When the Market Pivots, So Can You – Under the Stars Lavender Farm

Ideally, you'd have months of planning to change your business strategy. Unfortunately, COVID-19 didn't give anyone fair warning, and many small businesses are suffering as a result. While new ways to do business should always be at the forefront of any owner's mind, there is a more specific term known as "pivoting" that becomes necessary in times of crisis. This means to consider the products, services, and talents that you provide, along with all resources available to you, like your facility, technology, and staffing, to repurpose them; or to solve problems another way to meet your customer's needs.

Sometimes it takes a big event, like the coronavirus, to force us into that change. But when the market pivots, so can you. Even better, there's a workshop coming up through the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce that helps you do just that.

The Pivot

You see, CJ McDonald owns Under the Stars Farm in Gloucester, VA. It just so happens that she also has 23+ years' experience as a Business Strategist, which she gained through her company, CJ McDonald, a consulting and copywriting firm. The fragrant little farm is a result of wanting to spend more time with her family and choosing to leave the corporate world behind. She, her husband, and their children work together growing and selling Lavender and Lavender made products in Gloucester, VA.

They were scheduled to have their inaugural 1st Bloom Lavender Festival on May 9th. They had to pivot to accommodate the current market and social distancing guidelines. The festival was postponed until July, but customers still wanted their "lavender treats" for Mother's Day. So, Under the Stars Farm kept the date and used it to host a Mother's Day Lavender Drive-Thru. This event also partners with Zoll Vineyards, to include additional products, like a unique lavender Sangria.

Anyone looking for a unique way to celebrate their mom, lavender, or simply getting out of the house, can shop their "Addicted to Lavender" product line in advance. On May 9th, all orders can be picked up from Bridgepoint Church, in a drive-thru fashion from 10-4 pm. Customers will be greeted by the staff, guided to a parking spot, and orders will be brought out to your car.

Another way that CJ is pivoting is by extending this workshop to other businesses in the community. She feels that this is the perfect time for her to use her skills and services to give back. "Inaction is far riskier than a pivot. Doing nothing can lead to a failed business. However, many business owners aren't quite sure how to strategically pivot when they are in survival mode. This is where I can help," says CJ.

The Workshop

To get more information, please follow the official Facebook event page. This workshop will be hosted via a zoom call, where other business owners can join, ask questions, and brainstorm their unique offerings and challenges. She will discuss:

  • New ideas to deliver value. Is electronic delivery of your product or service an option? How about direct to the customer?

  • Partnerships could be the difference. Can you deliver the needed value working with partners?

  • Outside the box. What new products or services could you create with existing resources? Are there options that you would never consider under normal circumstances?

  • Monetize differently. Have you considered packaging your products or services differently, perhaps a subscription or alternate payment method?

Registration in advance is not necessary, but you can learn more through the Facebook Event page.

Under the Stars

Under the Stars Farm was born out of the desire to bridge the gap, find a solution, and create an experience for others. "We want to encourage families to get back outside and enjoy time together doing the simple things like a picnic or lawn games and what better place to do it than amongst lavender," said CJ

Before they started this journey, they learned that the U.S. is the 2nd largest consumer of lavender in the world, yet only produces 2% of the crop. They saw a need for locally grown lavender and set out to meet it. Their product line includes a culinary and spa collection, both of which are handcrafted. The lavender used comes straight from the farm and is combined with all-natural ingredients, so you know exactly what you are putting in and on your body.