Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We bought a gorgeous piece of property in a rustic Connecticut town. We spent 2014 converting the property into a lavender farm and developing lavender-based products to sell locally and via eCommerce. Our products are both hand made in-house and sourced from a locally made private label.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Facebook has been especially strong for us in generating not only online sales but POS has been good as well. In-season, our retail shop dominates as shoppers make "pilgrimages" to see the lavender fields and shop our gift shop. As the seasons turn, online picks back up. We're just now rolling out our wholesale channel to an exclusive group of retailers.
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're a Shopify shop. The ability to share the same data between POS and online is a huge competitive advantage. We use the Shopify iOS app (iPhone and Apple Watch) to monitor sales. We've also bolted on Shippo as well as Yotpo to manage reviews, Mailchimp, Form Builder, Image Slider and Happy Email to create a smooth and professional shopping experience. All products are shipped from our farm in Killingworth, Connecticut via USPS and UPS. The UPS guy brings our dog Flora a treat every day. Now, whenever she sees the big brown truck she goes bananas.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Don't assume you will build it and they will come. They won't. You need a compelling product and perhaps, more importantly, a plan to continually create awareness around not just your product, but your brand.