Well, it's been a week.
I mean, literally, it's been a week. Last week I posted an update on my actions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and so much has changed since then, so here's another update for you.
Twinkle Apothecary is now open online only for the foreseeable future, and I am no longer offering store pickup or refills.
Why? Because none of us need to be leaving our houses for anything other than basic necessities. I'm going to work to fulfill orders and keep my business running because it's my entire livelihood, but there's no absolutely no good reason that anyone else needs to come by right now.
I'm very lucky* to be in a situation where I can run my business online, and I am going to continue to work for as long as I'm able, as long as doing so isn't endangering others. I work alone in my studio (well, with my son in tow now,) always under strict sanitary conditions so there's minimal risk of catching or passing along illness, as long as we practice social distancing and keep my doors closed to the public. I'm taking things one day at a time, like everyone else, and will adjust and adapt as the situation unfolds.
How does this affect you?
If you're not in Oklahoma City and you've always shopped online, not much! I expect that my order processing time might slow down a bit as my suppliers have probably had to cut staff and/or are working from home. I'm trying to be patient with them and not add to their strain, but I'm already feeling the drag of waiting for materials and packaging to come in - although that might just be because my order volume increased so much this week due to the fact that you all are amazing and have shown me and my small business so much love and support! (THANK YOU!)
Normally I'm very on top of keeping everything in-stock, but in the event that I'm not able to meet my usual "ship within 3 business days" policy, what I plan to do is simply update the listing to let you know when the item will ship.
For example, right now I'm out of ylang ylang original formula deodorant because I'm waiting on a shipment of shea butter. I expect the shea butter to arrive sometime next week, and I should be able to make a batch by next Friday. Instead of listing the item as "sold out" I'm going to leave it available to purchase, but with a note saying when it will ship. Here's what that looks like:
This way, you can go ahead and place your order for your preferred scent, knowing when it will ship, and I'll have income to keep my business running and will be able to better plan my production - meaning I'll know that when I receive my shea butter, the first thing I need to do is make a batch of original formula ylang ylang deodorant for you.
Otherwise, I don't really know what might change.
I hope I don't come off as too doomy and gloomy, but I think that this pandemic is going to change life as we know it. I think it's going to change the way we socialize, shop, eat, dress, accessorize, fix our hair, take care of our skin, groom our bodies, and do our makeup. I know there will always be a place for my brand and a need for the products that I make, and personally I've found so much comfort in opening up my medicine cabinet to do my skincare routine at night, or stopping to smell my perfumes over this past week. I haven't had much time to plan or process anything yet, but I expect that I'll be adjusting my product assortment over time, probably paring down and tightening up everything to stay afloat - but rest assured that I'll never stop creating good things and finding ways to share them with the world.
I don't know when I'll be able to open up as a brick and mortar shop again, or if it will ever even make sense to do so. I'm feeling a lot of grief over this that I don't actually have time to process at the moment, because thankfully, I have a lot of work to do. I can tell you that even after just a few days, it's becoming more and more difficult to go to work everyday in a non-functioning "shop." I make things and put them on the shelves, and knowing that no one will be by to look at them is... well, not a great feeling, so I'm currently resisting the urge to rearrange all of the furniture. I want to say that I hope we can all get back to normal again soon, but I don't think there's going to be a normal again for a while, so, I don't know... but I'm not giving up hope!
If you're a local customer in OKC:
Please, shop online. Don't just follow me on Instagram and say, "Oh when you're open again I need to come by." That. won't. do. Click on the links and go to my website and place an order if you have the means. If you don't shop online now there won't ever be a time that I can open again. I'm sorry that I'm not able to offer refills or order pickup for now, but it's for all of our own good and I hope that you understand.
I'm going to miss seeing you all so much. Even though I started Twinkle Apothecary with the intention of it being an online-only business, I wouldn't be here without the support of my local customers, and many of you have been with me since my first days at the farmer's market. Having a retail shop has always been a life-long dream of mine, and you made it possible. It's been such a joy to be able to interact with you all in person, and I want you to know that I didn't take a moment of it for granted. Realizing just how much it means to me to have that in-person connection makes me feel determined to figure out a way to make it work again someday, somehow.
So where do we go from here?
No idea! I expect that I'll turn to this blog, videos, emails, Instagram (ugh,) to connect with you and let you know about everything I have going on so make sure to follow me and keep checking back. I'll be sending out free samples with every order for the time being, since I no longer have my "freebie bowl" in the shop - right now it's facemask samples, but it will probably be something new every week!
I'm so excited for you to smell the April perfume junkie scent (ok I'll even spoil the surprise - it's called "Fancy Face" because it smells just like the toning mist, only it lasts a whole lot longer!) and to try the new facial oils I'm working on - for both sensitive and acne prone skin - so stay tuned for those releases.
Of course, there's always beauty boxes to look forward to each month, and I just listed this new "Stay Home" box, which is a care package full of surprise goodies to comfort you and keep you well while you're staying inside. I also figured it'd be a good sampler for those of you who've been wanting to try my products but didn't know where to start, or something my current customers could gift to their friends to support my brand while giving them a range of samples to fall in love with and hopefully get them hooked on the Twinkle goodness!
I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for the orders you've sent my way this month, and I feel blessed to be able to keep going, despite all of the craziness in the world. We have to find ways to come together (even though we're physically apart) and help each other, and I want you to know that I appreciate all of you so much, and I'm here, trying to figure out how to do my part.
So let me know if you need me, and keep checking back to see what I'm up to - I'll be posting here as much as possible to keep you informed and hopefully entertained too?!
Cheers to everything being awful and crazy and weird and hard, I guess...
- Stefanie -
*Luck has very little to do with it - everything about my business model is intentional, and if I'm lucky, it's because I'm very smart, creative, careful. I started this business knowing that I needed to find a way to keep myself employed and financially support myself and my son no matter what, and I'm well aware that none of it is guaranteed so my goal has always been to make myself ready to adapt to whatever comes my way.
If you are someone who is lucky enough to have job security during this time, please do everything that you can to support small businesses. You now have a chance to make a huge positive difference in the lives of people in your community, just by shopping local. If there's something you can buy from an independent shop instead of going out to Target or Walmart or Amazon, DO IT! Be patient with the process though - none of us were expecting this and we're all doing our best to adapt.