Welcome to 2017, A Look Ahead + A Special Shout Out to One Incredible Customer
Welcome to the New Year! I hope each of you had a wonderful holiday season and were able to relax and spend time with the important people in your life.
We had not only our best December ever (as in EVER – in my 9+ years of owning a handmade business), but as we’re working on the numbers for all of 2016, it looks like we at least quadrupled our 2015 sales! So a big THANK YOU to you, our loyal supporters – thanks for placing orders and reorders, sharing your product recommendations with your friends and families, both through our affiliate program and on your own, and recommending potential wholesale accounts. We could not have done it without you.
A special shout out goes to Mike, a local customer who sent an email sharing that he was a fan of the company and the products, and asked if it’d be alright if he submitted A.J. Murray’s for consideration for inclusion in ‘The Best’ section of the Louisville newspaper, the Courier-Journal. We had a great conversation, and of course I gave my blessing and thanked him for even considering suggesting us. I was told that if selected, the article would appear a few weeks before Christmas, but as always with media, nothing is ever guaranteed. Also with press mentions, there’s never a way to gauge how well it will be received and/or if that mention will convert into sales.
I put the potential article in the back of my mind, as this happened back in October, and we continued our production of inventory to stock for our traditional and projected holiday sales season. Fast forward a few months, and I realized that we weren’t nearly as ready as we’d needed to be. At 5 am on December 11th, when sales notification emails hit one right after the other, I got a glimpse of how well this unexpected, but very complimentary article was being received in the Louisville, Kentucky area. The next few days brought hundreds of new, local customers to our website to purchase A.J. Murray’s products. That doesn’t even include the swarm of orders from Florida, where a number of our residents spend the winter months, or our normal holiday sales. Our website, email and social media messaging was flooded with orders for the next week and beyond as a result of this single article.
The last line of Mike’s article mentioned one of our wholesale accounts, which ended up selling out of their inventory at both locations the day the article was released. We restocked both their locations at least twice more before Christmas, along with other local and regional retailers due to the volume of calls and customers coming in specifically asking for A.J. Murray’s products. Other local shops have since reached out asking about wholesale opportunities as well. What an overwhelming & humbling experience that was for us! We weren’t prepared to have such an increase of orders, but our team really pulled together and worked long hours to make sure everything got done and we took care of every customer.
All of this because of a single customer who took the time to spread the word about a product and company he personally likes. The moral of the story is: don’t ever think that your voice and opinion doesn’t matter – it truly does, and can make an amazing difference to a family owned business. We had an incredible year already, but that article really put things over the top.
Mike’s got our undying gratitude (along with a pretty sweet ‘thank you’ package) just for taking the time to share his opinion. So if you have a minute or two, please take the time to leave a review on our website about your favorite A.J. Murray’s product(s) – it will help others decide if the product is right for them, and a testimony from an actual customer testimonial carries much more weight with potential customers than any promotional piece we could create. Your product review and/or comments, likes and shares on social media can help us quadruple sales again in 2017, and in turn, make an even bigger donation to Active Heroes, helping active duty military, veterans and their families.
2017 is going to be an even better year for us! We’ll continue to nurture relationships with our existing and new customers, and keep producing our high quality grooming products while scaling production to meet the increased demands of both the wholesale and retail sides of our business.
We’ve added a number of new retailers in the last couple of months and will feature them individually in upcoming blog posts. Our outreach to retailers will be a big focus this year, as we have a pretty big goal of getting into at least one store in each of the 50 states this year.
We’re also retiring some products and scents and adding new ones, so stay tuned for sneak peeks and opportunities to join our tester panel to test products while they’re in development and share your opinions, having a direct impact in how the final version comes out.
Thanks again for your continued support, and here’s to all of us having a wonderful 2017!