By GreenHouse17 Staff
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Small Cyber Sunday (yes, that’s a new one) are over this year. And today is Cyber Monday.
This is the perfect day to explore online sales of value-added agricultural products. We wrote this blog post about preparing to open our shop at Etsy.com last year. With a little more than 15 months of online retail experience, we’ve learned some valuable lessons and keep learning more every day.
Here are some numbers and thoughts that we hope will be useful to other farmers and gardeners who might be considering online selling.
Keeping local very local matters. We’ve discovered that some of our central Kentucky customers prefer not to purchase local products from our online store. Buying online just doesn’t feel as local, and shipping charges seem unnecessary if the product is just being delivered a few miles away. So, we’re forging some really great partnerships with local retail stores to feature our products.
Making time to make new products is important. Although the introduction of new products creates buzz and more sales, creating new products takes time. Sometimes, it takes a lot more time than it might first seem. Some of our new product test formulas have been right on mark. Other new recipes have required weeks of tweaking to get just right. Then there’s package testing to consider and state-regulated labeling to be approved. Then we have to actually make and process the first product batch! Product photography, marketing copy writing, and online product listing follow. The whole process could take up to 16 weeks.
Holding our mission focus is critical. For our organization, the manufacture and marketing of value-added agricultural products must nurture lives harmed by intimate partner abuse. And survivor participation in the product-making process is voluntary and self-determined. This means that sometimes a cadre of survivors actively engage in the making process, and other times just one or two survivors living in shelter have reached a space in their healing journey to participate. We embrace this model because it is our reason for being. And we are learning to navigate the related challenges with production planning.
Making and selling value-added products from our farm provides survivors with micro-enterprise experience and self-sufficiency options. The process is meaningful, rewarding, worthwhile, beneficial, comforting, and a hundred other positive things for sure! And finding and keeping your groove can be tricky sometimes. It’s been said that nothing worth doing is ever easy, but we believe it’s possible with good people, good hearts, good work, and good decisions.
As a thank you for reading all the way to the end of our post today, we invite you to visit our shop at Etsy.com and take a 10% discount on your Cyber Monday order! We think you’ll just love our Awaken Joy soap. It’s a perfect holiday soap featuring peppermint, eucalyptus, and a hint of shimmer for the wonderful winter clean. The following coupon code is valid until 11.59 PM EST on Monday, November 30, 2015. Just enter the code during checkout: GACYBER10