We love to hear stories about our merchants’ ecommerce journeys, so we’re sharing them for you to enjoy as well. Read on to learn about how Moonshine Still Pro has found success with their online store (via Russell Creed, Owner).
What inspired you to start your online store?
I started my online store selling whiskey distilling parts and supplies as a way to subsidize a hobby. For a couple of years, it was mostly a means of accessing supplies more effectively at wholesale cost while making sure that I wasn’t losing money on another hobby, but it’s grown to be much more than that. In the last four years I’ve become more mindful about turning it into a business, and I’ve really enjoyed the personal growth of running a small, family-owned business with my wife.
What is your favorite part of running an ecommerce business?
I love the connections you make as a business owner. You wouldn’t think that would happen in ecommerce since it’s digital, but it does. It’s especially cool within our space because our main customers tend to be backyard rebels and experimentalists. I also get to make connections with craft distillers around the country, most of whom started out in a hobby space on a home still perfecting their creations. Now, as they give tours in their own large craft distilleries and are asked about getting started, they can send those customers my way for supplies. It’s also fun making connections with “celebrities” within the bourbon- and spirits-making industry.
What do you like most about Volusion’s ecommerce solution?
Volusion makes it easy to add products and manage them. Ecommerce is not our expertise—the products and product know-how are—so as someone who isn't very technically-inclined in terms of setting up an ecommerce space, Volusion is easy to use to get products out into the marketplace. I also like the reports on how we’re doing with sales—part of taking a more business-oriented approach over the past few years means that I’m now looking through Volusion’s reporting more than ever for areas we can improve.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about running your business?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is to listen to and understand your customers. A lot of what we've added to our product line is specifically due to customer requests, which means we now have unique products that are not sold anywhere else. Our customers also were having trouble accessing grain from farmers since they really only need a few bags at a time, so we’ve been able to establish partnerships with farmers and grain suppliers who are now supplying around the country to home distillers.
What does the future hold for your business?
We plan to expand our local presence by taking part in more local activities to promote the business, and we also hope to get connected to more companies and conferences. One surprising customer base that has emerged for us in recent years is plumbers and builders—we sell unique copper solutions that the building community is finding value in for high-end, custom home building. Those customers are finding us serendipitously just because no one else is selling anything like what they need, so we plan to expand our marketing to focus on that segment.