Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We were two successful Manhattanites who were obnoxious enough to buy a million dollar vacant farm to use as a "weekend getaway." This was in 2007. In 2008 when the recession hit, we both lost our jobs and had nothing but 60 acres, a farmhouse and a million dollar mortgage to pay. We had to make our "weekend getaway" pay for itself or risk losing it. We knew from the beginning that to make our farm "work" it had to be bigger than its fences, which is how we started working with other farmers and local craftspeople to form our company, Beekman 1802. When we first started out, everything we offered was made right here in Sharon Springs, NY (population 547). Then we spread to one hour radius, two hour radius, made in America and now even "globally conscious" craftspeople.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
With no marketing budget, our first sale was driven by the blog we were keeping documenting our transition from city to country life. Even to this day 99% of our growth is fueled by social media and word of mouth. We treat every customer as if they are our neighbor, and in turn they create more neighbors. Facebook remains the leader in terms of traffic and sales generation.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
We use Robin for customer service, Brightpearl for accounting, Yotpo for customer review management, MailChimp for list management, Back in Stock for inventory, ShipStation and ShipingEasy, Theme tool, Recomatic, Chargify, Happy Ending. The ones that have most impact aret hose that help us manage really complex things with a really small staff of 11 people. Robin, MailChimp and ShipStation are integral to our growth We handle shipping internally right from our brick and mortar store on Main Street in Sharon Springs
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
The most important thing any business owner in any field should know is that no matter what you are doing or selling, you are in the "hospitality industry" and in such, you have to make your "guest" feel welcome and appreciated.