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Inside Alpaca

Alpaca's Year in Review: 23 Celebrations for 2023!

Karen Borchert
December 26, 2023

23 Celebrations for 2023!

At Alpaca, we’re pretty big on celebrations. In fact, we call ourselves a Teacher Celebration Company, we celebrate our own team birthdays and company anniversaries BIG, and we regularly ask about any given pen, email campaign, or school supply: “Does this DELIGHT YOU!?!” So of course – we want to end 2023 celebrating! 

Our core values at Alpaca are five action statements. Why? To remind us that valuing educators isn’t about saying the words: it’s about doing the work.

Our values are: 

  • Listen to Teachers
  • Tell Stories
  • Elevate Every Educator
  • Bring Out the Best
  • Write Thank You Notes

Here are our 23 celebrations for 2023!

Listen to Teachers

At the heart of our work is a belief that the greatest way to celebrate and support teachers is to “listen personally and reward thoughtfully.” We love finding new ways to hear from teachers! Here’s how we listened in 2023: 

23. This year, every pack and educator resource was influenced by real teachers. Alpaca grew our team to include teachers (past and present!)  in our Customer Success team, product advisory group, and marketing partnerships.

22. Alpaca launched our Getting To Know You Survey and reached more than 2,000 educators, who weighed in on the supplies, treats, brands, and celebrations that mean the most to them.

21. Education conferences ruled our fall season at Alpaca! We attended and sponsored 8 conferences from Anaheim to Duluth, meeting more than 1,000 superintendents, school administrators, and school board members across the country. The experience gave us the opportunity to learn about how our customers engage and support their educators and how Alpaca can help.

Tell Stories

We love shouting from the rooftops about incredible teachers and educators who are creating amazing school cultures that support and celebrate their teams. Here are a few things we did this year!

20. Extraordinary Educators, our new series highlighting the best in education, launched this September. We have absolutely loved interviewing, profiling, and snapping some beautiful portraits of teachers who are extraordinary for their work, their creativity, and their commitment.

19. Alpaca’s focus on celebrating educators earned us spots on podcasts like Growing a Fruitful Brand, where we got to talk about building a social purpose business (and our crazy obsession with handwritten thank you notes!)

18. Data tells stories too! Alpaca’s new survey platform helped us support principals and districts with monthly data about what teachers need to feel supported and how they’re doing. Keep your eyes out in 2024: big things are on the horizon! 

17. Alpaca’s new website launched this fall, bringing more ways to bring packs, surveys, and resources to school districts to celebrate educators everywhere!

Elevate Every Educator

In 2023, Alpaca extended our reach – states we serve, grade levels of teachers we support, and partnerships we built. We love seeing Alpaca catch on!!

16. Alpaca now supports educators in 5 states! One of our highlights? A partnership with iJag, supporting educators in 50 districts across the state of Iowa! 

15. Alpaca expanded to middle schools and high schools, and now supports all grade levels K-12, in public and private schools. 

14. Alpaca co-hosted a beautiful teacher event with Omaha, Nebraska’s new Kiewit Luminarium to welcome educators from across the state to this new STEM-focused museum. More than 600 teachers came together to celebrate their accomplishments, play and explore in the new museum, and share an evening together. Said one teacher: “It’s not often teachers get to just socialize together. This was the highlight of my year!”

13. A new partnership with Fusion Medical Staffing supported our Alpaca for All program to deliver packs and support to a full district of educators this fall! Our partners at Fusion are incredible, bringing team members every month to learn about the needs of educators and put together packs. Thanks, Fusion!

12. Check out Alpaca’s new Resource Library, filled with teacher-designed and tested resources to celebrate your teachers! Every resource is FREE, so that we can elevate and celebrate every educator.

11. Now Shipping! While we loved delivering every pack by hand in our earliest days, 2023 was the year we made it our mission to get packs anywhere in the country (yep, even New Jersey!). We can’t wait to ship packs off to our next new location.

10. More ways to celebrate! Alpaca launched Celebration Packs – the easiest way to create an incentive program, liven up a staff meeting, or welcome your teachers back after a break.

Bring out the Best

When we say “Bring out the best” - we mean it. We focus on partnerships with the best brands to support teachers, testing and building the best new products to delight teachers, and building the best team ever. The BEST part – it’s so much fun! 

9.  Big Goals! We’re a team with a mindset for growth, accomplishment, and doing BIG things together. In fact, Alpaca team members ran a total of 8 marathons in 2023! Call us crazy – we love big challenges.

8. Little Wins! One of our favorite moments of the year was the launch of our newsletter, Little Wins! Designed to deliver weekly celebrations, recognition ideas, and helpful tips to school leaders. Subscribe here! 

7. Alpaca’s team traveled to Camp Wandawega in Wisconsin for our Fall retreat to plan out how we’ll bring out the best - in teachers, in principals, and in each of the members of our team - in 2024. 

6. While at Camp, we also brought out the best of the camp costume closet with an epic team photo shoot. We think Wes Anderson would be pretty proud.

5. Alpaca partnered with beautiful brands like Calm Strips, Crayola, VidDay, Clean Slate, and Hardy Coffee to bring new-to-shelves product, custom collaborations, and fun engagement opportunities to teachers.

4. Alpaca launched 10 of our own new products to provide delight to teachers and school teams around the country. I ♥️ Minis, Celebration Notes, Lunch containers, Teacher Tote Bags - just a few of the fun, useful, and JOYFUL moments we got to deliver!

3. In 2023, Alpaca delivered more than 30,000 care packages filled with a combination of supplies teachers value most, care items that support teacher wellbeing, and bits of gratitude to let them know how much we value them. 30,000!

Write Thank You Notes

And finally, our most important (and most asked about!) core value: Write Thank You Notes. We believe that handwritten notes deliver gratitude, personalization, and authenticity to the experience of being an educator, so we include one in every single pack. Here’s what we did in 2023:

2. We launched the Thank You Crew, a community of former educators, young professionals, and caring community members (even some students!) who write thank you notes for educators each month to be included in our packs. Our notes this year have come from places as close as our hometown of Omaha and as far-flung as Hawaii.

1. Alpaca wrote 34,000 handwritten thank you notes to educators. We’re placing it at #1 because it’s the #1 thing that teachers say was meaningful to them! “When I get that handwritten note every month, I feel like the whole community is cheering me on.”

And, that's a wrap on 2023! Thank YOU, teachers, for making this a year of growth, learning, progress, and celebration. We're excited for the year ahead - let's go!

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