So, what were you doing 10 years ago? We were filling our very first orders for Holy Heroes. The first order we received, packed, and shipped was on Nov 5, 2007.
Therese found that picture of all of the kids at that time (we were trying to get a Christmas card picture; no, that picture was not selected for the card that year–we ended up stuffing everyone into their coats and trudging outside to get a better one).
It was very much a family business then:
- When Clara would decide it was time to fill the orders in our garage, all the kids would rush out to help her. She would assign each child just one product, reading the order out loud and the proper child would run over with a CD or coloring book to pile on the table. Then the proper envelope would have to be chosen and someone would be assigned to cut out the address and tape it onto the envelope and put it in a box with all the other orders.
- The next day, Mom would stand in line at the Post Office with the littlest ones in tow (everyone had a “buddy” and had to hold hands with that buddy, while the buddy of Caroline in the stroller held onto the stroller). Each package was weighed individually, one at a time, then the total put onto a credit card.
- Finally, I bought a laser printer for too-much-money to more quickly print out packing slips…onto labels with sticky stuff on the back…and that printer is still in service!
Then: a year later we decided to do a few videos for YouTube to teach about Advent, like why the priest wears purple and what the Advent Wreath is all about and who Saint Lucy was… Just a few that we would post, maybe 2 or 3 a week.
But Mom and the kids came up with a LOT of topics to address…and they began shooting so many videos (in the bedroom that is now Trey’s) that it became our first-ever Advent Adventure with a new webpage posted every day except Sunday beginning the day before Advent until Christmas Eve.
(NOTE: We hope you join us this year for our 10th Annual Advent Adventure, and tell your friends to register, too–it is still FREE online and a labor of love from our family to yours. We’ll be offering some celebratory surprises throughout, starting with the 10% off coupon code that can be used over & over again from now until Dec 24th–it’s inside the 2017 Advent Adventure Activity book, on the Advent & Christmas Season calendar in the middle of the book).
Then, at the end of that first Advent Adventure, during the “Merry Christmas!” video…the kids started saying, “See you in Lent!” And we were very happy to have invested in that laser printer…and very happy that Margaret wanted to take over creating videos!
Anna has been filing things in our new office (our 3rd since leaving the garage), and she found the day-by-day statistics of how Advent Adventure registrations were progressing that first year. On Nov 13, 2008, there were 422 families registered. Last year we were about 100 times that–and now we have entire Catholic schools taking part, not just families at home!
Some statistics that we’ve dug up, as best we could:
- First order placed was on November 5, 2007
- Number of products we had when we first opened: 1 coloring book and 11 rosary and Glory Stories audio CDs
- Number of families & classes that have participated in our free Advent Adventure of the years–about 100,000!
- Number of items that the Holy Heroes Adventure Guides have packaged and shipped since that 1st order: 196,012
- Number of free videos the Adventure Guides have made for our weekly Sunday MassPrep & the FOUR Holy Heroes Adventures (Advent, Lent, Spiritual Adoption, Summer Faith): well over 600
- Number of free downloadable activity sheets in the past 10 years: over 900 pages!
Anna and Trey are actually in the office right now before school starts for the day, handling some customer calls, putting together Father Leopold lego boxes, scripting the “What’s New in Advent Adventure?” video (with Margaret off to college, Therese is now our videographer), inventorying the new Shining Light dolls and Prayer Pillowcases and Picture Bibles, and giving me their reviews & ideas on 3 different new products that are “soon-to-be-announced” once we have solid release dates determined.
Here’s what everyone looks like now (this was the Christmas present they gave us last year):
We hope you tell your friends and family and parish about us and encourage them to join our 10th Annual Advent Adventure and purchase our products for their Advent needs and Christmas gifts this year. Those sales are what enable us to continue to keep our “Adventures” and other services free-of-charge, as well as funding the development of new products like our Inside the Sacraments DVDs, our Fatima Family Handbook–and other new stuff!
May God richly bless you!