If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at Duke’s Diesel Repair, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city!
Let’s be honest; 2020 has been a stressful time for many of us. Whether you’re a business owner, teacher, parent, healthcare worker, or someone trying to take a simple trip to the grocery store, there’s no denying that life has not always been the smoothest these past few months. So, do you know what your friends here at AAT are going to do today? We’re going to introduce you to someone who can help you relax and enjoy yourself a bit!
This week, we’re joined by Joy Wicks of Pink Porcupine Bath & Body Shoppe. Pink Porcupine offers its customers unique handcrafted bath bombs, soaps, body care, and more! All of their products are vegan, sulfate-free, and phthalate-free, as well! Come on, doesn’t just reading about their products sound blissful? Let’s chat with the owner, Joy, for a few minutes while you go start running the bath!
Thank you for joining us this week, Joy! We, of course, are excited to learn your story and how you came to open your business, but we’re really looking forward to hearing about where you got such a unique name for your brand! Can you share with us, please?
“Since my first job in fast food as a teenager, I’ve always worked in some type of customer service-related position. Those jobs included Sears Portrait Studio, health insurance, managing a small medical staffing agency, and working at a couple of medical supply companies. I’ve also enjoyed volunteering in church as a Sunday School teacher, working in outreach, and serving as a fellowship director. I really like working with people and helping customers.
“After four years of researching and switching to using all-natural products myself, I opened my first retail shop in Salt Lake City in 2008. It was a natural cosmetics and body care store called Natural Joy. I had the shop for nine years there. In 2017 I brought it with me to Elko when we moved here for my husband’s job. The space I rented was next to Natural Nutrition, so I changed the name from Natural Joy to Pure Joy to avoid any confusion between the two. Around that time, I had begun focusing less on the natural cosmetics side of things and more on bath bombs and body care that customers seemed more interested in. That change in product focus led to rebranding with a new name and logo.
“I decided to change the name to Pink Porcupine Bath & Body Shoppe. There were a couple of reasons for the new business name. The first is that my Utah shop was well known for having a hot pink front door. The porcupine part was inspired by my family, having rescued and raised a baby porcupine when I was growing up.”
You’re the first person we’ve ever interviewed who has had a porcupine living at their house! That’s very cool! Joy, can you tell us what you love most about running your business?
“What I love the most about having a retail business is helping customers find products they love to use for pampering themselves or finding products to give as gifts.”
Now, almost on the flip side of that last question, what’s been your biggest challenge as a business owner, so far?
“Due to dealing with some autoimmune issues, I closed my storefront in the Boot Barn shopping center and had moved into a booth space in Wagon Wheel Antiques (formerly known as Shabby Shanty). Sadly, they unexpectedly closed their doors at the end of February, and then Covid-19 happened. This was a big hit for my business, like so many others. So, I decided to operate it from home for now and created a website that allows customers to shop and choose Local Pick Up or to have their order shipped.
“Business wasn’t too bad through the website in April and May, but the summer was quite slow. I’m hoping that as we head into fall, sales will pick back up. In the three years, I’ve been in Elko, I’ve found business advertising to be somewhat difficult. So, getting the word out to people that we are still here and how we’re operating has been a bit tricky. I do a lot of Facebook and Instagram posts and advertise in local FB Groups, but there are still a lot of people who don’t see those posts.”
What’s been your experience of Elko, overall, throughout your time in the area?
“I had grown up in towns much smaller than Elko before moving to Salt Lake City after high school. I really enjoyed city life for many years and wasn’t too sure I was ready for small-town life again. To my surprise, we felt at home rather quickly here, and we’re so happy not to have all the traffic. People are friendly, and it’s nice to be able to run across town in five minutes or less most of the time.”
Wonderful! Well, I think our bathtub is just about full and ready for a bomb! Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before we wrap up our time together?
“I really enjoy living in Elko and having a business here. I hope to get into another retail space again so that customers can touch and smell the products. In the meantime, though, I’d like to get the word out to more people about the fact that we’re still open for shopping locally at www.PinkPorcupineBB.com We have several items marked down for Fall Clearance right now. Thank you.”
You can stay caught up on everything going on around here at AAT by checking out our “Stay Connected” page! Make sure you never miss a feature!
Until next time, we’ll see you around, Elko!