When Katie E. Frank was creating Rising Tides Apothecary with website builder Square Online, she had one concept in mind. After years in the beauty and wellness industry, she had seen those two ideas become oppositional to each other. She felt that the industry was telling the world that one cannot be beautiful and practice wellness, and vice versa.
This opposed her own belief that the two could live in harmony, so she started Rising Tides Apothecary and soon found a community of like-minded customers who felt the same. With remedies such as tinctures, teas, powders, functional beverages, and oils alongside beauty products like boutique skincare and specialty makeup, Rising Tide Apothecary has flourished tremendously since its 2022 opening.
What stands out is also its commitment to community, with monthly lectures and events at its Rhode Island brick-and-mortar location. We spoke to Kate to ask about the business’s founding, how she collected such an enthusiastic community, and if the adage is true that “rising tides lift all ships”.
“I envisioned a space where we could have deeper, more personal conversations about sensitive topics like hormones and breakouts while combining the casual fun and luxury of the industry”
“As with any new brand, creating awareness and getting our name out there was a challenge. But it’s one I was prepared for and I’m happy with our growth so far. We’ve done wonderful things in the community and with neighboring businesses in our short lifespan.
Most of it has been done in-house. There are a few tasks I consulted with professionals for (tax prep, digital marketing, branding) but I had a very clear vision of what I wanted this business and my website to look like. And so far, I’ve been able to stick to that vision pretty closely. I think it’s important to establish that foundation before bringing in outside sources.
Locally, there is nothing like our shop. There are places that offer services and sell products, but I don’t know if another location has the same consultative approach that we do. When you walk into Rising Tides Apothecary, you can expect to have a conversation. I would never utter the phrase ‘Let me know if I can help you find anything’ – I’m already helping!
These values were and will remain, at the forefront of what we offer here at Rising Tides Apothecary. Every decision that is made within the business is made with those values in mind. Balance, ownership, openness, community, responsibility, and connectivity are always consulted when bringing in a new service, partnering with a new brand, and even deciding where our brick-and-mortar locations will be. If I’m going to live and breathe my business every day, it needs to reflect my values.“
“If I’m going to live and breathe my business every day, it needs to reflect my values.”
Find out more:
- See the difference in our Retail Statistics: Brick & Mortar Stores vs Ecommerce
- Find out what return you could get with our Digital Marketing ROI Statistics page
“We are so big on community. One of our first workshops was a Lymphatic Drainage workshop and we sold it out within a few days. Just knowing that we have our finger on the pulse of what our community needs and is interested in was a great feeling.
Most of my work with my customer base is quite intimate; we talk about hormones, sleep patterns, relationships, and stress points. I hear all the stories. I try to be approachable and easy to talk to. My customer needs to feel comfortable letting down their walls so that we can discover exactly how to help them. So I ask a lot of questions, share anecdotes and stories to make them know that they’re not alone and just generally try to help them feel supported.
I have two great loves in my business – people and products. I thrive on deep interaction with my customers and getting to know exactly what their needs are. And in turn, pairing them with the exact right products is the most fun. I truly enjoy diving deep into a product line, learning all about its foundation and values, and then digging into ingredient decks. It’s my hobby! And turning my hobby into a business is my dream”
“I have two great loves in my business – people and products. I thrive on deep interaction with my customers and getting to know exactly what their needs are.”
Find out more:
- Find your own products with our How to Find Trending Products to Sell Online guide
“Social media is huge. It helps me stay connected to people. And we love doing in-person events too. I always make new connections, meet new people, and find new ways to integrate into the community.
We’re very active on Instagram because it’s such a visual platform. It’s helpful to share not just information about the brands, but also the tone of the business. When people see me on camera, they get the vibe. They understand that this is a judgment-free zone.
Is it a regular newsletter or another channel to share news with customers? This popup box leads to our mailing list, which is powered by Mailchimp. I send out a general newsletter every first of the month, featuring a theme for that month and any promotions that we’ll be having. I also try to send out a mid-month newsletter updating any events in the community. But I don’t like to do more than that so that it doesn’t feel too spammy.”
“It’s helpful to share not just information about the brands, but also the tone of the business. When people see me on camera, they get the vibe. They understand that this is a judgment-free zone.”
“We have an ecommerce platform component to our business so having a beautiful, user-friendly website was non-negotiable. I did look around and made a lot of comparisons to similar website builders. Ultimately, I chose to go with Square Online because it was compatible in price and usability with others but also included a robust POS system, which we use in the shop.
All of the apps that I integrate with Square Online are essential for my business. The ones that I use most are Canva (for content/asset creation), Instagram (for social media), and Mailchimp (for marketing). These all work seamlessly with Square Online and I don’t know how I would run my business without all three!
Square Online offers higher plans than mine that include a lot more features than what I currently need. I’m sure if (and when!) we grow to that capacity, Square Online will be able to provide the support I need.”
“Square offers higher plans than mine that include a lot more features than what I currently need. I’m sure if (and when!) we grow to that capacity, Square will be able to provide the support I need.”
Find out more:
- If you want to know more about Square Online’s pricing plans, read our full breakdown
“Try to work with someone in the beginning, you’ll save yourself a lot of time. It can be tricky learning where everything lives and what the layers of the pages mean. Rather than poking around yourself for hours and hours, have someone walk you through basic landing page creation one or two times. This will expose you to some tips and tricks but also help build your confidence. Website building is not simple! It takes a lot of focus to truly understand it and if it’s not your native language (it’s not mine!) you may get discouraged. Once you have some basics under your belt, then you can explore and try things on your own. When you get the hang of it, it’s actually fun!
Sometimes I get frustrated by the design limitations. When using a website builder that works primarily from templates, sometimes it can be hard to get your exact vision to come to life. But overall, I’m happy with where I end up most time.
Oddly, the best part of Square Online is its customer service. I call their customer service a lot – almost weekly. I always get to talk to someone, and if I follow the correct prompts (sometimes I end up in the wrong department), they are so knowledgeable and helpful in their particular focus. They can usually walk me step by step through everything I need to get done. And I typically end up learning something along the way!”
“Once you have some [website building] basics under your belt, then you can explore and try things on your own. When you get the hang of it, it’s actually fun!”
“Start now! You’ll never be fully prepared, there’s no way you can be. You will learn so much along the way and that’s all ok. You won’t have all the answers but you’ll find a community of people to help guide you.
If it’s your passion, just follow it. There are so, so many avenues to be involved in this industry. It doesn’t always have to be customer-facing; there’s formulation, marketing, sales, and education. But you do have to love people. And you do have to want to help people.
My number one tip is to share what you want, share what you love, share what you’re looking for. If you’re at a party, talk about it. If you’re in a group chat, talk about it. If you’re at your other job, talk about it! Someone, somewhere will be listening and if they’re not the person to get you started, maybe they know who is! Generally, people want to help but you have to let them know how they can help.”
“My number one tip is to share what you want, share what you love, share what you’re looking for.”