Entrepreneurs and COVID-19 - Interview with Kimm Brickman Pineau of All Of Oils (Surrey & Langley)

Please share a bit about yourself as an entrepreneur and what your business entails - brick and mortar store, online, product, etc..

We are All of Oils, Wholesome Oils and Vinegars. With 2 locations in the Fraser Valley, we offer the largest selection of the worlds best Extra Virgin Olive Oils, Flavoured Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars. We also carry a wonderful selection of gourmet food items, sourced both locally and imported, including a terrific range of Gluten Free items! We are a small, family run business with a handful of part time employees and together we are the All of Oils team! My husband, Glenn, and I have been in business for just over 7 years now and we are so pleased to be educating and helping our communities to eat healthier and feel better. 

Before the COVID-19 crisis, how did you work with your regular clients and reach out to new ones. What type of marketing worked best for you? 

Prior to COVID-19 we relied mainly on our store fronts to keep business flowing. Our website has always existed but was not a hub of online ordering activity. Our social media accounts have always been hugely helpful to us in spreading our word and we are so grateful to our loyal clients whose "word of mouth" adverstising of us has been consistently strong. We have done many trade shows and location pop ups in our history as well, although we have geared down on those as our store locations have become busier.  

How has the social isolation required to combat the spread of COVID-19 affected your business? What about this has been hardest for you personally?

Given that we are actually a Tasting Room, the stores started off with a few adaptions once COVID-19 began to take root. We were still open and selling product but had stopped most sampling up until March 18, when our doors closed until further notice. Now we are hitting the road about 3 days a week and delivering at no charge, online orders of $25 or greater, within 20 k of either of our stores. We have also changed our shipping policy and offer free shipping within Canada of any order of $100 or more. 

 Not being able to chat with our regular clients is difficult as we have built up quite a relationship with many of them. It is also hard to get new customers on board with what we offer since we cannot explain to them in person, the amazing benefits of what we have. Without that first taste, it is a tougher challenge for us and our guests. 

On a personal note, we have chosen to allow no one but the two of us in either store or in our car or home. We have been isolating from everyone since we closed in March. We drop orders on door steps and ensure someone is there to receive them but we don't linger to chat with anyone. I have become the shopper for my elder parents and door drops of groceries is all we get. That is rather difficult at times, for sure. 

Have you found new ways to interact with your customer? Have you developed any new products or services as a way to help your clients through this time, or to fill a new need you see?

Our free delivery service (online orders of $25 or greater, within 20 k of either of our stores and free shipping within Canada of any order of $100 or more) is a new thing for us and it has been so well received that we are pretty sure we are going to keep it going once things go back to normal. All deliveries are done with our zero emission electric car. We are kinda proud of the low carbon footprint we are leaving for mother Earth!

What type of marketing seems to be working best for you in this time of social isolation? 

Social media rules!! We have run one contest so far and plan on doing another one soon. The amazing support of bloggers and social media gurus who have been helping to spread our word is also worth its weight in gold.

One other thing we did for 2 weeks was to drop a small oil and vinegar pairing off at doorsteps of neighbours of our customers who had ordered. It allowed us to let others know just what we have to offer and to let them have a taste! We actually received a few thank you emails from very happy people and that in turn, made us really happy too! Spread some kindness......it's a thing! 

Anything you'd like readers to know about you and your business? Any last words of encouragement you'd like to share with everyone?

We are huge supporters of home cooking, healthy eating and an active lifestyle. We truly love what we do and we love sharing it with others. I know it sounds cliche but we are very much all in this together and if we all try to remember that, the next few weeks with pass by more smoothly and soon we can look forward to a new normal, together. We wish everyone, so very sincerely, good health and better days ahead. Our health care workers and all frontline players are working so hard for the good of us all and we are humbled to be even a small part of it. Big huge thank yous to absolutely everyone for what ever you are doing. It counts!! 

Links - 

Website - www.allofoils.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/AllOfOils/
Instagram @allofoils
Twitter - @AllOfOils