VOL. 7 | NO. 50 | Saturday, December 06, 2014
Batch Gets Bigger With Storefront, Fourth City
ELLEN MARGULIES | The Ledger
Batch is gonna need a bigger box.
The Nashville-based foodie subscription service, which curates amazing mini-collections of locally-made edibles and packs them up and ships them all over the U.S. and Canada, has added a fourth city – Austin – and a permanent storefront at the Nashville Farmers Market.
“Things are going great,” says Sam Davidson, CEO and Batch co-founder along with Stephen Moseley and Rob Williams. “We’ve been shipping for over a year, and we’ve shipped over 15,000 boxes all told since we started.”
Batch’s storefront at Nashville Farmers’ Market, which is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
The start-up started up two Christmases ago when the all-but-native Nashvillian – he’s been here since second grade – was looking for unique presents for friends.
“I wanted to send a box of local Nashville goodies to friends of mine in Colorado,” Davidson says.
“I looked around online and searched, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I wanted something from my favorite coffee shop, my favorite bakery cookies. I ended up driving around town and getting everything myself.”
Davidson didn’t really think about it again until the following spring, when he joined with pals Moseley and Williams. “We thought, what if you had a company that could help people find all of these local items – like cookies from Dozen and coffee from Ugly Mugs and marshmallows from Bang Candy Company – online?”
They spent the summer of 2013 researching and brainstorming and coming up with a name and their concept, sending four locally-made items that would be a surprise each month to the recipient.
They launched in August 2013, added Memphis in January 2014 and Charleston in May.
They experimented this summer with a special limited-time Tour of the South subscription service that proved to be very popular.
Austin is their newest city, and you should definitely look for more additions in 2015.
“Each month, we use brand new purveyors,” Davidson says. “Each month has been different so far. It’s a real testament to the maker community. People are really passionate about making things and about being from in and around Nashville.
Stephen Moseley (left), Sam Davidson and Rob Williams launched Batch in August 2013 and have since shipped more than 16,000 boxes. Batch also has expanded to Charleston, Austin and Memphis.
“Every local maker we work with, the conversation starts a month or more out: ‘Here’s what our forecast is, here’s what we’re going to do, here’s the benefit to you if you’re a Batch monthly shipment, here’s what to expect.’
“It’s not just about how many we send out, but the marketing benefit of getting your product in the hands of the customer, the social media benefit when we mention you on our Batch pages.”
Batch’s concept is proving to be so popular that other cities have reached out and asked to be included, both on the consumer side and the maker side; that’s what sparked this summer’s Tour of the South special.
“People would write and say, ‘When will you be in Atlanta?’ or ‘Hey, I’m in Atlanta and I make these pickles...’ In response to that demand, we did a unique subscription, a Tour of the South that included six cities,” Davidson says. “That was a chance for us to start testing some of these markets, to see how many makers our customer base is interested in.”
Now with the addition of the storefront at the Nashville Farmers Market, people can shop for their own batches of goodies (10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays).
They’ll be able to choose from products including Olive & Sinclair Chocolate, TruBee Honey, East Nashville Spice Company spice blends, Haulin’ Oats oatmeal in a jar and more local favorites.
Batch will ship for them, or they can take their own curated box home. And of course, this is the perfect time for people to order a 3-month, 6-month or 12-month gift subscription online at www.batch.com. It’s for loved ones who’ve left town or have never had the pleasure of living here (and perhaps need to be persuaded).
“We pay very close attention to our brand,” Davidson says. “The gift world is one full of liquor baskets and cellophane. Ours is a handmade craft look.”
Davidson, Moseley and Williams had originally intended Batch as a part-time passion project; they were quite surprised when it took off like it did. From corporate gifts to someone trying to choose a birthday present, Batch is proving to be wildly popular.
“We never really thought it would be such a large company with opportunities in other cities,” Davidson says. “Part of that is testament to Nashville’s appeal. It’s never been hotter. Its star is never going to fade, I don’t think.”