On a lazy Thursday evening in mid-August, the Indy Maven meetup took us north to Carmel. We knew we were in for a treat – one that wouldn’t leave us with a hangover the following morning. Loren’s AF Beverages is filled to the brim (see what we did there?) with alcohol-free (AF) beverages. From wines to beers, spirits to mixers, Loren’s AF has it all. According to the Nation Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, research is showing that alcohol use and misuse in women is on the rise. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 13% of women report binge drinking tendencies.
Enter female Co-Founders – and sisters – Kristen Patrick and Andee Simpson. They created Loren’s AF Beverages (named after their father who passed away in 2022) to create more opportunity for the alcohol-free movement to grow and thrive in central Indiana. They are on a mission to disrupt the narrative that alcohol is essential to celebrate, relax or network. Their mantra? To surprise and delight. We can get behind that.
But then, Kristen and Andee shifted our attention to their work as female entrepreneurs and just really gave us pause, inspired us to tune back into our intuition and build value-based businesses. Loren’s AF values? Wellness, privacy, curiosity and inclusion (their store is a safe space for LGBTQIA + community members, as well as Muslims). And those values are at the core of all their operating decisions.
RETHINKING RETAIL ADVICE #1
When they first started dreaming up Loren’s AF, Kristen and Andee led with curiosity, speaking to other entrepreneurs to gain insight, ask questions and learn how to grow a successful business. Across the board, everyone insisted they start small. Become vendors at farmers markets! Create pop-up shops galore! And while that certainly works for some, the idea of schlepping product all around town was not for them. So they listened to their intuition and decided not to start small, finding their current locale on Main Street in Carmel. They cut costs by using simple, economical ways to decorate the space, and we can concur that the space is minimalist with thoughtful touches that are welcoming and spacious – even with well-stocked shelves.
RETHINKING RETAIL ADVICE #2
Next up, they decided to buck tradition and go cashless. That’s right. They accept all forms of payment, as long as it’s not cash. It’s safer when it comes to owning a brick and mortar store, but Kristen and Andee also believe it’s the future of retail, and it’s simpler.
RETHINKING RETAIL ADVICE #3
Continuing their streamlined decisions, Loren’s AF does not do markdowns. What you see is what you get. To make this work, they are strategic in how and what they purchase, and therefore their margins are not that big (think shipping, etc.).
RETHINKING RETAIL ADVICE #4
Kristen and Andee are Shopify Queens. Everything they do, they do through Shopify. Including loans. Shopify Capital has been “transformative.” From building a website to email marketing to increasing their capital, Loren’s AF does it all with Shopify. By keeping everything under the singular umbrella of Shopify, Shopify knows all Loren’s AF’s data points, and Kristen and Andee quickly became one of their top performers. So Shopify gave them capital to continue to grow their business. They find Shopify small business friendly.
Want to keep up to date on what this female-owned business has to offer? Visit Loren’s AF Beverages online or in person (located at 5790 East Main St. in Carmel), join their Book Club and sign up for their newsletter. One last, delightful suggestion: check out Andee’s very own oracle deck. On sale through Loren’s AF website, Busy Women Need Answers Oracle Deck sounds like it was made with Mavens in mind.