The whole reason I started this blog was to provide a more "personable" presence for the StarsHollow goat milk lotion. I read from the Brambleberry site that having an online presence made you more real to your customers and gave them a glimpse into your world and created more customer loyalty.
So I started a blog....
And the lotion... well... let's face it. We both have day jobs and we just aren't hungry enough to pursue the lotion as much as one *should* pursue a business. I mean for a business to really grow, you have to treat it like a newborn baby... lots and lots of attention and nurturing and coddling and feeding.
And we also weren't sure how much we wanted it to grow. It is a fun, creative outlet and we wanted to keep it that way vs. becoming big and overwhelming and something we dreaded. We wanted it to grow...but not too much.
I went to some craft fairs at first and did fine. We actually met with the Whole Foods skin care rep at the Ft. Collins store and they liked it and wanted us to work with them IF we changed some things about the lotion to make it 100% all natural and I didn't want to do that.
I don't mind a bit of chemistry in my water-based, room temperature, perfect medium for bacterial growth product. I see 1% of a preservative as the lesser evil over some weird strain of virulent bacterial growth.
And that is completely fine if someone disagrees because they don't have to use or buy my lotion. I know there are plenty of all natural products that are completely fabulous. I just don't trust mine to be that natural. We can happily agree to disagree and shake hands and go on our merry way.
Plus we would have needed to buy a bar code and while do-able... it was more expense to the tune of a couple hundred dollars and we were already pretty tight with the costs to make the lotion and keep it at a reasonable price for retail purchases with a bit of profit included. Every thing you add costs money and we aren't including our time much at all because start-ups are all about getting out there and making some sacrifices in order to get into the market and begin to get seen.
And they needed you to commit to hand-selling your product and we heard from another vendor selling to Whole Foods, that you had to give them x amt of product for free as placement initiative. Whether that is true or not I don't know but the cards began to stack up against that idea given we didn't want to put a ton of effort in.
We pitched it to Esscentials. A locally owned store here in the Old Town, Ft. Collins area and they carry it on their shelves. Really cool shop with a wide variety of soaps, lotions, jewelry, bath items, cards etc. We went to a few other stores but they just didn't have the "look" or "feel" we liked. Some were too all natural - complete with instructions and recipes for eating your placenta after you gave birth, to strange arrays of discounted odds and ends that just seemed to make no sense. It looked more like a yard sale than a cute boutique people would want to shop in.
And I guess I'm a big chicken. I felt weird about knocking on doors and peddling my wares. And so it came to a stand still again.
A few years ago we looked into farmers markets and at that time it seemed the rules were that you HAD to commit to every single weekend. And I just wasn't sure I could make that commitment or that I even wanted to.
I ran into my massage therapist and her husband at a small party in March. Her husband owns Green Dog Farm CSA and was talking about being in the farmers market. I began asking him questions...one thing led to another and I asked if I could partner with him at the market and if I could come once a month. I gave them samples of my lotions so they knew what product they would be supporting and they love it. I filled out the vendor paperwork, paid my $55 vendor fee and will be selling for the first time in an official farmer's market.
I'm nervous - I have no idea how it will be received or if I will sell very much. However, you don't know if you don't try.
I Googled merchandising and display options for farmers markets and have some ideas. I'm sure, as with anything, there will be some adjusting depending on how things go. It will be a learning experience and should be pretty interesting... I'll post pix.
Wish me luck!