Four Months In...

Wow! What else can I say? We went live for sales on May 1st and I am completely blown away by the amount of support we’ve received from the community at large here in the Arkansas River Valley. It’s a difficult thing to gauge just how well you will be received before you’ve actually taken the plunge. Obviously there’s a market for CBD products and there’s a market for locally owned and operated businesses. Queue the resounding cheers and hashtags of “Shop Local!” This sentiment has grown into something truly amazing here in our little piece of Arkansas. At first, however, it was family and friends who came to our side. They knew of our passion for this endeavor and saw first hand the hard work we had put in to turning Forge Creek Original Hemp Co. from a dream into a reality. The vast majority of our first web traffic, Facebook likes and shares, and sales came from those people. So to them I say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Now, wouldn’t it be great if that’s all it took to create a successful business? Then came the hard part...wading out of our little water hole and into a much bigger pond. Our very first event was the June Art Walk in Downtown Russellville, Arkansas. It was our very first time setting up our little canopy, hoping that we had a handle on our point of sales system, and wondering just what would be people’s reactions as they strolled by our booth and saw our freshly purchased Forge Creek Original Hemp Co. banner. I won’t lie, there were definitely some strange looks and within that first hour we became a little bit nervous. But as the evening continued something really cool happened: people actually started to approach our table. While the majority didn’t purchase anything, there were times when myself, Dylan, and Harlan were hardly enough to manage and respond to the curiosity and questions of those who were at least interested in what we were doing. I remember wrapping up and packing away our things and thinking that we had killed it! We had made some sales, took part in some wonderful conversations, handed out a ton of business cards and stickers, and had so much fun doing it. Not long after we attended our first ever Farmers’ Market in Dardanelle (shout out to DeLinda!) and found what I believe to be our home away from home. That first time at Market I think we made even more sales than at the Art Walk. While I always find myself mentioning sales, seeing as we are a business and it feels really good to see those numbers, that’s really only a small part of the equation. What really gets all of us going are the connections we’re making with each and every person that we interact with. People from all different walks of life, different ages, different politics, etc. As the marketing specialists would say, “this crosses demographics.” Being exposed to such a number of different people on any given day, while just a bit outside of my personal comfort zone, has been extremely rewarding in and of itself. The opportunity to answer questions, to hear people’s stories and troubles, hoping to find some relief. I’ve seen first hand many people made into believers and when they have success finding that relief which they crave, when they post on our Facebook a week or two later or catch us at the next event and tell us all about it, it puts so many things into perspective. I get to feel good from other people feeling better. Sales matter, I cannot honestly say that they don’t. They are the lifeblood by which we get to operate our business. But, if I had just wanted to sell something, I can guarantee you that I wouldn’t have picked such a difficult space to work in. With anything that we do, from creating products to the words I’m writing right this second, there is a load of red tape to work through. FDA, USDA, ASPB, local governments and agencies, State and Federal governments, law enforcement, just to name a few. Not to mention the difficulties of online marketing for our industry as a whole. I say these things not to portray us as having things so rough, but to shed some light on just how much we actually care about what we’re doing. This whole thing truly is a labor of love. And when we’re not answering questions, we’re listening. In the coming days we’ll be releasing a couple new products that I’m beyond excited to add to our catalog: a 1000mg broad spectrum CBD tincture and a 250mg unflavored broad spectrum CBD tincture for pets. This is in response to two of the most commonly asked questions directed our way: “Do you have anything stronger than 500mg?” and “Do you have anything for my dog/cat?” We’re looking forward to getting these into the hands of our loyal customers as soon as possible. This would not be possible or even thinkable at this stage in our development as a company without your overwhelming support. As happy as we are to get these products on the market, we are just as happy to be able to do so. I’m eager to receive even more feedback and maybe even a few pictures of appreciative animal friends. (No, seriously... I reeeally want #ForgeCreekPets posting to become a thing!)

 

It’s only been 4 months into this extravagant journey. There have been many, many ups and downs but I would not trade it for any other profession. We have a long ways to go on this adventure, ever-evolving, growing, and trying to do things better today than we did yesterday. Thank you for sticking around and for being a part of it, we are looking forward to an even brighter future.

 

Til next time...

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