“I do put a lot of effort into my marketing,” says Justine Anderson, owner of Wildflower Company.
Small wonder then that the 29-year-old entrepreneur was recently honoured with the Excellence in Marketing award at this year’s annual Youth Venture Ceremony.
This is Anderson’s last year of eligibility to be considered for a Youth Ventures award.
For the third summer in a row, Anderson has maintained a kiosk at Scott’s Cove Park to sell her Wildflower Company products to passersby.
She specializes in all natural holistic and homemade skincare products containing ingredients that are locally sourced. She also sells dreamcatchers and fragrant candles.
“I take advantage of free marketing as much as possible,” says Anderson, who does invest in printed business cars and brochures as well. “Social media is big. I started a blog and that’s all free marketing. So that attracts people that are interested in reading about stuff that I write about, and then they find out about the business, and then Instagram and Facebook – I’m big in putting myself out there and putting the business out there with that.”
Growing the Wildflower brand that way has allowed Anderson to reach clients well beyond the tourists and the locals who wander the Port aux Basques waterfront.
“I’ve got customers from Texas and New York,” she says.
“I’ve got a store in New York that has ordered from me twice to sell my products in her store,” adds Anderson. “And that’s all through social media.”
Sometimes Anderson will initiate contact but there have been times customers have sought out her Newfoundland-themed offerings as well.
“Some of our products are original and unique to me, but they are products that other people do too,” admits Anderson. “I use wildflowers that grow here in Newfoundland . . . plus I use only Newfoundland beeswax.”
That last part is important, notes Anderson, because colony collapses that have affected so other regions have not occurred in Newfoundland and the province’s bee population remains very healthy.
“I have a calendula garden just for the bees,” says Anderson, who also grows another garden just for her product line. “That doesn’t grow here. I grow it myself, but I use the wild roses that grow here.”
Anderson continues to develop new products, and intends to buy a distiller to make an exclusive rose water. Distilled rose water, which can be expensive, usually comes from France.
“It’s crazy expensive and I want to make a Newfoundland version of that,” she says.
Initially Anderson was hoping to launch that product this summer but doesn’t believe she will get to it before next year.
“It’s a short window while we’ve got the roses so it’s no sense to get the equipment until rose season again; next season I’ll be ready.”
Luckily her house came with its own wild rose bush, so she won’t have to go far to source those flowers. Eventually she hopes to build a little green house. She’s still very much at the expansion phase of growing and developing her line.
“My main focus this summer is just getting my local stuff. Now I’m branching out more across the island because I didn’t really have any stores in Newfoundland carrying my products.”
That has begun to change too, as a store in St. John’s recently placed an order. Next on her to do list is getting Wildflower products into stores in Corner Brook and Gander. She will also continue to reach out to stores in the United States.
When it comes to brand marketing tips, Anderson offers this bit of advice to her fellow entrepreneurs.
“Take advantage of the free social media as much as possible because it definitely does help,” says Anderson. “You never know who is out there, who you’re going to reach. Doing things like giveaways – you can reach so many people.”
Anderson says giveaways don’t have to be expensive. An elegant selection that might cost her $25 can result in a lot of exposure on Facebook just for a quick share.
“Before you know it, you’re reaching thousands of people that you wouldn’t reach otherwise.”
Then there’s always the tried and true strategy of visiting a store and getting to know the owner, or at least just calling or emailing.
“The worst that they can say is no or they’re not interested, so it never hurts to try.”