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Grove and Grotto Spring 2017 update

Michelle Gruben business grove and grotto update

Michelle Gruben of Grove and Grotto

Hi folks! Just wanted to give you a quick update on what’s been happening around the shop. As usual, we’ve been hard at work on new products and partnerships. As we approach our third anniversary, we’re as driven as ever to make Grove and Grotto a unique destination for Pagan shopping on the web.

New Products

Prosperity Spell Pendant by Christopher Penczak

Several new product lines have been added to the shop since our last update. We’re proud to carry jewelry and altar supplies from a variety of craftspeople here in the United States. Some favorites? New zodiac pendants by Nirvana, Christopher Penczak’s spell coins from Deva Designs, and ritual oils from Sun’s Eye.

We are in the process of upgrading our warehouse area with new commercial-grade wire shelving so we can store even more nifty Pagan products. The first new shelf is up, and has double the capacity of the previous unit. We’ve already scouted out some new candle products to fill the space. (Stay tuned!) A new thermal printer has made filling online orders faster and more accurate.

Changes and crossroads

Two Hecate athames

As the Wheel turns, some products arrive to the catalog and others depart. We eliminated many items that had consistency/quality issues (or that just weren’t selling well). The result of this culling has been perhaps fewer sales, but also fewer returns and fewer unhappy customers as we systematically weed out the duds.

As we develop our collection of Pagan supplies, we’re looking more and more to independent artisans and vintage goods. We’re trying to reduce our reliance on the big (well, medium) Pagan and New Age suppliers. The goal is to have real magick tools that you just can’t find anywhere else.

We’ve also made some technical changes in the past few months. The website has had subtle improvements and expansions. Customers can now browse products by sub-category, post product reviews, and create an (optional) account at checkout. We’ve also expanded our event page with more information on Pagan fairs and festivals in Texas.

Although I’m terribly shy/old-fashioned and it’s a struggle, I’ve also been trying to keep up with the times by posting more regularly on the Facebook page.

Travel

Houston Pagan Pride Day 2016

Fall 2016 was our busiest festival season so far. We filled our calendar with Pagan Pride Days, metaphysical festivals, street fairs, and campouts. Despite some far-flung events waaaaaaaayyy across Texas—and an unfortunate breakdown in Austin—we hit all our marks and kept the magick caravan rolling. (Super thanks to Aiden and Sarah for doing lots of heavy lifting, and to Mom for lending me her precious van.)

Michelle and Sarah with Raven Grimassi

Some highlights include our trip to Houston (shop elf Sarah’s hometown), where we vended at Pagan Pride Day and dropped in on the Magick Cauldron. I got to meet Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Grimassi and get some books signed, too! We closed out the year with Dallas’ largest spiritual fair, the Holistic Festival of Life, where we dressed as cheerful Yule elves.

Gem hunting in Tuscon

Just recently, we ventured west to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. This “World’s Greatest Treasure Hunt” was all it’s cracked up to be and more—block after block of mineral treasures on display. We spent four days sniffing out bargains to pass onto you. While some of our gems are (and still will be) shipped to the shop, it was an amazing chance to pick out some of Grove and Grotto’s new gemstone items in person.

Challenges

Austin Pagan Pride 2015

I don’t want to mince words—2016 was tough. For us, and just about everyone else, too. Due to a variety of market factors, we struggled to match our 2015 sales figures. We saw many peers and colleagues close up shop last year or drastically reduce their offerings.

The challenges facing small Pagan retailers are immense. They include increased competition from overseas sellers, corporate behemoths like Amazon, and a not-friendly retail marketplace, generally. I don’t know for sure what the future will hold, but I plan to continue doing this work as long as I can. For now, our strategy remains the same: Stay true to our commitment to quality products, provide personalized service to our customers, and continue to produce magickal words and images.

Writing

Giant leather Book of Shadows

Writing articles on divination and magickal tools is more than just a way to keep the search engines happy. I love discussing these things with fellow seekers. I’m also humbled and grateful when knowledge that I’ve accumulated is helpful to others. Some of our most popular articles on magickal tools and materials now get thousands of views per month.

Apart from blogging, I’m regularly contributing articles to The Accord, the quarterly journal of the Council of Magickal Arts. In 2016, I also published an e-book on creative business, called Craft Fair Success, which has been my best-selling title to date.

Sponsorships

Six of pentacles

As always, supporting community events and publications is a priority at Grove and Grotto. In 2017, we’re sponsoring our local Pagan Unity Fest for the third year in a row. We’ve also contributed raffle items to Melting P.O.T. (Pagans of Texas), Council of Magickal Arts, and Florida’s BridFest for their fundraising efforts.

In addition, we’ve renewed our annual sponsorship of The Wild Hunt, the leading Pagan news blog. We’ve also placed web ads on PaganSquare, the online hub for Witches & Pagans magazine. I’m proud that the majority of our ad dollars go toward media that’s specifically for Pagans, instead of into the giant coffers of Facebook or Google.

Faery Stuff

Michelle the Fairy

Being a fairy/faery is a wonderful sideline to my work with Grove and Grotto. When I wear my wings, I feel beautiful, magickal, and fun. In 2016, I signed up with the MerFriends to provide fairy entertainment at parties and events. I love flapping around with my new mermaid friends—it’s like a little fae girl’s dream come true.

One of my recent personal projects was making a new blue fairy costume: Wings, skirt, and crown. I debuted it at the North Texas Irish Festival and took tons of snapshots with kids. I’ll also be wandering around Scarborough Renaissance Festival this season when my work schedule allows for it.

While my fairy costume creations have yet to make it to the shop, perhaps they will one day!

Plans

Old iron key

It looks like 2017 means full speed ahead for Grove and Grotto. I’ve been furiously working to build the best business I can—one that caters to magickal folks with a cornucopia of useful and inspiring things.

My daily work these days consists of responding to customers, contacting vendors, packing/unpacking for shows, taking photos, researching and writing. Next up: A new series of blog articles to highlight the talented artists and craftspeople I rub elbows with as part of this work.

We’ll be on the road again for Spring and Fall festivals—be sure to check out our event schedule and come say “hi”!

As always, I’m extremely grateful for your interest in our shop. Your business. Your comments and messages. Your magickal work, at home and out in the world. May each of you be showered with Springtime blessings!

Sincerely,

Michelle Gruben

Owner and Shop Faery

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