The Rustic Barn Candle Subscription case study

Case Study: The Rustic Barn’s Candle Subscription Relaunch

As a brand photographer, one of the most rewarding parts of my job is partnering with my clients and dedicating my time and energy to their long-term business goals. For me, it’s never just a one-and-done photo shoot– it’s an ongoing relationship that we get to build over time. 

The client-photographer relationship starts before I ever snap a single picture during the planning phase and lasts long after the final edit as I guide my clients to implement and leverage their brand imagery.
I often have the privilege of working with clients on an ongoing basis to consistently refresh their brand imagery and strategy. This is particularly valuable for businesses that frequently introduce new products, services, and promotions because it helps them effectively showcase and share these offers with their audience.

One such client that places their trust in my ability to capture the essence of their incredibly unique business year-round is The Rustic Barn, a business I can only sum up as a “one-of-a-kind retail experience” that fuses farmhouse living with interior design, woodworking, home goods and more! 
Most recently, we joined forces to bring an idea to life that owners, Lisa and Steve, had been dreaming up for years.

The Rustic Barn has a magnificent in-store candle room where they meticulously hand-pour their exceptional soy-based candles. The sheer quality and distinctiveness of these candles have made them a top-selling item in their Killingworth, CT store. 

Over the years, we have captured numerous images to not only showcase the candle displays in the store but to also highlight the intricate candle-making process, from wax blending to wick trimming to naming the scents!

candle subscription nicole bedard photo video

It is already a successful endeavor and a huge part of The Rustic Barns’s in-store revenue!
But for some time, Lisa had been dreaming of more. She envisioned offering a candle box subscription, allowing customers to bring the incredible scents of the candle room into their own homes.

She had attempted a similar launch about a year ago, but the results were less promising than she had hoped.

Determined to do it right this time, Lisa sought the expertise of a team made up of copywriter Sam from Sam Bee Writes, web designer Renee of Meadowbrook Web Design, web designer, branding pro, and tech expert Lauren from Lola Design Co., and, of course, yours truly as the photographer, Nicole Bedard Photo + Video.

This project was a truly unique experience, as each of us relied on the strengths of the others. In the end, we successfully combined our skills to make our respective contributions shine even brighter.

The Copy Strategy

We brought in Sam Boettger of Sam Bee Writes to get things rolling. Lisa wanted to boost online sales for her candle subscription gift boxes, so Sam dove into the current website copy to figure out why sales weren’t adding up. She came up with a plan to help bridge the gap.

First, Sam recommended doing some market research. She wanted to know what The Rustic Barn’s audience cared about, what they wanted, and what held them back from buying the candle subscription boxes in the past.

The research revealed the importance of making the copy absolutely clear regarding what the offer entailed and emphasizing what truly mattered to their ideal customers. It was crucial that the copy not only highlighted the quality and benefits of the subscription but also provided practical explanations for the options such as scents, subscription frequency, and customization.
Sam leveraged this research and customer testimonials to craft compelling copy for a dedicated web page showcasing the offer, as well as a more streamlined and effective checkout page.

copy for product subscription

Before, the web page for the subscription box only included a simple shopping cart and some info on the subscription options. Sam saw several opportunities to address customer concerns, answer their questions, and emphasize what made the candle box subscription so special. She wrote original copy with clear calls to action that highlighted the features and benefits of the candle box subscription. 
But she didn’t stop there!

Without marketing and selling the offer, even the most well-crafted webpage copy will fall flat if people don’t actually see it! It was time to get more eyeballs on the candle box subscription!

To do this, Sam recommended a week-long promotion to The Rustic Barn’s engaged, warm email list. Lisa had noticed that people were opening her emails consistently, but those opens and clicks weren’t converting into sales. Sam’s goal was to change that by connecting with their email subscribers through a well-crafted 10-email sales sequence.

The Brand Imagery 

Once the webpage and email copy was finalized, I jumped into action. I already had a library of brand imagery showcasing the candles featured in these subscription boxes.

These photos capture the entire candle-making process, from the meticulous wax pouring to the artistry of “The Boss,” Seli, as she adds scents to each hand-poured soy-based candle. They also give a glimpse of the final product displayed on the shelf.

product subscription blog post-3

However, this project called for additional imagery to truly drive home the essence of the candle box offer. We weren’t just selling individual candles in-store; we were selling an experience, whether purchased in person or online.

