Brea Fullerton jokes that she’s been playing Monopoly within the walls of Saltbox.
She originally moved her small business, a consumer brand company called Shinery, into a 120 square foot space inside of the hybrid warehouse and office environment first piloted in Atlanta’s Westside in 2021.
But soon after launch, Good Morning America came knocking. The small jewelry cleaner business started shipping out four to six-thousand orders immediately after each GMA appearance. At the same time the wholesale side of the business also started expanding into Nordstrom, Papersource, and Von Maur.
Not only did Shinery outgrow its 120 square foot space, it quickly outgrew the 300 square foot location across the hall. When Hypepotamus met Fullerton and the Shinery team, they had moved into their latest “Monopoly” spot, the 900 square foot “Mansion” within Saltbox. The new location that allows for packing up orders, storing inventory, and even conducting live tutorial videos for its product line.
That move is important now that the Shinery is going to be on the minds of more shoppers this holiday season. The Atlanta startup was just named to Oprah’s Favorite Things List for 2022.
Such growth sounds like a dream for most small brands, but it can quickly become a logistics nightmare. Moving into Saltbox was about getting ahead of these logistics problems, says Fullerton. Beyond just using the warehouse space, Shinery takes advantage of Saltbox’s elastic force (e-force), an on-demand service team to help with operational and shipping needs. This has allowed her to prepare for the influx of Amazon orders coming through Oprah’s Favorite Things and quickly scale based on volume.
Logistics At Saltbox
She said e-force’s “level of trust, care, and consistency” is necessary as her small business scales.
It is all about keeping up with the modern demands of ecommerce, says co-founder Maxwell Bonnie. While some brands deal with seasonal holiday spikes, they all have to navigate FBA (specific requirements to sell on Amazon), a growing number of shipping options, and new consumer expectations about shipping times and return options.
E-force is one of the innovations Saltbox has brought to the logistics space. The co-warehousing space offers part office, part shipping area, and even part light manufacturing space and micro-fulfillment center for small businesses. It is also launching its own OS for Saltbox members to easily access all onsite building services and get important insights into inventory trends that can help their businesses scale and cut logistics time and costs.
End Of The Year Rush
The Saltbox walls are covered with the names of Atlanta startups that are making their mark in the physical product space – be it Flock Safety, Grubbly Farms, Jesse Itzler’s All Day Running Co, or growing personal care brands like Brothers Artisan Oil.
Walk around Saltbox on any given day and you’ll feel a unique buzz. Packages are moving out quickly as brands work to keep up with order demand.
That is particularly true as November begins and brands prepare for the holiday season. A Deloitte report suggests that ecommerce holiday sales are projected to grow 13.5% over last year.
Many brands rely heavily on holiday sales. A survey from 2021 said that 78% of small businesses used November and December sales metrics to determine whether or not they could stay open the next year.
Brands like Shinery aren’t the only ones playing Monopoly. Saltbox itself is rushing to keep up with end-of-year demands and adding to its real estate portfolio.
The company is about to open its second Atlanta location, a 110,000 square foot warehouse near the trendy Works food hall.
At more than double the size of its original Atlanta location, the new building will mean Saltbox can serve upwards of 120 small businesses and consumer product startups.
A few weeks before opening, Bonnie gave Hypepotamus a tour of the new space. Like any good startup, Saltbox is iterating on its original idea and changing some elements of the initial build out.
The new space includes more communal “oasis” spaces and more natural light. It is about creating a welcoming home-away-from-home space for small businesses, added Bonnie.
Saltbox also has locations in Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, and Seattle. On top of the second Atlanta location, the team will also be opening up in Miami, Minneapolis, and Phoenix in the near future.
For Bonnie, having a second location in Atlanta is a way for him and the team to help local businesses thrive in a crowded ecommerce space.
“This is why I do this,” Bonnie said while walking the warehouse halls of Saltbox. “We’re here to help new businesses grow and succeed and to realize the power of ecommerce. It gives people a good, accessible living.”