SMALL BUSINESS REALITIES DURING A RECESSION
Floré has been around for 40 years, and during that time the economy has gone through several recessions.
This is the first time for us as owners, and honestly, it’s a little scary.
We have been uncomfortable before, but it was a very different circumstance. Within seven months of purchasing Floré, a global pandemic was declared and we shut down for a while. That was an uncomfortable situation, having just spent our savings to purchase a business that was now closed for an undetermined amount of time.
Thankfully it was a relatively short closure. We confirmed that as we had no employees and were not open to the public, we could continue to make and sell incense online.
We had purchased a wholesale business and intended to keep it that way until we were prepared to make the leap to direct to consumer. The pandemic forced us to make the pivot, and fast. So many of our wholesale clients were forced to close down and scramble to make the transition to online retail to sustain their businesses as well.
Without anticipating it, we found ourselves in an intense mode of thriving. We experienced a boom as consumers staying home looked for options to provide comfort and to enhance their at home experience. We had the cash flow to make some very necessary upgrades to our packaging, website, and infrastructure.
It was exhausting, but exciting. We had so much to do, so much incense to produce, but it also meant we could pay ourselves sooner than we expected.
Now, over two years into the pandemic, the impact on the supply chain is affecting our business across every material and service we have. And the boom has slowed, the market has changed as inflation is impacting all aspects of life. We are experiencing significant cost increases across shipping, cardboard boxes, and all of our fragrance oils. When we go to order more raw sticks and cones, we know we will see increases and are hoping they are manageable.
As a company of two owner-operators who do the majority of the work, we have few places to trim expenses. In fact, we need to grow our business in order to survive, which in an economic downturn is going to be a huge challenge. We need more customers to get the cash flow to keep up with expenses. We are going to need to spend more money before we make it. We also need to increase our prices. This always makes us feel uncomfortable, we know it’s going to be yet another price increase announcement for our customers.
The founder told us that she had weathered many an economic storm, and Floré appeared to be rather ‘recession-proof’. She did not say that came without struggle, or moments of panic and possibly desperation. We can only believe in ourselves, our product, and move forward with the intention of making the best incense we can, and that it brings joy and comfort to those who use it. We are grateful to all of our customers, and hope to serve them for many years to come.
Kayte & Kristi