Owning a seasonal business has its challenges, especially as a small business. Every decision matters. Recent FedEx grant winner Matt Bliss understands this very well. In fact, in this year of COVID-19, his business Modern Christmas Trees has already set a record for sales this year.
The origin of Modern Christmas Trees began with Matt’s grandfather, Lawrence “Bud” Stoecker. Bud was an engineer who did projects for NASA. With cardboard collapsable rings, Bud made the first modern tree for the family in 1966. Matt recalls spending all of his Christmases there with that tree as a focal point.
In 2011, his grandfather Bud began to suffer from Alzheimer’s. At that point, Matt decided to pay tribute to him by updating Bud’s trees and showing the world. So it all started as a living tribute to his grandfather. In fact, Bud’s signature is engraved at the bottom of every tree made today.
Marketing & Operations
As a seasonal business, Modern Christmas Trees sells their products online. You can buy their trees with or without ornaments. They are a WooCommerce business. Matt advises that when your company changes, sometimes the tools you use need to change too.
The biggest marketing tactic that Matt’s business has used this year is retargeting. You have to touch customers multiple times before they buy, especially with luxury items, Matt mentions. “Customers need to see [your product] multiple times.”
Their online presence has been on point as well. This year many components of the trees are now exclusively made in the USA this year. Using SEO keywords in their blog has helped bring more traffic to their site.
In terms of operations, Modern Christmas Trees runs as a product-based business. The trees are made in a factory and dropshipped from a warehouse in Los Angeles, CA. To save on costs, larger items stay in California.
As a seasonal business with a seasonal product, it helps operating with partners. You have to lean on third parties like the warehouse in LA. Matt mentioned being “lean and mean.”
“You have to lean on good partners. Some are reliable and some you have to let go.”
Matt also talked about what he does in the offseason. “It’s still a full-time job,” he commented.
Some tasks that he does in the offseason are:
- Write blogs
- Plan inventory
- Conduct a lot of research
Winning the 2020 FedEx Grant
Being a FedEx grant winner was a highlight of the year for Matt’s business. “It came at the perfect time,” he said. “There’s always ups and down for entrepreneurs. Winning brings validation that we’re doing things right. Our packages arrive safely and on time typically. I don’t regret the decision to exclusively shipping with them.”
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