With Sam’s copy leading the way, I had a clear plan for the kind of supportive imagery I would need to capture during my next brand photoshoot with The Rustic Barn. I am a big believer that copy and imagery work hand-in-hand– together they capture the full experience a brand is working to convey to its audience. 

In this case, it was my job to show them what Sam’s copy told them. 

To help guide my plan, I used the features and benefits of the candle subscription offer. I wanted to highlight the following:

To showcase how personalized the candle boxes are, I zoomed in on the handwritten note included in the first box of any gift order. As seen below, candlemaker, Seli, writes these herself before hand-packing each box.

Next, I put the product front and center, drawing attention to the exquisite gift wrapping. I wanted to make it easy for prospective buyers to see the contents of each box. The boxes include one beautifully packaged 8 oz. candle tumbler and one 4 oz. candle tin. They make such a unique, thoughtful gift, whether it’s for someone else or a treat for yourself.

Next, my goal was to give buyers a glimpse of the experience awaiting them when their candle box subscription arrives at their doorstep. While local customers had the convenience of free in-store pickup, the delivery option extended The Rustic Barn’s reach, allowing them to ship anywhere in the U.S. 
I just love the idea of bringing a bit of The Rustic Barn’s candle room straight to their customer’s homes. Plus, who could resist those cute, branded shipping boxes?

candle subscription image_nicole bedard photo video

Finally, as we planned this candle subscription promotion, our team made the decision to sweeten the deal by offering an incentive with every subscription box purchase during the week-long promotion.
We weighed all the options, and instead of offering a discount, Lisa decided to add value in a truly Rustic Barn fashion. 

add on to candle subscription promotion

Lisa’s husband and business partner, Steve, is a master woodworker. We were excited to leverage his talents and include a free, handmade wooden candle riser to encourage her audience to buy! I knew I had to showcase these incredible, one-of-a-kind designs during our shoot! It was truly the icing on top of an already incredible offer.

Web Design + Tech Magic

With Sam’s copy “wireframe” and my brand imagery, Renee of Meadowbrook Web Designs worked her magic on the web design and Lauren of Lola Design Co. gifted us with her tech skills to bring it all to life! 

Lauren has worked closely with The Rustic Barn to define their brand design, logo, website, and marketing — she even designed their shipping boxes! It was exciting to expand the original website to showcase this offer on its own dedicated web page separate from individual candles.

Renee started the webpage design and implementation process by taking the copy and marrying it with the style, design, and vibe of The Rustic Barn’s current site so that everything felt aligned with their branding. She wove together the details that make these candles so high quality, with clear calls to action while highlighting client testimonials as social proof throughout the page. 
These sections, in The Rustic Barn’s brand colors, fonts, and design paired with strong brand imagery brought the whole idea to life through a clear, simple, user experience.
Click here to see the end result!

new landing page for candle subscription 1
new landing page for candle subscription 2

Then, Lauren jumped in to implement the tech side of things. She finalized the backed logistics for the checkout page that Renee built out which included additional imagery and copy about the offer. The goal here was to ensure the purchase experience was as smooth as possible by offering clear subscription packages, scent profile selection, and pricing details as well as information about shipping, in-store pick-up, and ship dates. 

We got this all set up so that customers would have a seamless checkout experience on Shopify where they could add their personalized note and make their order selections, while also ensuring The Rustic Barn had a simple order intake process so they could fulfill orders successfully. 

It Takes a Village

Bringing an offer or a promotion to life truly takes a village. I am so honored to be able to collaborate not only with my amazing clients but with other inspiring branding and marketing professionals to pull an idea like this together from dream to reality. 

When it comes to investing in your business, outsourcing the right-for-you experts can be a game-changer.

The Rustic Barn didn’t just achieve clarity around a new offer; they also managed to increase their sales almost thirtyfold during a single week-long promotion compared to the previous year when they tried to sell a similar candle subscription service.

Now, that’s something to be proud of!

The messaging clarity, compelling brand imagery, and engaging web design pulled it all together in a way that clearly resonated with their audience and ultimately drove sales. 

rustic barn candle on my desk

I for one am a huge fan of The Rustic Barn’s candles (I regularly have one burning in my home office while editing) and am so excited that more and more people get to experience the amazing scents and commitment to quality this amazing business has to share.

Let’s Bring YOUR Vision To Life

Have a vision of bringing a new offer, product, or service to life in your own creative business? I would be honored to support you through brand imagery. 

Be sure to explore my brand photography and brand videography services and reach out if you feel like working together would be a good fit!

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