Part 3 | Biltmore Village & the Accident

We've opened up about our first brick-and-mortar and the process of moving our lab off premise the past two days. Be sure to catch up on Part One & Part Two.

Toward the end of 2017 I decided to start looking for a new retail location but always came up short. At the time Asheville was booming and there were new shops opening everywhere.

I decided to look in a different part of Asheville and found a few locations that would be good options for us. During my search, I had a gut feeling that moving to a new shopping district was not the wisest choice but I decided to override that feeling because we were in dire need of a new home.

At this point I was feeling really run down. I had spent 5 years running a brick-and-mortar shop while being a hands-on mom. As a brand we did not have a long-term lease for our retail shop and I just moved all of our manufacturing off premise to our independent lab in West Asheville. I felt like we were simply running out of time, and I had to make a decision to move forward.

By April of 2018 we had a lease for our second location in Biltmore Village, my son had a seizure in May and by June we started construction. This year was my worst. I remember pulling myself up in September, but it was such a challenge just to make it through the holiday season.

The part of this story that I haven’t talked about took place on March 17th, 2018, just before I signed the lease for our second location.

I was notified by Liz that when she arrived at the lab that morning there was wet concrete dust all over everything. It turned out that the building manager of our lab accidentally allowed a plumbing company to enter our space on a Saturday to do work for a tenant above us without permission.

We simply showed up to manufacture and had to indefinitely close our lab to mitigate the contamination.

In the end we lost everything. Every bit of packaging, every raw ingredient, every final product, all contaminated and tossed. Every ceiling tile, every light cover, every air filter replaced. Every inch of the walls and floors, every shelf, every hard surface, washed on repeat.

As a result, we closed our manufacturing lab for 12 weeks while Liz and I sorted out the mess. It was beyond a challenge working with the insurance company and the losses were not covered until September.

From a financial perspective, during the most pivotal time for this brand to stabilize after years of uncertainty, we were out $90K in capital for 6 months. This concrete accident was just enough to put the final nail in the coffin so to speak. We are not a large brand and do not have investors. All that we make goes back into the brand to support its growth, allow for client discounts, and support our crew and their families. This loss in capital was a moment of total darkness for me.

Read part 4 of our Six Part Series here