Well, ladies and gentlemen, this has been a whirlwind of a beginning! I have been attending numerous farmers markets, all while filling online orders and working two jobs on the outside. At times, I am finding it difficult to manage this all on my own.
As quickly as I find those thoughts, I dismiss them. See, persistence is crucial, especially when bringing something brand new to the market. Speaking of markets, this farmers market season was an exceptionally valuable learning experience. Was it profitable? Well, when you factor in the mileage & gas, probably not. The market research though? That is irreplaceable.
The overall response was a pleasant surprise! I began to develop repeat customers at various markets, and received many positive reviews for the product’s overall effectiveness. I also received a great deal of good advice, excellent ideas, and a waiting list of barbers and stores that were interested in carrying my product. As great as this all sounds, it does not come without it’s difficulties.
While starting and funding this completely on my own, I underestimated a few things. For starters, I had no clue how difficult getting an item retail-ready would be. I poured my money into research & development (of course, necessary), and getting out-and-about to showcase my product in front of real people (also necessary), but did not consider how expensive something as simple as UPC code could be!
I also underestimated the amount of money I would need set aside for things as simple as labels. They are not expensive, when you are purchasing them for one or two products, but as that number increase, naturally the expenses also go up. When funding a business on your own, it is probably best not to underestimate these crucial steps. I thought I had overestimated the cost I would need to get started.
Also to note, my social media presence has been extremely lackluster. It needs to improve. As much as I personally do not use social media, it is imperative for a fledgling business in our world, today. There will be an Instagram account coming, and more happening on all platforms.
The moral of the story is that there are never a shortage of lessons to learn. I have had some good advice from people close to me, but there is no possible way I could have foreseen everything I knew nothing about from the beginning. As much scouring research as I did before I took the leap, I still overlooked quite a few things. If you are starting a venture on your own, just remember that, as frustrating as some of these red-tape steps may be, they are merely minor setbacks. Your resolve will carry you through.
This is why I am working so much outside of the business. I must admit, though, I find tending bar to be quite cathartic, and I understand that it will all help me grow Beerd into what I envision it can be.
So now, my priorities have changed! There are nearly-refined aftershaves and beerd waxes to look forward to, as well as a subscription service to make it easier. This was one of the major things customers seemed to want, so I shall deliver. Following the launch of the subscription service (when Garrison the Bartender has picked up enough tips), the UPCs will be on the way. After that? Well, as the great Buzz Ligthyear once said:
“To Infinity… And BEYOND!”
Until then, thank you for being a part of the earliest phase of my beerded revolution. More to come, very soon.
-Garrison the Bartender