Have you ever dreamed of getting that ‘big break’ in your business? You know – landing a feature in the perfect magazine, being asked to sell your products at your dream venue, or perhaps having a fabulous celebrity singing the praises of your brand?
I bet you have… but is the big break really something worth chasing? Will it make that much difference to your business in the long run? Is it even possible to foresee the effect it might have?
Meet Alana, who owns Etta + Billie, a small bath and body product business based in San Francisco. Alana knows first-hand the effect a big break can have on your business, and the things you need to consider if such an opportunity comes your way.
Can you tell us a little bit about you and your business?
I’m a 31 year-old small town girl who owns a crafty business (and still has a day job), living in San Francisco with my husband. I am food obsessed (and always have been, just ask my mom), I love paging through magazines, reading on the bus, taking walks in my neighborhood, and bargain hunting. I have never considered myself a creative or crafty person so it still surprises me sometimes that I found a creative outlet in soap making and am building it into a business.
My business is Etta + Billie, where I make bath and body products with sustainable, natural ingredients that nourish the skin and look good enough to eat. I source items from across the globe, working to support small and local businesses whenever possible. I utilize my old school knowledge of the beneficial properties of herbs, botanicals and essential oils to infuse all my products. I named my business after my grandmothers, Grandma Etta and Grandma Billie.
What was your ‘big break’ moment, and how did it come about?
My big break moment was when I was invited to participate in a Pop Up shop inside the Banana Republic flagship store. This all came about because I am a part of an organization called SF Made, a non-profit dedicated to promoting and supporting manufacturing businesses based in San Francisco.
Etta + Billie was selected from hundreds of local manufactures to be featured in the Banana Republic Pop Up, which turned out to be a smashing success for everyone involved. The holiday Pop Up shop did so well that they decided to re-open for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, plus they invited me to sell some of my soaps online. The shop continues to be a success and my soaps sold out online within a month. I am so excited to see what the future holds.
What happened to your business and revenue after this occurred?
My business revenue has continued to increase and I’ve received many other offers to sell in stores across the country due to SF Made’s pop Up Shop exposure.
Would you do anything differently if this happened over again?
If this happened all over again, I would work on forecasting my inventory needs months and months ahead of time.
Would you actively seek out opportunities like this again, or rather spend your time focusing on other aspects of your business?
I think it is vital to get some ducks in a row before you attempt to get big accounts. As I mentioned before, I would have prepared myself ahead of time for an increase in production, i.e. purchasing additional equipment and supplies. I would also have prepared myself financially, time management-wise, and gotten my press materials together (I know I should already have these together but I don’t!). At the end of the day, if the opportunity for something big comes your way you should take advantage of it.
Have you had a ‘big break’ moment in your business?
I’d love to hear what it was… and how it has affected your business long-term.