I am sure by now most people have heard the saying, "location location location", right? That very saying went through my head one day this past December when I wanted to get some perspective on where I hope to see the company 1, 2 and even 5 years from now. After consulting with some great mentors about how things are going with the business overall one thing stood out when looking at the various aspects of By the Bay Botanicals.
By the Bay Botanicals is a unique company where we do not focus on one thing, but multiple. There's retail, wholesale and private label. The gift shop was a great tool to get recognized and allow people to physically see and smell our candles. The location was a hub - a great location in the heart of Carroll County, not to mention centrally located in the heart of the town so it was easy to find and nestled among other great local small businesses. This helped make the candle shop be not only a place someone could discover on a stroll through Main Street but also was a destination location where people would seek us out for local souvenirs and of course one of a kind candles! But there is more to having a location that looks good on paper...
Factoring in the "location" of the gift shop had some issues. The space size was limited something we didn't foresee when signing the lease. It was a perfect space to both make as well as sell our candles, until we felt claustrophobic with limited space to pour candles for orders and the shop too. While we also had nice space for gifts that complimented our candle line, display space for the goodies was also at a premium especially around the holidays. Additionally the building while historic and had great character it did come with some problems that didn't make working there easy.
Upon reflecting the time at the gift shop I saw more opportunities for distraction than production from what was really important to the business. While the shop provided an opportunity to bring us closer to our customers in the community, we lost focus. For instance it was harder to meet with new wholesale clients because running a retail shop while meeting with new clients was never in balance often having to stop a meeting to attend to a group of customers that happened to wonder in trying to find specific items. While we loved having a window showing how we make our candles daily became more of an invitation to stop and chat - which we didn't mind and always a welcomed part of the business, but at the end of the day were not able to fill orders in a timely manner.
When looking at everything that made the shop fun, it dawned on me, we lost focus. The goal of the shop was was to be the cherry on top. In other words our main source of income was from an e-commerce website so people could order candles from across the US, wholesale to independent gift shop owners and custom candles for those seeking wedding favors or business branding. These revenue streams were to help pay the bills and keep the business afloat while gift shop sales would bring in profit. The reality was the opposite - the gift shop drained a lot of our funds (especially taxes) and saw devoting less time to help get new orders from our wholesale clients. Addtionally we were always behind in updating the website with new products. Something had to give.
That is why on January 31, 2016 By the Bay Botanicals closed it's doors and moved to a new location - one that is a warehouse with an office where we solely manufacturer our candles with plenty of room for storage and meet our shipping needs. The office now offers space to meet with clients and less distractions regarding updating the website - like doing this blog for instance!
Not many company owners would bother sharing this type of information to the public, but I feel - with being transparent as one of the things we pride ourselves with - we owe it to our customers, an explanation why. Too many businesses get in trouble and are in so deep that they fail to see the clearest of answers are right in front of them. Also people wonder if a space is not around, then it must have closed for good - which is not what has happened in this story. We are very happy with this decision. Change is a good thing that all people should embrace. Change brings new opportunities and helps the creative juices flow. Change can even help an entrepreneur lead a business to greatness.
With this new change we are not only pledging to our fans but our employees that the best is still to come and we really want you to come along for the ride.
Please comment below as I would love to hear what you think about this change in location. Are you less likely to buy from us now that we do not have a gift shop any more? Also do subscribe to this feed for future blog posts on topics relating to By the Bay Botanicals as well as random thoughts that I feel lead to share. Sometimes it may be advice I think followers would benefit or perhaps questions for you to answer in making this company more customer friendly.
Michelle Sholund, CEO
I am the owner of By the Bay Botanicals. We want to stay connected to you, and through this blog we aim to share with you tips and tricks to buying and burning candles as well as read up on what goes on behind the scenes at By the Bay Botanicals. Feel free to comment, and comment often as well as share with your friends and family.
Wish to contact me directly about questions or comments, visit our contact page.