Glassybaby, a Seattle based boutique retailer of handmade glass blown votive candle holders and glasses, has a lot going in its favor these days: a staff of around 100, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as an investor, and a coveted spot in Puget Sound Business Journal’s 100 fastest growing private companies. The company has grown from a small operation to 4 different locations and several million dollars in revenue because it sells quality products and is heavily vested in giving back to charitable causes, but also largely in party to the company’s online presence and the significant role it plays in the life and growth of the brand.
Efficient web design
Glassybaby operates not just as a Seattle and New York retailer, but has also positioned itself to be a global brand by investing in a professional web presence that starts with their no frills minimalistic web site. What’s most impressive about Glassybaby’s site is that it seamlessly accomplishes two objectives at the same time: that of being an online storefront and simultaneously as a hub for the brands marketing and philanthropy message. The design is simple in nature and is far less cluttered than what may come to mind when thinking of a typical ecommerce site. The site layout is sensible and the top navigation bar keeps everything well organized. Clear graphics and video are used for additional impact.
Selling and living a story
Founder Lee Rhodes and the team behind Glassybaby take a smart approach in that they leverage their brands message frequently and have tied in into every angle of their branding strategy. After starting the company, Rhodes, a cancer survivor and advocate, decided to donate 10% of all gross sales to charities that promote healthy living. As a part of this mission the brands website, social media accounts, and live events continue to support regular giving. There are many retail brands, and many candle holder and vase companies, but not many with a message that customers can actively connect with.
A commitment towards social media
Glassybaby uses a variety of social media sites to help spread its message. The brands Facebook page is consistently busy with activity, including 500+ photos, recommendations by fans, and several updates every week. Page admins comment on all feedback and encourage fans to share their story of how they relate to the brand. Over the spring the brand ran an Earth Day promotion using a custom tab to allow fans to give virtual gifts to help support Conservation International.
The company blog has been updated like clockwork on a weekly basis and as of July the brand uses a custom built Tumblr page to share photos and updates.
Glassybaby uses Twitter for keeping followers current with news and products, but also as an avenue for customer outreach.
Glassybaby is a rare case in that it’s a brand that has built a real community by having an attractive purpose and communicating it clearly with gusto. As opposed to trying to craft an artificial branding message, the company uses the web as a canvas for projecting already established core beliefs. In tough and crowded markets, retail brands could stand to learn a thing or two from Glassybaby.
Glassybaby has locations in Madrona, Univeristy Village, Bellevue, and New York.