Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
There's always been an interesting relationship between herbal and Western medicine, especially when it comes to topical pain relief. I saw a space for a premium quality herbal topical analgesic and thought that I could develop something to apply to skin that was clean, healthy, natural, and effective. We make all of our products in house and source raw materials from both the U.S. and China. If we can find USDA certified organic herbs, we use them!
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
My mom actually bought the first few after she got some really good results with her arthritis. Then I began selling Battle Balm at my acupuncture clinic to my pain patients. Battle Balm was a nice complement to my practice for the patients to use outside of my office. It grew from there. We still generate most of our sales online, which we will continue to focus on. We offer wholesale accounts to those that wish to resell Battle Balm in their stores, clinics, gyms, and markets.
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?
The Shopify platform has been the biggest asset to my business. The plug-ins are tremendous and fairly simple to implement. I used to write programming code and software and knew I wanted a robust website and interface for Battle Balm, but I didn't want to do the work. When my brother-in-law told me about Shopify, I saw it as a good platform for me to launch my business as quickly as possible, without having to crunch code myself. We handle shipping and fulfillment internally for now, but will most likely use a fulfillment house by the end of the year and moving forward. We're growing too fast and outsourcing is key to keeping us light and responsive to our customer base.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
1) Make mistakes and learn from them. Just try to mitigate the damage as best you can. Then, move on and don't look back. 2) If you are doing something unique, expect resistance. Lots of it. It's human nature to fight against change. Figure out a way to help your customer see/understand your idea and how it fits into the world. 3) Work harder than anyone else in the room. A good strong work ethic will help you overcome more obstacles that you realize.