I’d like to start by wishing you all a happy and healthy new year and I hope that 2022 is a year filled with adventure for you all.
Looking back, it’s safe to say that 2021 was a very unusual year for everyone. Whilst many of us hoped that everyday life might have started to get back to a bit of normality, 2021 still had plenty of challenges to throw at us all. However, what I was pleased about was that the past year has been a much better year for going camping and getting outdoors, and demand for OLPRO products has been so much higher than ever before. I’m glad to see so many of you were able to enjoy your OLPRO products in our video review of the year.
However, as many of you will know, 2021 was an incredibly challenging year for businesses in the outdoor industry to import products and fulfil pre-orders as efficiently as we’ve all come to expect in previous years. For external reasons that have been well publicised throughout the year, we struggled to get many of our most popular products back in stock throughout 2021 and at times we were having to get products individually flown over just to try and overcome disappointment wherever possible. But I’m incredibly proud that for the vast majority of our products, we’ve been able to overcome the challenges created by the global Covid pandemic, Brexit, the Suez Canal blockage, HGV lorry shortages, product container shortages and factory worker isolation issues. We’re now in a position where even more people are looking to go on an outdoor adventure during 2022 and we’ve got more stock than ever currently on its way to our warehouse.
The end of 2021, saw our tenth anniversary in business. I’m really pleased to say that OLPRO employed more staff than ever before to cater for the demand and growth of the business across a variety of departments. With twice as many employees as we had in 2019, we’ve been able to help thousands more people to enjoy a special outdoor adventure, especially during the busiest time of the year for the industry. We also relaunched our website to be bigger, better and faster for our customers. Our website now offers a faster checkout, increased optimisations to be more mobile friendly and gives a lot more detail on the sustainability initiatives we are so proud of with our ‘Sustainability Hub’.
We’ve been working incredibly hard throughout 2021, as we do every year, to make a difference and contribute to positive climate activity, and social responsibility. Last year we started our tree planting initiative to plant a tree for every OLPRO tent or awning sold on our website and we are delighted to be continuing that initiative in 2022. We’ve already planted a grand total of 3,862 trees which have made major impacts toward reforestation projects around the world. Our aim in 2022 is to contribute to the planting of 5,000 more trees. As a specialist outdoor brand, it’s incredibly important to us to be conscious of sustainability, which is why we are dedicated to promoting sustainable camping to our customers with insightful blogs and emails that can help our customers be more environmentally conscious and preserve the outdoors that we all love.
This was recognised at a number of business awards we won in 2021 and I’m proud to say that OLPRO won a variety of prestigious awards during 2021, such as the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade which we were awarded by the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire. We also saw OLPRO celebrated on the big screens of Times Square, USA, after we won the Big Commerce ‘#eCommStrong’ award for being a socially responsible business and took home several regional awards for our exporting.
Now, as we look to 2022, we’ve made more preparations to provide a level of customer service that is better than ever. We have more stock arriving than ever before, meaning that more people can get our products throughout the year and there’s less disappointment when products go out of stock. We’ve vastly improved our pre-order systems, so that products are only available for pre-order when the product is confirmed to be on the way from our international factories to our warehouse. We’ll also be moving into a new office and warehouse space in March, which will allow us to hold twice as many products and help us meet demand. I also can’t wait to launch a new range of backpack products early this year, I’m sure they will be loved by hikers, holiday lovers, adventurers, fitness fanatics, explorers and so many more.
We are as prepared and committed as ever to help make your adventures in 2022 the best ones you’ve ever had.