Towards the end of 2019, Smilelove began to feel financially constrained. To continue operating our business and service our customers, we had to lay-off close to half of our staff. An immediate and unfortunate effect of the lay-off was the increase in response time to our customers. We remained optimistic, however, because January through March have historically been great sales months for us. We continued to push forward with the business while we simultaneously looked for investors. Ultimately we found some great investors and had planned to close their investment in late March or early April. Then, when the stock market crashed, and everything unfolded with the Covid-19 Pandemic, that investment fell through. At the same time, our sales dropped dramatically. By late March, we found ourselves in an even tighter spot, and we were forced to lay-off nearly all of our staff. We stopped taking new orders while we figured out what to do next. Unfortunately, we had many customers who had paid us, but who's orders we had not yet fulfilled. Also, we didn't have the staff on board to respond to customers' needs. We needed a solution to save the business and fulfill the outstanding orders, but how could we accept orders knowing that we may not be around to service them? Thankfully, one of our partners stepped up, and we're working on an agreement where his company will guarantee the service of any orders that come in during this period. In addition to his guarantee, we have made several fundamental changes to our business model, which we've outlined in this blog post. The best chance for Smilelove to be successful in the future, and successful in servicing all of our current orders, is for this new model to work. As each new order (which is guaranteed to be fulfilled by our partner) comes in, we'll also be able to fulfill at least one existing order.
We deeply regret that we (our team at Smilelove, and our customers) are in this position. It is far from ideal. We're grateful for the patience of all who are being impacted, while we make every possible effort to save our business and fulfill the commitments we've made.