We recently released brand new Balanced Bites Spices in regular sized jars, and with that launch came a handful of questions.
In this post, I'm going to share answers to your questions as well as the background on why we made the shift to regular sized jars (away from large jars), and what I learned in the process.
First, let me say that I know that for many of you, this isn't a welcomed change. I promise you, I truly loved introducing large jars of organic spices in 2016 as I felt it was a really unique and fun option.
That said, I am running a business with Balanced Bites, it isn't a hobby nor is it a side-hustle.
Balanced Bites Wholesome Foods is my numero uno, my passion, my baby, and the business I'll be pouring my energy into for years to come.
When I launched Balanced Bites Spices, I did my best to offer a value-based price off the bat at $16.99 for a very large jar of organic spice blend. The real value of those jars was more accurately at least around a $19.99 price point.
I'm going to get really real here, as transparency and honesty are of the utmost importance to me as a business owner.
Q: Why did you discontinue the large jars?
A: Keeping them was not going to allow us to maintain and grow the business. This was a financial decision, not one based simply on what I’d like to do as a matter of preference.
What I learned with the initial launch of large jars was that:
1. The size of the jars, despite strong efforts to educate my customers (or potential customers), was confusing to the average consumer. Further:
- The majority of spices on the market are sold in a very traditionally sized jar.
- A traditional size jar fits into most spice racks and other home organizing systems.
- It is also what people expect when they buy spices, especially when shopping online and seeing/feeling isn't possible before ordering.
To attempt to do something so different in this way was confusing to most people. When you confuse people, you lose them – if you are a business owner, this is an important lesson!
2. The price I wanted to offer didn't align with the current retail and shopping/consumer trend of consistently wanting to shop with a discount code whenever possible.
- I set the prices of the large jars at a rate I felt was really value-based, but I probably should have priced them a bit higher, and offered more discount codes.
- As crazy as it may sound to you, the customer, think about your perception of pricing as you move around the internet. When you see a price, you may or may not resist it, but you almost always ask yourself “I wonder if there's a code I can use?”
- Pricing is a really important part of what we do as business owners. We want and need to price an item in a way that feels aligned with the marketplace and our position in it (I feel these blends are among the best quality, freshest, and most thoughtfully created that you can find). Offering the lowest prices isn't always ideal, but neither is a price that's too high for people to wrap their heads around.
- So, between the large jars and the slightly higher-than-typical price point (despite it being an amazing value for the size), the confusion led us to not sell as much of our inventory as quickly as we had expected.
Ultimately, I needed to adjust both our jar size and our per-ounce pricing for those reasons.
Why are you now offering Balanced Bites Spices in regular sized jars?
1. These are now a product in a size that make more sense to the average consumer, that will fit into typical spice racks, and that can be purchased with aligned expectations.
- Note: we recently released Phase 1 of our refill bags for these new jars! Initially, they are not as eco-friendly of an option due to time and availability constraints in the current economic climate. We are now selling ~1oz refill bags in bundles of two, so you'll need to cut the tops off of two bags to refill one of the new jars (and about 3 or 4 bags to refill one of your original, large jars).
- In a Phase 2 of this plan, we will transition to all eco-friendly, cut-and-drop refill bags (I hope by 2021) for all of our blends. This means that, in time, you'll be able to buy jars when you need them, then simply replace the spices inside them by cutting the top off of a refill pouch, and dumping them straight into the jars in a 1-to-1 refill size.
2. The prices now much more accurately reflect the true value of the product we're providing, and that also will allow us a little wiggle room to offer more coupon codes than we used to, making them even more affordable.
This will also allow us to set up an affiliate program to thank those who generously share about our products to their audiences via social media, email, blogs, etc. Remember, content creators, bloggers, authors, influencers, etc. are working. It is a job for them to share about products they love with all of you, so they should be thanked for their work monetarily. In order for you to keep enjoying their content for free, companies like mine do our best to give them commissions on their referrals.
Another major lesson I learned running this business: things can't and don't always happen at the speed I want them to happen.
What I mean by this is that I can want to order inventory in a certain type of packaging today, but it may not be available today for a variety of reasons.
These reasons include: the timing of spice imports (usually once a year based on seasonal harvests around the globe – interesting, right?!), availability of packaging (also often globally-sourced, which is challenging right now especially due to COVID-19), the time it takes to get USDA organic approvals, the time it takes to print labels (if the printers are functioning/taking new clients), the queue within your co-packer's schedule to get on their calendar for mixing and bottling of your product… the list goes on and on!
This is a lot of information, I know!
And, many of you likely don't care much about any of it. Perhaps you were curious why we changed or shifted our jar size, perhaps you were upset about it, perhaps you really couldn't care less.
The reason I shared all of this background and contextual information is to keep you informed.
It's important to me that you, our valued customer, understands the whys and hows of running a small consumer product business like this one.
We're so grateful for your support, and we are growing! But, our growth isn't exponential or something that allows us to operate the way a really big company might. I want to pay my team a fair wage, and I want to pay my vendors their worth, too.
While there are certainly less expensive options out there, I hope you know that the prices we charge for our goods are to help support people in every step of their production and sale to you.
A bright spot for everyone: you’ll see discount codes and special offers more often, however. So if now isn’t the time, then just wait and be sure you're signed up to receive our Balanced Bites Insider emails.
Still have questions? Send me an email to hello (at) blog.balancedbites.com and I'll do my best to reply and help out!