We had a chance to sit down with Sarah Dunlop, owner and creator of SarahBea LLC. Sales is Dunlop's full time gig, but over the years she has used her sales experience and entrepreneurial spirit to start and maintain a successful side business. Over time, she has really grown in both her knowledge about running a business and her appreciation of the work it takes. She has been in business since 2015 and shared with us some of her tricks of the trade on how to keep customers happy and coming back!
Dunlop sells grain free granola! She makes anything from granola bars, granola bites, and masks! She recently has even developed her very own grain free cookie dough that you can buy at the markets and cook at home. We know, impressive right? Based in Phoenix, AZ, she sells her products at local shops, farmers markets, and online.
Originally Dunlop had no intention of selling her granola. It started out as just a gift to family members for Christmas. They loved it and encouraged her to sell the granola. She was obviously skeptical but decided to take it to the next level selling it at the Christmas market at her local church. She sold out in hours! It wasn’t until 2016 when she started taking real steps to try to make her business profitable. She created a website and started selling consistently at local farmers markets and even getting her products into small shops and restaurants.
When Dunlop got started, she dealt with a lot of unknowns that come with the food industry. She realized there are different variables a business owner has to consider when developing a strategy on how to sell their product such as:
Dunlop stressed the importance of getting to know the customer base you want and strategically placing your product in places where it can succeed. For her grain free granola, it was local farmers markets.
Local farmers markets were the perfect place for her new and unique product to not only gain traction but grow exponentially. The type of consumers farmers markets attract were perfect for her product because they were willing to try new and fresh food. This was important for her because one of her biggest marketing strategies was having people taste the product. She said, “once people try the granola bars they love them!” Growth is dependent on taking advantage of what your industry gives you. Dunlop has cracked that code.
Don’t get anxious and frustrated when things don’t workout the way you planned at first. Make sure you have the information to effectively promote and produce your product. Gather information on your customer base and go from there. The speed at which a business grows is different for everyone. Patience is key!
Know what kind of marketing works for your product. For Dunlop, especially early on, it was face to face and that helped her solidify her brand within her community which eventually led to continual growth.
Dunlop tested her product on her friends and family before putting it in the market. This tactic helped her develop a solid customer base and gave her a chance to try new products out on customers that trust her product that will give honest feedback.
Understand how your industry works. Not knowing the ins and outs of your industry could be threatening to your business as time goes on.
Dunlop believes her product is great and is confident in it. If you’re not confident in your own product then there is no reason to go through all the trouble of starting a business. Believe in yourself and your product can go a long way!
Everyone has felt the weight of the pandemic, Dunlop included. When it hit she had to change her whole marketing strategy because a lot of it included seeing customers face to face. Before the pandemic, the business was thriving. They were gaining a great following and people were loving their product because they could try and buy it on site.
As the pandemic started progressing Dunlop had to pivot towards her website for advertising and product sales. The switch held for a while, but ultimately died out because she wasn’t seeing enough growth.
Right now, SarahBea LLC is still functioning. Their online website is producing sales and since the restriction has let up regarding quarantine she has continued selling in farmers markets as well. Dunlop has even started to sell her granola bars in two local shops: a local breakfast restaurant and a yogurt shop!
Where to buy SarahBea LLC grain free granola:
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