When the pandemic hit, and really even before that, I had been analyzing and thinking hard about the world of retail. I have run retail businesses before. It’s a big challenge and a huge time commitment! And considering the times we are in now, it can also be hazardous to the health of those working in shops as well as the shoppers themselves.
I admit, I love browsing around gift shops as much as the next person, but I’ve also learned to love online shopping. It’s different and can take some getting used to. But, getting those packages delivered to your door sure is exciting! And realizing that you’ve been able to save some time and gas money by staying home is pretty awesome too.
I believe that retail, and specialty food businesses, are likely going to rely on customers who are willing to make that change. To talk business and transparency here for a minute…
Small businesses rely on cash flow. And starting a business, even a very small one, means you’ve got to put cash in first. One solution, is to pre-sell! This is the method we prefer to use with handpies for a variety of reasons. It helps us to control sales and plan for the amount of time we’ll need to be prepping and baking. It also means that I can plan to have the right amount of ingredients and prevents food waste. It also creates efficiency with our cash flow, because I’m not overspending on ingredients that, again, would go into the garbage can. Even if we donated leftovers, it’s still a cost to our bottom line (which is very slim, since we are still new and small).
The same goes for retailers. Retailers have minimums when ordering wholesale from companies. This means, they HAVE to buy a certain amount. And pay shipping often. So much of the profit on sales goes right back into purchasing items in order to keep inventory new and exciting, bringing customers back. It can be a vicious cycle to keep up with!
So, all this to explain why we’re making an effort to sell items by subscription. It can be very hard for local retailers to survive, let alone thrive, in small towns like ours. But we also want to provide handmade, sustainable, fun products to our local community that otherwise would be unavailable OR just hard to find online. And, by having our business provide these items to you, we can still keep that investment of profits local as much as possible.
The items we choose are a mix of other local businesses, items we make by hand here at our home studio, and ethical small brands we find and want to support. It’s a fun treat for you AND you can feel good about spending that money to support these small businesses with big hearts.
By becoming a subscriber, you are helping our small business become more sustainable – reducing shipping expenses and making bigger orders from other small businesses. Our goal here is to find more ways to connect with you either virtually, by mail or someday in the future (one without a pandemic) hosting pop-up events and parties!
We’re still a local business! Even without a storefront. But now we can also reach beyond our own backyard and ship gifts far and wide!