Thursday, February 2, 2017

January Business Behind-The-Scenes: Busy, Rough, Productive, Whirlwind Year Start

The motto for January has been, "It'll get better!" With life and business we're at that painful growth stage. This month we did 7 outdoor markets, two of which took five hour drives to and fro to get there. We drove through a deadly tornado through one of them to get home. (Yay, I'm alive typing this, let's count that blessing! I've never seen that much lightning in my life it was like being in that red spot on Jupiter.)

I've got lots of behind-the-scenes of those markets/expos/events on Instagram they were so awesomely varied and uniformly not without their stresses and fun moments. I got free Reiki healing at one, still another was in a dark club downtown and I was asked to set up in front of the DJ's speakers! Did well considering the circumstances!

By the way, these soaps smell AMAZING! I just finished shrink-wrapping them.

This month I learned the hard way to heed the advice of many a book I've read on running a retail store; you simply cannot do it alone! I was trying to create and formulate our herbal products, work on the e-commerce and social media, make high quality e-books and blog posts, run the shop daily, do expos and outdoor markets and local workshops and classes....nope! Burned. Out.

This week I hired my first part-timer helper (my friend Lia) and hell yes, I feel like I'm going to be so much more productive and actually earn more along the way, being able to actually do my marketing duties for the business. I get asked about not having our proper website up so much, so glad to get work on that and much more!

Above is a little behind-the-scenes peek at our first workshop at the studio. I did a "plan the new year with good intentions" freebie and encouraged the bringing of snacks. I made our herbal chai blend and stove-popped popcorn with our immunity-boosting spice blend and it was well-loved :)

The workshop turned into a bit of a venting session and it gave us the idea to actually have a "stitch and bitch" type women's venting session. My friend Patricia (who rents our class space to take clients) is a mental health counselor and she's planning to host group therapy sessions as well.

At the start of our workshop I had everyone draw a card and did a reading on it for their year. Mine was the 3 of cups upside down which can mean isolation from others. I spent a lot of January working late nights alone at my shop. I'm feeling a touch of relief already being able to make a list of things to delegate to my first helper!

Now Body&Soul is a group project with AJ, me, Lia, Patricia and my mom. It's a staff of varied talents: two certified herbalists and aromatherapists, classically trained chef, master's level therapist, and a certified fitness trainer. I'm one of the herbalists/aromatherapists but you can throw in multi-business starter marketer/website maker-person too. It's a dream team! We're already planning loads of fun workshops and classes to go into 2017!

We managed to fit in a MUCH-NEEDED one-day-and-night stay at My Favorite Place in the World, The Hostel in the Forrest. I can't 'til we fit in a longer stay! This was our treehouse this time (Elmos) & our view from its balcony.

So there's a peek behind-the-scenes of this business and a little bit about how I learned to let go and delegate or lose my damn mind! Each product I make is therapeutic grade and takes multiple steps from research, to formulation, to label design, to packaging and shrink wrapping, it's a lot! But it's also so satisfying. Now I need get home and rest so I can feel energized enough to tackle my blog editorial calendar too!

I hope your new year's been off to a good start. As always if you have tips of productivity I'm alway all-ears for them, we still need all the help we can get and I am taking applications for interns if anyone locally would love to learn lots of skills in a fun, amazing-smelling workspace! (E-mail me here.)
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  1. Stitch & Bitch!! Bwahahaha!! I love that!


    1. Gotta admit we didn't invent that one but we want a similar catchy craft-and-bitch related title for it ;)

  2. The soap looks great, have you ever thought of not packaging them - for the environment?

    1. YES! Definitely. I have to because we take them all around the state in the Florida heat and they will get very damaged in the heat without packaging :( ALSO people touch them all day and get literal dirty handprints on them, etc. I'm going to order boxes next versus uses the plastic shrink wrapping, at least it will be from recycled paper and the boxes can be re-used or recycled.

  3. Love the stitch and bitch, I could see how people really need a safe place to vent. Sounds like you have a highly talented team. You are so right, a business cannot be run by one person. Hubby nearly lost it the first year of ours as he was trying to do it by himself. After 5 years we are now having our best year ever (it takes time to grow your business). I don't see how you could possibly run markets and the store all by yourself. Glad you hired your friend.

    1. We're all prepared for the highs and lows and waiting it out until profit comes, I'm so lucky to have a patient, caring, talented team assembled! I definitely learned first-hand I could NOT effectively run outdoor markets and a store and make stuff AND write etc. etc. by myself, I feel your husband's pain, haha! Glad you guys are reaping the rewards of that hard work now :)

  4. Gosh! Vanessa, I can't believe you were doing so much by yourself! It's good you finally got part-time help. And LOLZ on Stitch and Bitch:D

    PS That Hostel in the Forest really does sound/look pretty amazeballz!

    1. I just want to live there anytime I visit! haha

  5. I am totally in awe of how you do it all, Vanessa! I'm glad you got yourself some part-time help, though, because burn-out is not to be taken lightly. Also very glad you made home safely. I love how you name your soaps :)

    1. Thanks Duni :) I've gotta get more creative with all the names.

  6. Congratulations on hiring your first employee! That is exciting. The help will really reduce the stress level. Your favorite getaway site looks really cool! There is nothing like nature to rejuvenate the spirit.

    1. So true about nature, I need a walk in it EVERY day, tha'd be nice!

  7. wow that is amazing.. i am in awe of all that you have managed to accomplish. Yay for you!


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