For small businesses, building and supporting a growing customer base can mean big challenges, big changes and long hours. Especially for a husband and wife team like Serenity Soapworks that operates from a 2,800 square foot home!
For owner Melanie Brown, this challenge meant moving their retail storefront in Texas, 450 miles north to Oologah, OK, while fulfilling a large and crucial international wholesale order of 8,400 products. The move also required new work areas to be established, and quickly, while continuing producing and shipping, all during the Thanksgiving holiday.
But as Melanie says, “the biggest misconception about owning your own business is that you can always control your schedule, and that it gets easier with time to manage the business,” says Melanie. “It is always work, but the satisfaction is that you are working for yourself, and you are in control of much more than working for someone else.”[jetpack_subscription_form title="Subscribe to Out of Office:" subscribe_button="Sign Me Up"]
Melanie has been handcrafting these products for over 15 years now. Her products include handcrafted soaps, sold in a variety of fragrances and types, lotions, creams, balms and scrubs, along with soy wax candles and candle tarts and melts.
Seven years ago, Melanie and her husband received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from Money Magazine. The magazine called wanting to submit her “Solid Lotion Bar” to be considered for an article on “travel friendly toiletries”. For a small business, this was a big opportunity.
Around 4 p.m. on a Friday, Melanie called her husband from out of state explaining the urgency of getting her product to the New York office of Money Magazine by the following Monday morning.
“I had to drive to our home in the country and back, which took 45 minutes or longer, to catch the last outbound delivery after landing at the Abilene Regional Airport that day” says Gary.
Money Magazine received the delivery, and Serenity Soapworks “made the cut.” Their feature in the November issue of Money Magazine drove increased Christmas sales from the magazine mention. “Without the dependability of FedEx Office, that growth opportunity would have been missed” says Mr. Brown.
Melanie told us that it is challenging when working for yourself. Luckily, FedEx Office has helped not just for that opportunity, but throughout her business journey for the past seven years.
With their move, they also left behind their local FedEx Office, in Abilene, Texas. “FedEx Office was a friendly, outgoing place we loved to go and take our business,” says Melanie. “We knew everyone by name, and THEY knew OURS.”
In their new location, in the Owasso, OK area, Melanie and her husband have already started building a relationship their new FedEx Office team. Melanie shared that she “looks forward to our long and profitable collaboration and continuing to grow with the help of FedEx Office.” We couldn’t agree more.
Below are five tips Serenity Soapworks believes small business owners should take into consideration when starting a company:
- Don’t take on a partner, unless they are absolutely willing to devote the same amount of time to the business as you.
- Plan ahead for finances and time required for your business, then set aside some time for yourself to enjoy the fruits of your labors.
- If this is a husband/wife business, cut your “business partner” some slack. Sometimes, they don’t understand or have the same passion for the business as you, but they’re your best support.
- Try to separate, as much as possible, space for the business from space for your own living area(s).
- Keep great expense records so that you can better understand how to handle the ROI (Return on investment) you should expect.
Thanks to Melanie Brown for the great tips to be a successful small business owner. We’re happy we could be a part of her journey and hope we can be there for her business for years to come.
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