Before businesses in Allegheny Co., Pa were ordered to shut their doors, Thrive on Health was a central health and wellness hub for Brookline-area residents. Owner Kelly Bender and her practitioner partners offered services such as massage therapy, energy work, and group meditations.
Before businesses in Allegheny Co., Pa were ordered to shut their doors, Thrive on Health was a central health and wellness hub for Brookline-area residents. Owner Kelly Bender and her practitioner partners offered services such as massage therapy, energy work, and group meditations. The stay at home order halted their in-person work with clients, but Kelly conceived of a surprising pivot, turning their modest retail inventory (and previously smallest revenue stream) into Mystery Self-Care Bundles to continue providing care to her clients at home.
Within the first few days of Thrive on Health’s closure, Kelly hastily built and populated their online shop with their retail products (which are made from both Thrive on Health and wholesale partners) and began marketing their self-care packages. The bundles range from $25-$75 and include products such as salt soaks with guided meditations, Ayurvedic chocolate, handmade bath bombs, jewelry, crystals, and much more. When customers order, they can provide preferences for items they want to receive or describe the person who is receiving the gift. Then, Kelly and her intuitive team dutifully pick each item to make every mystery package feel special and unique for recipients.
After Thrive on Health sold most of their inventory, orders kept flowing in. To meet customer demand, Kelly actually expanded their retail and reached out to her collaborative community of wholesale partners and other artisans to help them sell their products too.
“We’re strengthening our relationships with community makers and small businesses that we collaborate with, which was definitely not the outcome I expected from the situation,” she says.
Kelly also utilized her talented team of tarot card readers, massage therapists, and energy healers for making more in-house products as well. She turned their office into a craft space where they assembled smudge sticks and mixed tourmaline bath bombs—items that they were already making for friends and family outside of work.
“Whatever your team is doing, it’s not the full scope of what they’re passionate about and capable of,” Kelly says. Her advice to other small business owners is to find what other talents and interests their team members have and incorporate them.
Since launching their Mystery Self-Care Bundles, Thrive on Health has gained many new customers, and stayed connected with clients who frequented their studio. One gift resonated so much with one customer, she then ordered five more bundles for family members and friends. Kelly hasn’t personally met this customer but delivered the orders to all the recipients’ houses, “which feels special,” she says.
The entire Thrive on Health team is honored to support people’s self-care rituals and hopes to introduce people to their new favorite self-care product or brand. Kelly intends to continue the Mystery Self-Care bundles long after her clients can return to the studio. She has even added a monthly or quarterly subscription box to the online shop, along with a survey tool so customers can choose the types of items they’d like to see in their bundles.
Kelly’s pivot has changed the way she sees her business, and she intends to continue focusing more on retail sales as part of Thrive on Health’s daily operations and studio offerings when they reopen. Going forward, she plans to consult with her eforever group about inventory management and best shipping practices.
“At first, it was just about liquidating what was on the shelves to pay the bills. But the coolest part about the pivot is that it turned into another passion project, not just a safety net,” Kelly says.
Starting a new business is about opening new doors. For Andrew Ellsworth, this isn’t an analogy. It’s his business plan.
Deciding to start your own business is one thing. Leaving a successful 25-year career in pharmaceutical research and development to do it is quite another. Yet that’s what Anita Russell faced in 2013.
Throughout her life, Story-Camp has been a temp, a waiter, a realtor, a journalist and a stage actor. A self-proclaimed “Soap Goddess” and successful boutique soap store owner? The birth of her son, Pip, set those wheels in motion.