite proud, but it’s also a great feeling to make our beloved city shine abroad. In fact, our handkerchiefs – in appearance so simple, need to go through the talented hands of 5 different experts before taking form – all located in a perimeter of 5km in Montreal. The textile industry here has lost many feathers but the expertise is still there and it’s an indescribable feeling to promote our local talent.
On another note, know that when you write to thank us for having brought an elegant solution to your rhinitis or your chronic watering eyes or even because you now feel naked without your TSHU – we read your stories and we smile. Why? Because these lovely handkerchiefs you’ve adopted, we’ve imagined them, created them and mailed them one by one all across the world, to you.
When we change your life – maybe even just a little bit – you change ours. And for that, we’re very grateful!
That’s it folks! You now know (almost) everything about TSHU. And, if ever you want to know more, don’t hesitate to email us!