It is almost surreal to say so, but Vilunü is ONE!
2020 has made sure that we’ve had an interesting first year in business. While we celebrate Vilunü’s 1st anniversary, today seems like a good day to do a recap of the past year.
(FYI, this is a long read but we promise it has fun snippets here and there)
In December of 2019, we were fortunate enough to get the opportunity to stock at the Authentic Maldives outlet to be opened at Velana International Airport. After two months of stressfully overseeing our very first production timelines, we launched Vilunü as a brand, on January 9th 2020.
Today marks 1 year to the day our flagship scent Tangerine & Guava Leaf became available in the form of a reed diffuser.
We started off the second month on a high note! From the 1st of February, our reed diffusers were stocked at Island Bazaar, making them our first local stockist.
We have been grateful and humbled to be able to stock our reed diffusers at Island Bazaar who have warmly welcomed us into their amazing family of local brands and Artisans. Throughout our first year, Island Bazaar has been the epitome of support for us and have consistently celebrated our wins alongside us.
On 8th March, we decided to increase our stockists. In order to give customers more options on where to purchase our products, we started stocking with another well known local brand, Toddy.
On 14th March, we released our second product, the Tangerine & Guava leaf scented hand cream, a product so inexplicably linked to the inspiration behind the scent.
Then the looming threat of COVID reached Male’ and as with everyone, this upended a lot of our plans. But we decided to pivot and adapted to the situation.
All 3 of our stockists had to minimize their opening hours. During this time Island Bazaar featured us on their website, giving more of you the chance to have our diffusers delivered to your doorsteps.
We took the time to assess what was happening. We personally decided to stop our lab nights and work from our homes. We interacted with so many of you with what has been one of our most popular instagram stories, our plant quiz. The results of which probably had so many of you laughing at yourselves.
While in lockdown, we brainstormed, worked from home on research and began experimenting with new scents and products.
May was a more productive month for us. In the first week we started taking online orders for the Greater Male’ area, via social media and also introduced refill bottles for diffusers. This gave everyone the chance to bring in the island vibes of our Tangerine & Guava Leaf scent, into their homes while in lockdown.
During this period, we also noticed many of you sending gifts to your loved ones, and we soon introduced the option to upgrade to a gift box through us.
We are incredibly grateful to each and every one of you who took a chance on us and made a purchase during what were very uncertain months.
Special shoutout to the team at Redbox who successfully delivered our products safely to you.
On 20th May, we launched our 2nd scent Jasmine and Cinnamon in the form of a reed diffuser. Packed as a limited edition gift box, we launched the scent in collaboration with Boonbox, a local gifting company.
While we worked on all this, we had been building up our online store and on 22nd May, we launched our online store with our very first Eid Sale. This quickly became a way for people to send Eid gifts to their loved ones, while still in lockdown.
Can we also take a moment to appreciate how Bob kept us in high spirits?
Do you remember the virtual birthday party we had for Bob? He took you guys on a tour of our lab and ended up getting a promotion. You can view the tour here
Bob also collaborated with Thakethi to mark International Small Business Day? Watch his sales skills here
As we reached July, things became calmer and lockdown restrictions started easing. Mid July, the Authentic Maldives outlet at the airport reopened and we got to have more Thursday lab nights. If you have been following us for a while, you’d know that it’s our favourite way to unwind for the weekend. See some of our lab scenes here.
We also wanted to share a few of our struggles through the lockdown. Seeing as we rely heavily on sourcing raw materials from across the world, it became almost impossible to procure them, and as a relatively young business, we had limited inventory of raw materials and packaging. This was partly why it took us till July to stock the Jasmine & Cinnamon diffuser on our online store.
We’ve always made sure to convey the stories and inspiration behind our scents. In August we released our very first Scent Story featuring the story of Jasmine & Cinnamon and we had so much fun narrating the story.
While we are clearly biased towards each scent that we develop, this scent story is closer to our hearts, and judging from the reactions we received, most of you related to the memories shown in the video too. If you haven’t seen it, you can view it here.
September to December:
Between some very exciting things and our biggest order to date, we added two resorts to our list of stockists. Our Tangerine & Guava Leaf diffuser and hand creams are now available at Seaside Finolhu Resort. Both our Jasmine & Cinnamon diffusers, and the hand cream and diffusers of Tangerine & Guava Leaf are now available at the boutique in Kagi Maldives Spa Island.
Adding to our growing list of stockists, from November 14th onwards, we also started stocking at the new Authentic Maldives outlet at Centro Mall, in Hulhumale’.
In December, we hit over 2k followers on Instagram and celebrated with a custom curated giveaway.
That brings us up to speed to today.
Our first year in business has been a year of growth for us, but we couldn’t have done this on our own. A big thank you goes to our families and friends who extended their time and help to us, and who have been pillars of support for us. To our stockists and customers, thank you for opening your doors and homes to us.
While we hope that you have been able to enjoy and experience our current line of #ScentsOfMaldives, we will soon be launching some new scents and can’t wait for you to experience them.
Vilunü has a very exciting year ahead and we hope you guys keep following us on our exploration of Maldives through scent.
Aish & Immi