2017 is the year the Soapy Gnome train finally got some traction and momentum.
Most folks expect that it takes about 5 years for a business to start acting like one. It's spot on for Soapy Gnome too.
With our move from our tiny underground shop to our new digs, we've seen tremendous growth. Each day, new people pop into the shop for the first time. We love our role as Goshen Ambassadors. We give visitors a big welcome, and before they leave we make sure they have lunch plans and point them in the direction of some of the coolest shops in Goshen.
We're really pleased with our loyalty program. We've had over 190 $10 gift certificates redeemed this year. We looked at changing Point of Sale systems, but the loyalty options weren't as simple so we stayed with Square. We love celebrating your rewards with you!
This year we teamed up with Flowers by Phoebe as she experiments with a retail location. It's been a sweet smelling match. We like to call ourselves the "Happiest Place in Goshen".
We've made the ADEC soaps a regular part of our soapy lineup. For each bar sold, we give $2 back to ADEC's art program. In 2017, we raised and donated $400 through soap sales and even more funds through our kid's crafts.
We've tried lots of new products in the last year or so. Our teas have become quite popular, and everyone loves our Turkish Towels. Our coconut wax candles are pretty cool too.
Finally, after dozens of customers asking for things that say "Goshen" on them, we now carry lots of things that say "Goshen"!
One of the best things that happened to our little shop this year, is Kaitlin Hart. Kaitlin joined Soapy Gnome in June. She is a skin care specialist and former operations lead at a big skincare retailer.
Kaitlin loves our customers and takes really good care of them. She helps them find just the right products for themselves or for gifts. Kaitlin is also helping us build back-end systems for training new employees and for keeping our retail shop running more smoothly. Kaitlin is a small business owner and I appreciate her entrepreneurial enthusiasm.
We have three part-timers: Ebony, Carina, and Eliana. Ebony and Carina both speak Spanish and we are able to offer bilingual service on Saturdays, which makes me proud. I'm trying to learn, but I only speak toddler level Spanish.
Eliana is my kiddo, and I'm really happy that she wants to be a part of the family business. Jeremy, my husband, can be found most Saturdays at the Farmer's Market. I couldn't run this business without his support and his ability to make projections with the magic of spreadsheets!
While Kaitlin now handles most of the customer-facing work at the shop, I'm behind the scenes scouting out new products, handling admin, and making product for the store. Our team is looking toward the future, trying to figure out how to continue to grow the business to just the right size. Retail and manufacturing have lots of overhead and challenges in growth, and we do both!
What's on the horizon for 2018?
- Grow our online retail sales. Online is an untapped market for us.
- Find manufacturing space (or a manufacturing/retail space) outside of my home and hire part-time manufacturing help.
- Explore new product offerings.
- Create more in-store events.
- Keep finding ways to delight our customers.
- 5 Year Anniversary Party!
Stick with us as we venture into 2018!