2023 Annual Report
2023 Annual Report
Where is Hey abby Coming From?
In 2021, inspired by a growers' focus group, the Hey abby team was formed. This team, comprising growers, engineers, ID designers, and developers, set out to create the ultimate grower's dream box.
The concept of a fully automated grow box isn't new; it dates back to the 1980s. Many companies have proposed various ideas and even developed prototypes, but none successfully mass-produced a box that truly worked.
After a challenging period of design, development, and supply chain restructuring, we realized this 40-year-old dream. The result? A smart, sleek, and time-saving grow box that, most importantly, enables first-time growers to yield an average of 4-6 oz of premium dry flowers with Hey abby.
Since then, Hey abby quickly becomes the symbol of smart home growing.
*Pic at right: a grow box concept sketch by a grower in hey abby's first focus group session in Irvine CA, 2021
What is Hey abby?
When asked about Hey abby, it's accurate to describe it as the world's #1 automated grow box, the first of its kind in mass production, and delivering unparalleled results.
Yet, Hey abby's story is just beginning. The real differences are coming from the people behind it: the grower community. Originating from and evolving with this dynamic community, Hey abby maintains a deep connection with growers worldwide.
We've learned that the primary motivation for choosing Hey abby is to learn how to grow. Witnessing numerous new growers develop into knowledgeable, green-thumbed enthusiasts, we've seen them constantly seek innovative growing methods.
The community is driven by curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, and a love for nature. Throughout this journey, we've identified four fundamental needs among growers:
- Learning how to grow.
- Initiating the growing process hands-on.
- Logging plant data like height, temperature, humidity, and taking photos.
- Sharing progress with fellow growers.
Traditionally, a grower might use YouTube for learning, struggle with conflicting advice, grow using a pot, log details in a notebook or spreadsheet, and share updates on Instagram. These activities, scattered across different platforms, require significant manual effort. What if we could do all those in one place?
Inspired by our community, we now clearly see Hey abby's role as an all-in-one community platform for growers, streamlining and enriching the entire growing experience.
Hey abby Community-Based Platform
With a larger vision in mind, we've begun to consider the foundations we have already laid to build this comprehensive platform.
Currently, Hey abby features in 14,000 topics related to growing when searched on Google. Our team has also drafted over 100 professional articles, addressing 70% of our growers' inquiries. This vast repository forms a solid base for an easily searchable, grower-validated knowledge base that's both educational and engaging.
Hey abby already offers a top-tier grow box. Based on community feedback, we plan to expand and customize our product line, enhancing the growing experience.
The Hey abby app has made logging simpler than ever, allowing growers to record data points with a single click. We aim to enhance this feature to log more data and accommodate various plant types.
With over 30,000 posts shared on the Hey abby app and millions of messages exchanged via our Discord channel, our content is entirely grower-driven. This shows the joy of growing together! Looking ahead, we're not just enabling the sharing of pictures, data, and words, but also of growing algorithms and settings, similiar to a Steam workshop.
These are not day-one ideas but have evolved alongside our community. With this in mind, Hey abby transcends being just a grow box; it's becoming an all-in-one, community-based platform. We already possess the infrastructure; we just need to continue building and adding to it. This approach allows for infinite expansion and ensures our product development always aligns with the community's heartbeat.
Who are Hey abby Growers?
The Hey abby grower community characterized by a blend of curiosity, eagerness to learn, and a passion for a green lifestyle. The primary drive of Hey abby growers is their strong desire to learn and engaging a new rewarding hobby and lifestyle.
Some of Hey abby growers are:
Green Lifestyle Enthusiasts
Enthusiastic about leading a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. The process of growing their own medicine, offering a more organic and personal connection to their consumption.
Soccer Moms and Family-Oriented Individuals
The ease and convenience of the Hey abby system make it appealing to busy individuals such as soccer moms or parents who are interested in gardening or cultivating their own herbs and plants.
Tech Lovers and Innovators
Given the high-tech nature of the Hey abby growing system, it attracts growers who appreciate the integration of technology in daily life.
Economically Conscious Individuals
People looking for cost-effective solutions who see the value in growing their own as a way to save money, as well as those who are economically impacted by the current financial climate and seeking more affordable alternatives.
Veterans and Medical Users
The community also includes veterans and individuals using cannabis for medical purposes. Hey abby's commitment to affordability and accessibility makes it a viable option for these groups.
