In Amazon's first-ever national television advertisement Monday supporting "Amazon Storefronts," a Michigan-based family business takes center stage.
It starts with the jingle of a storefront entrance bell and the co-founder of The Little Flower Soap Co., Holly Rutt, flipping over a sign that reads, "Open on Amazon 24 hours."
Cue a gaggle of The Little Flower Soap Co. delivery boxes being delivered on motorcycles, on a semi and vans – all bearing the company's logo. And in each scene, the Amazon logo also is stamped on something nearby.
The Little Flower Soap Co. sells handmade natural bath and beauty products, from soap and bath bombs to lip balm and oils.
Rutt told the Free Press that the business has had a good relationship with Amazon since they started selling their wares on the site in 2016.
She shared her the excitement of finding out her business was chosen to be featured in the Amazon advertisement, adding that they "couldn't say yes fast enough."
“It’s unprecedented. It’s surreal. We’re just over the moon excited for this opportunity to have all this attention for our little Chelsea, Michigan, business," Rutt said.
Rutt started out making soaps in her kitchen with her husband and co-founder Justin, who is a doctor of osteopathic medicine. She told the Free Press that his chemistry and science background helps with creating new recipes for their natural products, and he's an avid farmer.
"Our very first batch of soaps were favors for our wedding, and that was in 2010," Rutt said.
The soaps were so well received by their guests that Rutt said they were encouraged to turn the favors into a business. So, the pair continued making and selling soaps, and eventually put some online for sale.
"Not long after, it surpassed hobby status," she said.
Rutt, whose background is in floral design, started her streak of entrepreneurship with a business she still owns called Sweet Pea Floral Design. At her busiest, she was cranking out floral pieces for 50 weddings a year, but nowadays she does about five annually.
Once the soaps started taking off, Rutt says running both simply became a "natural transition."
The Little Flower Soap Co. has since taken Rutt and her husband to a big red barn. The two have moved into a renovated farmhouse, where Rutt said they have two acres of land to farm the lavender plants they use for their products.
They have 125 lavender plants so far, and aim to keep adding 75-100 annually for years to come, Rutt said.
"This was our dream," Rutt said. "Our vision was to get the business our of house ... farm our own lavender and hire people from our community to meet our demand."
Rutt said they have seven employees total, two full-time and five part-time, but during the holidays they'll take on another dozen temporary employees. They'll be hiring again in October, and will make an announcement about the job listings on their social media accounts, Rutt said.
Ultimately, Rutt said they're just grateful to Amazon for "walking the talk" and supporting small businesses. The advertisement was shot in Athens, Greece, and Rutt said the week-long experience of filming the ad was wonderful.
"We flew into Athens and we stayed on a mountainside across from the Acropolis, which is all lit up and gorgeous at night," Rutt said. "We're just grateful. ... It's unprecedented for a business our size to receive this national ad campaign."
At Amazon Storefronts, customers can peruse collections exclusively from U.S.-based small- and medium-sized businesses that sell their products on the site and learn more through featured videos and stories.
A "Storefront of the Week" will be highlighted with a video that introduces a particular featured business and the faces behind it, and "Meet the Business Owner" will be a rotating exploratory feature, a release said.
Amazon Storefront boasts over one million curated products and deals from more than 20,000 businesses from all 50 states, a release said. Shopping categories include back to school, home, kitchen, books and more.
“Amazon first invited businesses to sell on Amazon nearly two decades ago, and today, small and medium-sized businesses are a vital part of Amazon’s large selection and commitment to customers. We’re championing their success with this new store and a national advertising campaign featuring a successful Michigan business selling on Amazon to customers across the U.S. and worldwide," Vice President for Amazon Nicholas Denissen said in a statement.
Amazon Storefronts can be accessed by clicking on a rotating banner featuring a U.S. business on the Amazon.com homepage, or visit: www.amazon.com/storefronts.
The Little Flower Soap Co. products also are available at their website, as well as at Bumble's Drygoods on South Main Street in downtown Chelsea, and Rutt's small retail space on 7228 Werkner Road — which is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m .to 5 p.m.