At a tourist destination like Pybus market, vendors struggle to attract these temporary customers as well as returning local customers. Balsamroot Boutique wasted no time in bridging that gap with their unique local products and hospitable environment.
Sherry Trammel-Schauls and Kirsta Trammel run Balsamroot. And they are a dynamic, mother-daughter duo.
“I’ve been making jewelry for six years now, and I would travel to shows and farmers markets to sell my jewelry,” Trammel-Schauls said. “I would sell to other boutique owners before starting my own store in Cashmere. I was approached with the possibility of opening up in this space, and Kirsta and I both interviewed with some competition and opened last June.”
Trammel-Schauls took the opportunity of a new venue to get her daughter involved in the business.
“Kirsta’s been an artist her entire life,” Trammel-Schauls said. “She does great graphic arts and jewelry. She’s multi-talented, and so I asked her to jump into this endeavor with me.”
“I just followed her,” Trammel said. “It’s been really fun.”
“It’s exciting when you can work with your daughter,” Trammel-Schauls said.
The entrepreneur experience is nothing new to Trammel-Schauls, and working with her daughter at Balsamroot allows her to pass down some of her wisdom.
“I’ve been self-employed for quite some time,” Trammel Schauls said. “And it’s exciting to have Kirsta come in and learn for my experiences and my mistakes. We run the boutique ourselves and don’t have any employees. We’re open seven days a week, but aren’t open as late in the evenings.”
“It’s nice to work for yourself,” Trammel added.
For the pair, the decision to move to Pybus was an easy one.
“I love Pybus. I’ve always loved it down here,” Trammel-Schauls said. “I would walk through it even before they renovated it. I had a retail space and I felt like I was ready to move to a location with more traffic and more tourist activity. People come here with their family and friends, or visit here while they’re traveling. There’s always people here from everywhere.”
“We see people from all over the world,” Trammel said. “Coming specifically to Wenatchee.”
The move from Cashmere to Pybus also altered the product line.
“The vision when I started was to sell artisan jewelry that was made in the U.S,” Trammel-Schauls said. “We had items that were imported at the Cashmere location, but now we have more local artists. Artists can include soap, candles, clothing, print art, and tea towels. I include artists that I’ve met at farmers markets when I travel, and some people find us. They come in and pitch their amazing product and if works for the store, we bring that in too.”
The vision was one that Trammel-Schauls had for a while, and the move in location allowed it to come to fruition.
“That’s my passion. I thought that was a niche that I thought that we could fill successfully,” Trammel-Schauls said. “I think it’s good to support local, handcrafted, and made in the U.S.”
The move ended being a positive financial decision for the pair due to Pybus’ marketing.
“We can’t really compare them,” Trammel-Schauls said. “Pybus Market is a destination. We like to ask people who come from all around the world how they’ve heard about Pybus and they always say online or social media. They come just to visit Pybus.”
Balsamroot also conducts it’s own marketing from Facebook and Instagram.
“That seems to be where we can get in touch with the most people,” Trammel-Schauls said. “Having great photos and information about our products, and often times our products speak for themselves.”
Challenges of moving to a new location was negated by careful planning and a frenetic effort to get Balsamroot running.
“We like that there’s so much amazing talented from Leavenworth to here,” Trammel-Schauls said. “We thought that we’d have trouble finding products, but we didn’t … we didn’t have very many challenges because we had a solid game plan going into it. We started ordering things like crazy, and opened the store five days after we got the keys to the space.”
Once the final touches were made to Balsamroot, it didn’t take long for customers to find their way to the store.
“As soon as we started putting things into the store, we had women standing at the gate asking if they could just come in,” Trammel-Schauls said. “We knew we were on the fast track. It’s been absolutely amazing. The community’s support has been absolutely amazing.”
Once everything was up-and-running, the pair were given a warm welcome from everyone involved in Pybus.
“The first week we were open, all the business owners came through and introduced themselves and asked us if we needed any help or if we had any questions,” Trammel-Schauls said. “The Pybus staff checked in with us repeatedly to see if we needed anything. It was so sweet for everyone to just come through and offer to help us.”
Not only does the location see more business than the Cashmere location, the pair also receives intangible benefits from the Pybus experience.
“This was a fabulous move for us,” Trammel-Schauls said. “There’s financial success, but also the happiness aspect of it. It was our first Christmas shopping experience at Pybus last year. We didn’t have any stress shoppers, it was so lovely. People were happy and excited to be here.”
While the pair has only been working out of Pybus for a little over a year, they’ve already worked out a tentative idea of the seasonal cycle of business at the venue.
“It stays consistently busy, but it gets a little quieter in the early spring when kids are in school,” Trammel-Schauls said. “We came in at a good time, when the venue was so well established, and fabulous businesses had already been here for a while.”
While the pair try to make sure that everything in their store is attractive to customers, they have a couple of stand-out items.
“Based upon sales, it’s jewelry and then scarves,” Trammel-Schauls said. “Kirsta is designing sweatshirts, and makes vinyl decals that are really fun.”
“Everything sells really well,” Trammel added. “I started with jewelry, because that’s what (Trammel-Schauls did), but that wasn’t really my thing. I just started looking around and tried different things to see what worked. I tried the clothing and it was a major hit, and that allowed me to use my art more.”
“If something doesn’t move, we’ll try and sell it out and then move something new in,” Trammel-Schauls said. “We try to get items that are beautiful and affordable.”
Competitive pricing of the unique products keeps customers coming back.
“I tracked sales for three years to come up with a median price point of what the valley would support,” Trammel-Schauls said. “With that in mind, we tried to structure our business around that information. People come here from urban areas and say that our things are priced amazingly. Our goal is to serve the community, and we try to find beautiful, affordable items.”
With limited venue space, the pair have had to narrow their focus to a specific demographic.
“We’re primarily a women’s shop. With such a small square footage, it’s hard to appeal to kids and men as well,” Trammel-Schauls said. “We buy what we like, and we don’t follow trends or what’s hot. Fortunately, other people like what we like.”
Limited space means that the pair fills every inch of Balsamroot with their unique products.
“We love our space,” Trammel-Schauls said. “We came into asking ourselves ‘how are we going to fill this huge space?’ but we ended up filling it rather quickly.”
“Everyone at Pybus is like a family. We all refer people to each other, and it’s wonderful,” Trammel-Schauls said. “Nothing is stagnant here, everything is changing, and everyone takes care of everybody else. It’s like our own little community here.”