From the PNW to the South
- by Andi Whiskey
For Andi “Whiskey” of Whiskey Business, expanding her businesses to Nashville from the Pacific Northwest made perfect sense. When she moves from Seattle in May with her husband Mark Murphy, she wants to jump right into becoming a part of the unique and growing community of creative small businesses flourishing in Music City. Whiskey is a serial entrepreneur by definition, having started and run a number of businesses (everything from private bartending services in Hollywood to a downhill skateboard magazine, which is reportedly where her name came from). Her enterprising journey began when she was 16 years old. She opened her first business, a web design business that grew into a marketing company over 10 years’ time. Little did she know that one small decision would launch her into the “empire of soap and beard oil” she has now. When a client asked for copywriting services for DIY blog posts about homemade skin care products, Whiskey dove in, experimenting with different ideas for natural skincare using unique when she came up with a bar of soap made with coffee and beer. "The client ended up not using the post, so I posted a picture of the soap for my followers on Google+ -- I had over 6,000 followers at the time on that weird social network -- and then they asked me if they could buy it," she said. Whiskey threw together an ecommerce website, but when orders started pouring in, she realized she was onto something. It was the birth of her next business. Today, Whiskey, Ink, & Lace’s top selling product lines include all natural beard oil, vegan tattoo care, natural skincare made from unique ingredients like coffee, and more. Business picked up so much that she quickly started hiring and things exploded. She moved the business from where it started in the boonies of North Carolina out to Portland, OR. A year later, she relocated to Seattle, WA. Now, she has multiple sub-brands totaling over 200 natural, handcrafted products that are stocked in hundreds of shops all over the world. One of those shops happens to be Welcome Home, located in East Nashville, where her natural men’s grooming products have been stocked for the past few years. She also handles a bustling online store that ships globally. "I prefer to work direct-to-customer so I know the experience they're getting," she said. "It's really important that from the unboxing of the product to using the product itself, the customers enjoy their interaction." When Whiskey and her husband move to Nashville this summer, her business won't be relocating -- it will be expanding. Operations will continue in Seattle, and be shipping from both WA and TN. This improves their nationwide distribution, ensuring their products will only take up to three days to arrive anywhere in the U.S. for more affordable shipping prices. “A positive experience for our customers includes receiving their orders as quickly as we can hand-make them and get them to their doors.” Whiskey also is working to open a barbershop attached to the Whiskey, Ink, & Lace warehouse in Nashville shortly after they settle in. The barbers will have direct feedback about the products she makes -- and she plans to make them right next door to their warehouse, which is located on the way out of downtown, towards the airport. "It's a weird place for a barbershop, for sure, but that's why I love it," she said. "It's away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and all that chaos. We want to create a speakeasy-style experience, so when our customers step into this space, it really feels like you are away from all the craziness for a while." Whiskey's biggest goal is to get to know the community in Nashville, find where she fits in, and help contribute. "I chose Nashville because I want to be part of the community. I love the city," she said. "I also want to help out other local makers. We'll be injecting ourselves into the community and finding out where we can participate and help out." For more information about Whiskey's businesses, visit whiskeyinkandlace.com.