Discretion is crucial for some Hey abby growers. This includes people who value their privacy and prefer a cultivation method that doesn’t draw attention, especailly with apartment growers, and they do appreciate the discreet design and privacy features of the Hey abby system.
An earlier survey shows the Hey abby community spans across all age groups, indicating that the appeal of home cultivation transcends generations, perhaps this is one of the strongest human nature to grow on our own.
Reflecting on early 2023, when we unveiled our roadmap for the year, it's exhilarating to see how far we've come, surpassing our initial goals. Our pride in both the team and our community is immense!
What makes our journey unique is that all ideas originated directly from the community. Instead of spending time in conventional brainstorming, our team focused on listening to our growers, letting their needs and feedback shape the product's evolution. This approach has not only streamlined our development process but also ensured that every new feature truly resonates with our growers.
This is power of community-driven innovation.
In 2023, we offered two more options for growers: the 420, being more affordable and easy to expand (we seen growers put seven 420 boxes together), and the Black Edition, being the ultimate grow box fully loaded with features and premium hardware. The team also developed a product line of smart add-ons. More than 70% of our growers are getting one or more add-ons.
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Based on community feedback and requests, we updated the Hey abby app with 12 new versions in 2023. For instance, we found that over 20% of our growers own more than one Hey abby box, prompting us to develop the Grow Space Manager for managing all boxes in one place. Another example, many new growers start with automated solutions but, after one grow cycle, often wish to explore their own growing methods, leading to the development of the Pro Mode.
We are extremely pleased with this new approach to product development, as the community consistently provides the right direction for us to follow.
Service and Content
In 2023, our grower base expanded tenfold, and our Discord community now boasts over 4,000 growers. This requires a more robust support system. After integrating the intercom support system (also used by OpenAI) in March, coupled with our comprehensive help center and AI, the self-service rate soared to 70%, surpassing the industry average of 50%. We also expanded our service team to cover more time zones, catering to growers seeking help after work hours. These joint efforts enabled us to efficiently handle 88,485 tickets in less than nine months with a small team. This figure doesn't even include community support from our growers; with it, 100,000+ instances of support were provided, ensuring a smooth growing experience for all.
Content-wise, we released a series of high-quality articles and 'Grow Like a Pro' videos. Over 10 articles have ranked in Google's top 3, offering valuable guidance on specific topics to numerous growers.
The team recognizes the importance of transparency in product development, and how productive it can be. Keeping our 2023 learnings in mind, in 2024, we will start building an all-in-one community-based platform. This will seamlessly integrate all the great foundations we have laid and allow us to continue building upon them.
For just a product, the relationship with users typically ends when they can use it for its intended purpose. However, when it evolves into a community, it becomes a long-term relationship that spans from the first growing cycle to many ongoing ones. We cherish this long term relationship with our growers and invite you to join us in making the community a better place.
From a focus-group drawing to the world’s #1 Hydroponic Grow Box, Hey abby has come a long way in such a short space of time. Read how we got there here.
In March 2021, when we gathered a focus group of 8 indoor growers, many of them described how difficult it was for them to start their home garden.
Those growers worked together on the white board and painted their dream growing device. This was very similar to what we had in mind, and from that moment on, the research stage had ended and the R&D began.
Going from this picture to a sophisticated all-in-one smart device took a long process. As a startup company developing an incredibly innovative product, every step was challenging, especially with the supply chain.
We visited more than 1,000 suppliers and finally got 70 of them on board to build Hey abby together. Yes, you heard that right; it requires 70 different suppliers to assemble all of the parts for one Hey abby grow box.
The following month, we launched a small Kickstarter campaign to gather the first batch of growers. We were lucky enough to have 117 growers worldwide willing to start this journey with us, buying a product from a company they had never heard of. A grower in the UK even paid $700 just for shipping. This meant the world to the team and validated all of our hard work.
We want home growing to be sustainable and possible for anyone, no matter their experience level. And build a community of growers who support, and learn from one another on their journey.
The next task became growing our online and manufacturing presence. We started our Discord server and recruited the help of an old friend to promote us on social media.
Yola is an old friend of ours. He was the first influencer willing to test our product and introduced the process with passion. This video gave us our first viewership boost. A few thousand people visited the website to check the product as a result. The video has been played 200K+ times since then.
We aim to help 50 million people worldwide become home growers, and make the automated Grow Box the new essential home accessory. Become our part of our journey with Hey abby.