February was one of our company’s strongest months. We’d had our goals mapped out and ready to go since the beginning of 2020—including investor meetings, exploring new real estate locations around the country and expanding our wholesale programs.
Within a few weeks, all that came to an abrupt halt. When news and threat of the coronavirus became more imminent, I knew that my business faced tough days ahead. The days and weeks to come were some of the most challenging in my entire career. Our company had gone from thriving in sales to barely making payroll within a matter of days. Our workforce of 120 employees reduced to 10 overnight. The future looked bleak.
What gave me hope was to see our online store had picked up in revenue. After a few days of adjusting to the new normal, we quickly re-calibrated the team members we still had employed to now focus on fulfilling online orders in our shipping and handling department. I decided to increase our marketing budget online, hoping that we could further boost sales and gain back the lost revenue from not having the retail stores open. Luckily, this strategy worked, and it gave our online store the most significant increase we’ve seen in revenue month over month.
Next, I started to research how we would be able to leverage our manufacturing facility that typically manufactures our bath products to now also start producing hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizers had, overnight, become one of the most sought after items in the world. After a long week of negotiations with suppliers and looking for viable sources, we were finally able to get the supplies we needed, and we started to churn out hand sanitizers. It was not easy at first. We had to learn on our own how to process and bottle the product. After many trials and errors, we finally figured it out. We started selling our hand sanitizers online and sold out within a few days. We also found other businesses that were looking to buy them in bulk. Before we knew it, we were at a turning point for the company, which put us in a position to call back to work almost all of the employees we had laid off just a month earlier.
While my story can be reviewed as a success story, I acknowledge that the health and financial crisis continues to ravage our city. I made it a goal to ensure that we would pay it forward. We decided to host a hand sanitizer drive-thru service at our headquarters to benefit Las Vegas residents. As we navigate this health crisis, we want our communities to know that we put them at the heart of everything we do. We want to ensure that everyone has access to hand sanitizers at a generous rate to help keep themselves and their families safe and healthy. We will continue to create engaging experiences even during these trying times.
Now, we are once again able to focus on growing the brand. We have new positions that opened up to help support that growth. We are slowly on the path to getting all our retail stores open again. We know that it will be a while before our stores fully recover, and once we acclimate to the new way of retailing at our stores, I am confident that we will perform even better than we did before. We will do whatever it takes to evolve and stay innovative to continue serving our people and our customers. The power of the human connection will never go away; it is within our company’s DNA.
As I reflect, I am thankful for many things despite the circumstances, but I am most grateful for the agility my team had during this crisis. Without them, I would not be able to tell this story.