Jim and Stephanie Spann opened New Harmony Soap Company in a true entrepreneurial fashion. The couple had never started their own business before, but, after visiting New Harmony and falling in love with the city, the couple felt inspired to start a business there.
The Spanns packed their bags, moved to New Harmony from their home in Louisville, Kentucky, and opened the doors of their new business in 2012. Five years later, after an initial investment of only $10,000, New Harmony Soap Company is growing to become a million-dollar business that specializes in high-quality natural skin nutrition.
When the Spanns opened their store, they recognized that ecommerce was critical to retail. Luckily, as Jim Spann explained, starting an ecommerce shop is “not that hard anymore.”
Spann explained that there are several services that create ecommerce platforms. These tools can be customized to fit the needs of each business and can be optimized for the mobile user. Spann used these tools to add one-click purchasing to his site, and he made it easier for customers to view and purchase products online.
Even though some would argue that brick and mortar stores are outdated, New Harmony Soap Company’s traditional storefront helps grow the ecommerce business. People who walk by the store become frequent customersonline. The ecommerce site is a great way to boost revenues and is a perfect complement to the traditional storefront.
Shortly after the New Harmony Soap Company opened its doors, Kim Howard, the Southwest ISBDC’s Regional Director, contacted Jim Spann. Howard did some research, learned about Spann’s business, and helped with proposals and plans.
Howard also helped with professional networking in the Southwest Indiana region. Jim Spann explained, “As a newcomer, I didn’t have a lot of connections. Kim Howard really helped me in this area.”
The Southwest ISBDC’s business advisors also helped Spann with research and development, marketing, product management, and government compliance. Spann described the organization as “useful and insightful.” He added that the advisors “have been great cheerleaders for me and my business.”
Jim Spann went on to say, “I can’t emphasize enough how much we value the moral support we receive [from the Southwest ISBDC]. When you’re starting a business, there are always lots of doubters, people who don’t think you’ll make it. Having a team of experienced professionals who believe in us and our vision is extremely powerful. They know we’re trying to do something that is very difficult and filled with unknown risks, and yet they are passionate believers in our ability to succeed. There are days when this really pulls you through.”
The Southwest ISBDC is hosted by the Southwest Indiana Chamber and provides one-on-one business advising for entrepreneurs and small business in eight counties throughout Southwest Indiana. For more information about the Southwest ISBDC and its services, contact Karina Hampton at [email protected] or 812-425-7232.