Jones and Rose attribute sales growth to location and e-commerce

Christie Jones-Bird started making puffs, body butter and sugar scrubs in 2002 after working in research development at a national consumer products company in Ohio. It was the start of a journey that eventually led her to return to her hometown of Jacksonville and open Jones and Rose at St. Johns Town Center.

Today, the thriving skincare business is one of a handful of small local businesses in the outdoor retail center with more than 175 retailers and restaurants.

“It’s been a process,” said Jones-Bird, 48. “And it certainly didn’t happen overnight. But many years ago I wanted to invest in myself to see if I could create my own line of beauty care products. natural.

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Long before starting a business, she was a young single mother in Cincinnati, who spent several years working at a large corporation in both packaging development and consumer marketing. While working with a team that identified personal cleaning products to use, she took a business trip to New York and visited Carol’s Daughter. This company was started by Lisa Price, a black woman who turned a hobby of developing skin and hair care products in her kitchen into a $2 million business. dollars at the start of the business.

“I was inspired by Carol’s Daughter. I wanted to create my own skin-friendly products, using natural ingredients, but smelling amazing,” she said.

Jones-Bird took severance pay from Procter & Gamble and returned to her hometown, primarily for a support system for her daughter, who was only six at the time. She started making shea butters and sugar scrubs in her mother’s kitchen at the Mandarim family home she grew up in while working a few jobs over the years.

At least five years before Jones-Bird moved to her first business location, in the Dupont neighborhood off Old St Augustine Road, where she remained for several years, she tried various ways to attract clients. She got her start selling merchandise at venues ranging from an NFL Wives Super Bowl event when Jacksonville hosted the Super Bowl in 2005 to attending events like the Black Expo. Selling products to beauty salons all over the city has helped her get even more customer feedback.

Moving to Downtown St. Johns

Jones & Rose

Jones-Bird took the plunge to move into the St. Johns Town Center mall in October 2019, just five months before the pandemic hit. At the time, she had signed a one-year lease. She already had a thriving e-commerce business and had been in her previous location for 10 years.

“We started getting clients by word of mouth, then COVID came in March and we initially only had a temporary lease,” she said. “It was an unusual time, that’s for sure, and it didn’t give us any idea of ​​what our success might be like.”

Eventually, more people started ordering online.

“It was more about self-care and self-love,” she said. “People were at home and wanted to feel good about their surroundings and their homes. There was also an increase in people being more aware of the products they put on their skin. We offer natural products and people wanted to use healthy products for their skin.

Two years later, Jones-Bird found that initial concerns about surviving the pandemic were unfounded. Instead, sales increased by around 40%. It happened through hard work, openness to change, and a lot of pivoting.

Jones-Rose began to focus even more on online sales and offer curbside service

Before it moved downtown, the company had amassed around 17,000 followers on Instagram. Unfortunately, the account was hacked in early December during the height of the holiday season and the company lost contact with about half of its Instagram followers, who had not provided an email address.

Until then, Instagram played an important role in marketing and sales, as shoppers across the country could click a button on a posted product photo and go directly to the company’s website to order a product, a said Jones-Bird.

“The Internet exposes you to so many customers. It was essential to create demand for the brand. We were a small shop selling moisturizers that work and smell great, but the internet has changed everything for us.

Persevere and pivot in a pandemic

Like most businesses in America, the pandemic changed the way Jones and Rose operated so much. Jones-Bird credits her background in American business, her perseverance, and her husband, Allen, who encouraged her to test her products, focusing on selling them first in Jacksonville salons. He had spent years in trade show sales and had many relationships that he shared with her.

I contacted Bird Jones because I appreciated their courage to lease a retail location in Jacksonville’s largest mall. I heard about the company six months ago shortly after moving here. I wanted to know more about her journey from working at Procter & Gamble to creating her own beauty care products.

From creating art to making food, many viable businesses are often born out of hobbies. But that’s no small feat. I’ve always been fascinated by people like Jones-Bird finding a way to transition from working in corporate America to turning a hobby into a real business. It involves going from something you do for fun, to testing a concept, then figuring out how to write a business plan and, of course, finding and satisfying clients.

Jones & Rose skincare line

Jones-Bird accomplished an even greater feat by moving to a large mall. That’s rare for a local business, and even more unusual for one started by an African-American entrepreneur.

Jolorie Williams, General Manager of Revlon’s Multicultural Division, is a huge fan and customer of Jones and Rose. She loves that there are always new scents in moisturizers that work well, including soaps, oils, and puffs. She is also impressed with how creative Jones-Bird is in trying to get new clients.

For example, last year she attended a party at Jones and Rose that supported a start-up vegan truck business. The food tasting event was an opportunity to support another entrepreneur and introduce potential customers to her store.

Offer more to compete with larger retailers

Jones and Rose in downtown St. Johns

Williams said Jones-Bird was ahead of many smaller brands that didn’t focus on e-commerce much until the pandemic. She said she was also impressed with how the company continues to adapt to how people choose to shop during the pandemic, whether they come into the store to sample products, prefer the curbside pickup or receive products by mail.

“It’s that highly tactile service that tells your customers that we care about you and that we don’t want to lose you to a Walmart or a Target because those stores never closed during the pandemic. “Williams said.

Williams said Jones-Bird products are worth the money because you get what you pay for.

“She understands the needs of what women want and she has a collection for men as well,” she said.

Now, Jones-Bird is exploring possibilities of possibly opening a second location in another city.

Meanwhile, she continues to adapt to the change downtown.

“Even though people are still ordering online, now they want the experience of being back in our store,” Jones-Bird said. “People want to touch and feel the products again.”

About Thomas Hereford

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