Running a business is not for the faint of heart, it is really tough sometimes! As if the making of the actual products isn't enough, I've got piles and piles of other stuff on top. Social media, website optimization, updating the website so it always looks fresh, ordering supplies, keeping the actual building looking nice and kempt, and of course, raising a family and making sure those duties are always done. It is more than a full time job, and I get really tired sometimes.
One thing that makes those feelings subside a bit is the "cha-ching" notification that I get every time a sale is made. Those sounds have not been cha-chinging like they should in the actual shop. We have been really successful at the website part of our business, but the storefront is hit or miss. White Sulphur Springs has changed a lot, but it is still not a shopping destination. I rack my brain daily on what I can do to improve that. I think the shop is really nice inside, and I know our products are great. We have a really large percentage of return buyers, which is AMAZING in this industry. However, I realize that our main stay customers can only buy so much soap or lotion, so we really depend on walk in traffic, and there just isn't a lot.
Do you know how many people who LIVE here, comment that they didn't even know we were here? Or how many people we still get looking for cupcakes...three years later. It's almost like people who live here have blinders on when new businesses come to town. Like they have their eyes only forward and are focusing on getting through town as quickly as possible. It's an issue for sure, and I am at the end of ideas to fix it, I don't know if I can.
Traffic seems to pick up here in the evenings, because so many are coming to town to eat at our restaurants, so we have decided to try to capitalize on that. So, starting next week, our hours are going to look a lot different. We will be open Wednesday-Saturday 11-7pm, and Sundays 1-5, once holiday shopping really kicks into gear.
During those evening hours, you and some friends could come to Sweet Cedar, blend and make your own candle, then pick it up after you've had dinner downtown. Or come by after work and pick up a candle and bubble bath to take home to help you unwind. We've got the market on self care cornered and lots of options to help you feel good.
This is the last idea I have, I am open to other thoughts for sure. I can take criticism pretty good too, so lay it on me. Is there something wrong with our curb appeal? Signage? What else can we do to bring in foot traffic to our shop? We need organic reach of people in our town, who maybe have never tried us, or even know we exist. Or are here on a trip and discover us and then re-order again and again. HOW do we get them in the shop to see what we have?
Otherwise, I sit here and think that maybe it would be best to close the shop and put all of my focus online. I don't want to do that, as I enjoy meeting and talking to people who come in, and I definitely love that I see the same people month after month, coming in to stock up on their skincare, or their candles, or soap. It is amazing knowing that they like our products so much, that they come back again and again. But that bank of people is only so many, and truthfully, a lot of you order online for pickup anyway.
I'm usually a positive person 99% of the time, but this is bringing me down bad. I want our town to be bumping with people, but it's just not. At least during the day it isn't, so maybe evening hours will be the change we need.
What do you think? Lay it on me!
I miss coming in. Your cupcake shop was the best. And now that I live in North Carolina, I order online. Do you think you could set up at a local business there to get the word out more. (Like April’s, small table with products and talking to people when they come in.)
I love your products! I live outside of Charleston, so I can’t visit but I hope folks start noticing and buying! Maybe you could sell via Amazon if things don’t work out shop-wise? Just a thought, as I’m more of an online ‘midnight’ shopper…
The later hours will help us! We always say we need more soap but your hours and ours never aligned. The evening will be helpful!
I am really excited about the later weekend hours. We tend to come into town later for dinner and would love to be able to shop after 5pm!
I think you should brighten the front of the shop a little. I wonder about doing monthly specials or something like buy 6 candles get seventh free. How about putting something in The Greenbrier????