To the Future and Back
Founded in 1838 by Dr. Galen Hunter, Bigelow is the oldest apothecary in the United States, with some amazing history. Ian and his ancestors have stayed true to the company’s traditions of focusing on personalized products, services and formulas. Two centuries later, a Bigelow experience seems to transport us back in time and into the future simultaneously. Today, the company has been rebooted itself from the historical landmark in NYC into a vast global platform with over 10,000 personal care products, gaining the attention of multi-generational e-commerce shoppers.
An Essential-Connected Business
Unlike most companies that were founded after WWII, Bigelow has undergone some extreme times like two world wars, the Great Depression, 9-11 and COVID-19. Deemed essential during the 2020 lock-down, they reacted quickly, never closed and continued prioritizing emotional connections with wary shoppers—something they are good at in good times and bad.
Not Your Father’s Store
Ian continues to expanded the brand, including a rebooted retail business which still has the original functioning pharmacy, an expansive commerce site, and Bigelow Trading, which imports and distributes several brands. Having been on a few large family-enterprise boards myself, I like how Ian, who runs one of the oldest US family companies himself, seeks out and represents other family brands and products, who also have multi-generational heritage stories.
Focus and Passion
Ian provides some advice to aspiring entrepreneurs to set your sights on something you love. Many of us have set out to disrupt markets mostly for profit reasons, which can limit results. He prefers to focus on creating something you are very passionate or even obsessed about. Starting a business should be for the right reasons first and often things will fall into place financially. It is important not to get sidetracked, so listen in here, or where ever you listen to podcasts, to find out what type of sign you should hang up in your office to remind you of just that.
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