Welcome to Episode 74 of the Indie Business Podcast! Today's Maker Story introduces you to Kirsten Conner of Flourish Beauty Lab in White River Junction, Vermont. Kirsten is a retail store owner and product formulator who makes artisan products designed for people who are super sensitive to ingredients and fragrances. Her main focus is on hair care. She sells her products at her Vermont retail store, at her website, and via wholesale.
In this episode, I talk with Kirsten about several aspects of her business, including how she is navigating the many aspects of COVID-19 and what she sees on the horizon for the future of Flourish in particular and American Makers in general. Enjoy my interview with Kirsten NOW!
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Episode Show Notes
Here are the topics discussed in this episode, with time stamps to help you find the information that most interests you:
- A little about White River Junction, Vermont, and the story behind Kirsten's amazing retail store. (starting at 2:14)
- About Kirsten's business model and income streams. (starting at 6:35)
- How Kirsten uses technology to maintain personal interaction and connection with her customers. (starting at 7:10)
- How and when Kirsten decided to start a business, and how Flourish came to be. (starting at 11:35)
- Why focus on hair care when there are so many other options? (starting at 16:38)
- The importance of educating your customers. (starting at 19:20)
- Why Kirsten maintains a blog, and how it delivers traffic and sales. (starting at 19:47)
- Why Kirsten uses WordPress with Woo Commerce as her website platform. (starting at 23:30)
- How Kirsten's online sales have quadrupled during COVID-19. (starting at 25:15)
- How wholesale orders have been affected by COVID-19. (starting at 27:33)
- Big lesson: paring down your product line. (starting at 29:39)
- What Kirsten has to say about the explosion of e-commerce in the hair care arena. (starting at 32:12)
- How Kirsten chose the “Flourish Beauty Lab” brand name. (starting at 36:40)
- Flourish employees and what they do; how Flourish Beauty Lab operates behind the scenes and how COVID-19 is impacting in-store retail sales (starting at 39:14)
- Words of wisdom from Kirsten (starting at 46:45)
Resources and Links
In this episode, Melissa and I mentioned the following resources.
- Flourish Beauty Lab's Website
- Flourish Beauty Lab on Facebook
- Flourish Beauty Lab on Instagram
- Online chat software: Live Chat
- Website platform: WordPress
- E-commerce for WordPress: Woo Commerce
A few of the entrepreneurial points Kirsten and I discussed in this episode
- The personal touch closes the sale.
Kirsten's business is high touch because, she says, being personally connected to her customers is important to her. This manifests itself physically at her retail store, but also virtually by her use of the live chat option on her website. The more personal and immediate your response to your prospects, the more likely you are to close the sale.
- Blog posts drive traffic.
Kirsten shared that many people find her products because of her blog posts. For example, she blogs about the everyday hair problems people have, and when they search those types of topics online, some of them will land at Kirsten's site where they will get their questions answered at the same time as they have opportunities to buy the products that will solve their problems. This is such a great example of blogging for business in action.
- The importance of streamlining.
Kirsten said that one of the things she advises generally for all Makers is to maintain a streamlined product line. She recalled for us a time when she had 60 stock keeping units (SKUs) in her line, which made buyers go completely cross-eyed. Even today, she continues to pare things down, including discontinuing three-quarters of her body care line so she can focus even more on hair care products.
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