Artisanal Manufacturing – Approaching the Market

The Second Chapter of the Green Soul Chronicles

Green Soul Botanicals is an emerging artisanal manufacturer. Artisanal manufacturers, for the purposes of this blog, means manufacturers with less than 10 employees, usually including the owners. These very small firms — there were about 164,000 of them in the U.S. in 2011 — comprise about 55% of all American manufacturing facilities. And new ones are constantly emerging.

There is plenty of information available for those who decide to go into business for themselves. But most of that is, understandably, rather general in nature. Since I happen to have an emerging artisanal manufacturing firm in my family, perhaps a series of posts on that firm’s actions and experiences will provide a useful example for others taking the plunge.

Chapter 1 discussed Green Soul’s mission statement. This post — the second chapter of the Green Soul Chronicles — outlines the market Green Soul serves and how Green Soul approaches that market.

Green Soul, its Products and the Markets it Serves

Green Soul Botanicals is firmly rooted in the very Green world of herbs. There is a clear understanding and appreciation of the herbs, of their properties and of the life force they possess.

At the same time, Green Soul is equally rooted in Spa and the worldview Spa guests embrace. Spa and the lifestyle Spa offers is a rapidly growing part of today’s culture. That lifestyle is one of tranquility, relaxation, clean, pure and natural — certainly Green. Make that a Zen, yet pampered shade of Green. Green Soul’s products bring the full natural power of herbs into the Spa.
Spa is a lifestyle phenomenon that a rapidly growing number of people are choosing and are willing to pay for — so, there is a substantial and growing market for Spa products. Here are some statistics for the U.S. Spa industry. Keep in mind that Spa is a global lifestyle phenomenon in which the U.S. is almost certainly not the volume leader.

U.S. Spa Industry Statistics

  2012 1999 Change
Locations 19,960 4,140 +382%
Guests 160 million 90.7 million +76%
Revenues $14 billion $5 billion +180%
Revenues / Location $700,000 $1.2 million -42%
Revenues / Guest $87.50 $55.13 +59%
Source: International Spa Association (iSpa)

Marketing

Green Soul’s approach to marketing follows, as it should, from Green Soul’s Mission Statement:

Green Soul Botanicals’ mission is to provide Spas, wellness professionals and fellow travelers on the Path with unique herbal products that are effective, luxurious and natural without artifice. In doing so, Green Soul Botanicals operates in an ethical and responsible manner, while providing right livelihood for those associated.

As you can see, Green Soul’s mission statement suggests three customer groupings: Spas, wellness professionals and fellow travelers on the Path (individuals that value the Spa lifestyle). Each of these groupings overlap and interact.

Spas >> There are almost 20,000 Spas in the U.S. alone. All of them are potential customers for Green Soul. Spas typically offer a menu of services, each of which consist of several steps, each step requiring an appropriate Spa product. Green Soul currently offers five treatment packages, each of which consists of a coordinated suite of products, along with protocols that specify which product to apply at each step in the treatment. Equipment and supplies requirements are also spelled out. Green Soul’s Wildflower West product range and its associated protocol constitutes a treatment package based in southwestern herbs. Spas also buy and resell retail quantities of the products used in the treatment package.

Wellness Professionals >> These are the people who actually treat Spa guests. They are typically licensed massage therapists or other holistic practitioners. Their opinions regarding choice of Spa products are based in experience, hence are usually influential. Wellness professionals often have private practices, along with engagement at the Spa. These professionals constitute a market for Spa products for their private practices. They are also of critical importance in selling to Spas.

Travelers on the Path >> These are the people growing legion who value the Spa lifestyle and share the Spa worldview. The experience they receive from Spa and Spa products makes them Green Soul’s ultimate customer. It also makes them candidates for retail quantities of Spa products for home use.

Green Soul’s Products

The mission statement describes Green Soul’s products in general terms: unique herbal products that are effective, luxurious and natural without artifice. They are tangible products — herbal creams, lotions and powders — which, in the hands of skilled Spa therapists, create the intangible, ineffable experience that Spa goers seek (and expect).

Unlike a chemist, an herbalist views herbs as living things, rather than as collections of molecules. Green Soul’s products are differentiated by the herbalist’s ability to bring the vital qualities of the herbs into the Spa. By analogy, most people recognize the distinction between vitamins conveyed by fresh, natural foods and those conveyed through vitamin tablets.

Green Soul’s products are further differentiated by artisanal production processes. With such processes, small quantities are produced with the full attention and intention of a master artisan. Consider, for example, the vinting of a fine wine. Art meets manufacturing technology. The results are unmistakable.

================================================================

Jera Logo white with caption centeredThe Green Soul Chronicles are intended to serve as an example — how one emerging artisanal manufacturer is approaching the problems of start-up and growth. Of course, all businesses are different: one size certainly doesn’t fit all. Use that which works for your situation.

Contact me when your firm confronts manufacturing in the 21st century,

… Chuck Harrington (Chuck@JeraSustainableDevelopment.com)

For more on Green Soul and its products, see www.TheSpaHerbalist.com

For more on Artisanal Manufacturing, see this blog: Artisanal Manufacturing, www.JeraSustainableDevelopment.com/2014/03/12/artisanal-manufacturing-2/ and The Green in Green Soul, the first chapter of the Green Soul Chronicles, at www.JeraSustainableDevelopment.com/2014/05/21/the-green-in-green-soul/