Shipping is critical to Seven Sisters Scones' growth plan. How else could the owners transport their savory and sweet scones to homes and stores around the nation? That's just what sisters Hala Yassine and Farrah Haidar need to do as they expand their business with a combination of ecommerce and wholesaling.
"At some point, every business has to make a decision: 'Do you want to be a ma and pa shop, or do you want to grow the business?' We want to grow the business," Farrah says.
Even in its infancy, when Seven Sisters Scones was operating out of a shared kitchen space, its owners knew the importance of offering online ordering. "When you are a selling a product, you want to be able to get it to your customer in as many ways as possible," explains Farrah.
Farrah has a background in marketing and handles the business's operational and marketing needs. She describes Hala as "the creative genius, the chef responsible for making the delicious product," although she admits those are all loose job descriptions. Like most small business owners, they do whatever it takes to keep the business running.
It's family that inspired Hala to turn her passion into a profession. She started baking scones as an easy, portable food option for her husband, children, and visiting friends and family, including her parents, two brothers, and six sisters. None of them were shy about requesting new flavors, from the sweet (apple caramel and triple chocolate) to the savory (jalapeno, green onion and cheddar), and before she knew it, she had a selection of 50 different flavors.
At her family's prodding, Hala began selling her scones at farmers markets. She went from one to seven markets in just one year. It was clear: the time had come to open a store. Farrah lived in Boston at the time, and she recalls when her sister called her with the life-changing proposition: "She asked if I would move. I was looking out at nine feet of snow. I said, I think I am ready for some sunshine."
Solving the Shipping Conundrum
In the fall of 2015, they opened their store in Johns Creek, Georgia. Business has been growing steadily, both in-person and online, ever since. Shipping allows them to tap new markets, and their scones have been enjoyed across the nation, from California to Connecticut.
Finding a reliable logistics partner was initially challenging, especially since their product is perishable. The sisters tested a couple of different vendors, and on more than one occasion, boxes were lost, destroyed, or both. "This was an immediate cost because we had to replace them and pay for shipping out of pocket. It becomes a very painful thing for a small business," explains Farrah.
The UPS Store was different. From the very first package, it delivered on time and cost-effectively. "We chose The UPS Store as our shipping partner based on cost and quality of service. Our packages arrive beautifully rendered, and we know we are delivering the right customer experience," says Farrah.
Their local The UPS Store, located in Suwanee, Georgia, is also family-operated and just a five-minute drive away. Over the years, they've developed a personal relationship with owner Roy Kim and his team, who even counseled Seven Sisters Scones on the best way to package their products to help them save big on shipping costs.
The specialty bakery values The UPS Store for its flexibility and range of services. Among other things, they pick up and receive shipments on behalf of the bakery. Kim and his employees even package orders, when needed, providing a convenient way for the scone-makers to achieve greater efficiency.
The Seven Sisters Scones team usually boxes orders themselves, but when things get busy during the holiday season, they ask Kim and his team to handle fulfillment. "We know they will make sure everything arrives properly," notes Farrah. She says that part of the reason shipping can be so nerve-wracking is because small business owners like to be in control. Trusting someone else with a segment of your customer experience is scary, so having a reliable partner like The UPS Store is key.
For Seven Sisters Scones, family is key, too. It is why they started their business and what keeps them going, and growing--well that, and a smart shipping strategy.