Saturday, January 24, 2009

A few words about Prairieland Herbs, and the economy.

For the last....hmmm.....5-6 months or so, people in the shop have casually sidled up to us and said, with a hesitant look - "So, um....with the economy and are you doing?"

We have always given the same (truthful) answer. We are extremely lucky to have such fantastic and faithful customers, and are doing FINE, no, really!

Things look a bit grim in the big economic world - there's no doubting that. But you know what? We aren't exactly part of that, and never have been. We don't fit in most boxes. We are 2 women, working a small bit of land, making great bath and body products, teaching classes, and doing our best to enjoy life. Are we farmers? educators? shopkeepers? gardeners? crafters? "herbologists" (as our favorite mail carrier calls us)? artisans? international business mavens? Probably a little bit of of all of the above - except perhaps the last one. :)

I mean - our shop is in the middle of cornfields, on a gravel road. (!!!) We probably have broken every rule about "What not to do in business". And here we are - better than surviving. Thriving!

There IS some economic sense to this. First of all - the infamous Lipstick Effect. (no, I'm not kidding). This is a time-honored economic indicator, which basically goes as follows: When times get tough, people (women especially) treat themselves to something small and utterly luxurious. For many women, that means a divine new tube of lipstick in the (hopefully) perfect shade. Or something very similar...a divine handmade soap, for example?

Secondly - even Forbes has notice that people are still treating themselves to things like personal care products - despite the economic downturn. PLUS, they are turning more to natural remedies - instead of going to doctors. Yes, we agree 100% that that's happening - and would like to add the following observations:

1) When folks have less money, they care more about where it goes. Buying local, and/or from REAL ACTUAL PEOPLE, is a far more interesting and statisfying way to spend hard-earned dollars.

2) People are understanding that buying quality is better than buying quantity. It's more enjoyable and in the long run, more frugal.

So, this is what we are seeing, and experiencing ourselves. So we're interested to know - what do YOU think? Have you tightened your belt, or changed your spending habits?

We ARE going to have to raise our prices within the next month. We haven't raised prices for FOUR YEARS - just think about that, folks. Four years is a LONG time. The price of EVERYTHING has gone up in the last 4 years! And during those 4 years our business expanded at a rate that allowed us to buy raw materials in larger quantities, which helped offset rising prices. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to absorb price increases. But it is not due to economic woes, simply the natural process of economic inflation. We're not thrilled with it - but, that's how the world turns. So, you heard it here first (and we promise not to raise any prices without giving you plenty of notice to stock up at the"old" price).

But, our pledge to you is this: We will continue to provide you excellent customers service, and a fantastic, quality, handmade, homemade-with-genuine-love product, from real actual people. I hope that is worth a small price increase to all of you. :)


Tina Sams said...

I agree with much of that, and would add that I am choosing to purchase things from people I know - even if it means that the prices are slightly higher. If there is a history...if I feel that the person has worked hard and needs a hand over this bump in the road, whatever it is, I am MUCH more prone to spend my money with people I know, even if it is a virtual friendship.

Sarah said...

Absolutely! We're having the same experience here in Lancaster, PA. I do think that because people are being very careful with their money, they notice & appreciate that we take so much care of what we make and what we offer.

Shadows of the goddess designs said...

I shop that way also. I really choose how i am going to spend any extra $$ I have. And i choose things that comfort and pamper myself. I cant begin to afford a dr for little things and i find that herbal products take care of those little problems just as well..if not better than a dr visit. I am so glad you business is doing well... You have beautiful products at great prices.