Thank You 2017
New Year’s Eve is always a time to reflect on the past year. As with everyone, we all have ups and downs throughout the year. Sometimes things shine a little brighter from one year to another. However, this journey with Stone House Lavender has been untraveled territory for us. A year ago, none of us would have ever dreamed of owning a business, marketing our products or just growing lavender. Now that we have taken this path, we are so thankful that we did. So here is a little year in review for all to see where we’ve been and where we are going.
May 2017 – We read an article on growing lavender in WV and thought we would give it a try. Lots of reading and learning at this point to see if this was something we wanted to undertake.
June 2017 – We planted 3 dozen lavender plants on a test plot in our fields to see if lavender would even grow for us. Being that we aren’t seasoned farmers, we weren’t even sure if we could grow lavender.
July 2017 – Our test plot was showing successful growth. Therefore, we decided to take the plunge. We obtained a business license and we were off to the races. We had already been working on product development and testing products to see if we could even offer lavender value-added products. Our friends loved it because we were constantly sharing samples for feedback.
August 2017 – We collaborated with the WV Green Mining Business Model Program and decided to invest in our first large crop. A significant amount our spare time was devoted to developing a website that would share our farm and products to everyone. We met every Sunday to discuss our plans and timeline for release of our products and website. We had to design labels that would reflect our branding while still ensuring we meet FDA and WV Dept of Ag standards. Anyone that works in graphic design has our utmost respect. We learned quickly that is not an easy feat.
September 2017 – We released our website and online product sales on September 15. As with the start of any business, you run into technology glitches. But, that was only a slight hiccup. We were able to fix these problems in no time and keep on moving. We started the website with approximately 20 items listed. All in the same weekend that we launched the website, we planted our first 1000 lavender plants for production…How crazy were we?
October 2017 – Although the online sales of our handcrafted lavender products were successful, we quickly realized that people would much rather test the items before purchasing. Therefore, we started searching for events that we could participate in, to share our products. We found a Christmas Spectacular Event being held in November at Mylan Park and decided to give it a try.
November 2017 – Things really started to pick up for us in November. It could have been the holiday season approaching, word of mouth from the great reviews or just folks that were able to test the products in person. Whatever the reason, we were able to really start sharing our products. Since we all work full-time, many evenings were spent making more products. Our first vendor show was a great success…much better than we ever dreamed. Our preparation paid off!! As a result, we decided to participate in another vendor fair two weeks later. Anticipating a smaller crowd, we were pleasantly surprised by the continued customer support. We had new folks visit us and returning customers come to the event just because they heard we would be there. What a wonderful feeling that was!!!
December 2017 – We had planned all along to attend the Feast of the Seven Fishes Christmas event in Downtown Fairmont. Our expectations were not necessarily high sales, but more of an opportunity to share our branding to the local community. But, with a great product and positive attitude, we again surpassed all expectations. We even had several people that told us they specifically came to the Feast just to visit our booth and try more products. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, our gift basket sales went through the roof. In combination to that, we gladly wrapped gift sets and made customized baskets for our customers. They were a big hit.
Welcome 2018 – With our online inventory now containing over 45 items, we are continuing to research and develop more items. We have been working on some recipes for a couple months now, but still not completely happy with the final product. We refuse to release a product to our customers unless we are 100% satisfied that it is a top quality product. If we don’t like it…we won’t sell it. We plan to attend more events and participate in some farmer’s markets this coming spring/summer. We are also beginning to market our branding and Lavender Farm to future brides. We are also exploring other ideas on how we will offer our products so that others can sample our lavender treasures. Finally, we will be planting our second large crop this coming spring. We will be using the lessons learned from the first go around to make it a little easier the second time.
It has been an exciting, overwhelming and rewarding adventure for us. We are thankful for each of our customers, supporters, family and friends that have made this such a success. We wish you all a Happy New Year and encourage each of you to take the leap and try something new. We did and it has been a fulfilling and rewarding experience.
The pictures we share today are just a few pics of our year in review. Relax. Enjoy.
Happy New Year-
-Stone House Lavender Crew