Happy New Year! We made it to 2021. How? I really don't know. I've been trying to write this blog post for a few weeks but something else kept creeping to the top of my to-do list. I have been thinking a lot about our first year in business. Our first time running an e-commerce store. Our first time designing a website. Our first time taking and editing product photos...so many firsts! Here are a few of our takeaways from year 1 of what we hope to be many, many more.
1) There are a LOT of ups and downs-- Maybe this is obvious to some of you, but being who I am I thought that after gaining some initial followers and customers the products would sell themselves. I mean we chose amazing, handmade decor items right? How could people not want them? Riding the waves of retail has been new for us. There are busy times of year and dead times of year (I'm looking at you January). For every sale that we did a happy dance for, there were weeks of no sales. If you are planning on starting a small business try to prepare yourself for the highs and lows. Side note-- try not to do it in the middle of a global pandemic.
2) Marketing/social media/algorithms are so confusing-- Again, I thought if we consistently posted content and had followers that we would grow quickly and make sales. While we've learned a lot about marketing, that's just not how it's been for us. Social platforms have ever-changing algorithms that I am very certain I don't understand. If you do, please reach out to me to help! Thanks! For every 10 followers we gain we lose about half. It's confusing and it makes you question yourself. I've learned to stay true to our vision and it will attract those who are interested.
3) I don't know everything and it's OK to ask for help-- OK, I am still working on this and will probably continue to my whole life. I like knowing what I'm doing. I like feeling competent. Running Salt and Branch has been unlike anything I've experienced in my life yet. I know that I'm getting better at certain aspects of running the business, but there are others that I still need help doing. We are all constantly learning and it's only human to look to others for help and support.
4) I've made some amazing connections-- I love going on Instagram everyday to see what the people I follow are up to. I love seeing how real and authentic others are in sharing their stories and I am inspired to be more authentic as well. It's fascinating that I feel like I know people who I follow and I am imagining that some of you feel like you know us a little bit from following our journey. I've found the Instagram community to be extremely supportive, overall.
5) Even though there are really difficult parts of this I love running this business-- More real talk-- there are several times in the past year that I've wanted to give up due to lack of sales, lack of follows, lack of money to buy more products and yep that global pandemic again. But Adam, my partner and rock in life, did not let me give up. In fact, he kept cheering me on for every post, story, new addition to our store, and every sale made. I quite literally wouldn't be writing this post today without his support. You don't see him a lot on social media but he's a very present force in our business and I'm forever grateful for him. I'm passionate about growing a business that supports small makers and brings their goods to you.
6) We couldn't have made it without you-- Yes, you! Each and every one of you who followed, liked, shared, saved and purchased from us. We value you so much and we hope to meet more of you in person this year at some pop-up events. Stay tuned for more details.
So there you have it. It's been quite the year but we are very happy with what we have accomplished and are excited for all that this year will bring. Thanks for your support!
--Melissa and Adam