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Hello again, friends! Can you believe it’s mid-October? The holidays are upon us, which means ‘tis the season of giving. For small e-commerce businesses, that often means rewarding your best customers. As part 3 of our 10-part marketing automation series, the What’s in Store crew recently spoke with Jessica Sennett, founder of Cheese Grotto. She told us about her ethical business practices and some of the different ways she appreciates her customers.

Cheese Grotto is Jessica’s proprietary system designed to preserve cheese—“a humidor for the ultimate cheese lover,” as she puts it. Basically, it’s a little humidity-controlled box for your cheeses. Jessica’s nifty culinary invention is the byproduct of her having worked in cheese retail and education for 11 years and wanting to create a beautiful, architecturally sound storage device for specialty cheeses.

Jessica’s product is certainly niche, but her business philosophy is one that many e-commerce businesses can relate to. It revolves around 3 guiding principles.

As part of its eco-friendly construction, the Cheese Grotto is made of glass, clay and Plyboo (think: plywood, but made of bamboo). Jessica explains: “I also source sustainable materials such as Birch, Richlite, and Stratum. What makes these materials sustainable is that their environmental impact and carbon footprint is monitored from harvest to final material.”

“The manufacturing industry is a challenge in America, as most of the industry has moved overseas,” Jessica says. “My goal is to reinvest back into the American manufacturing industry, so that I can keep my product line domestic.”

By creating a line of products and manufacturing them in Richmond, Virginia, Jessica’s been able to create new positions at the local facility. “I am still a small business, but I have the potential to create more job opportunities for skilled craftspeople, and it is my longterm goal to have a larger impact.”

For Jessica, giving back to her customers is just as important as giving back to local communities. One of the ways she does this is by rewarding her best customers through Cheese Grotto’s exclusive membership program. Jessica uses MailChimp’s Best Customers automation to send members monthly emails with exclusive discounts, cross-promotions, and early access to new products.

“It’s a great way to target my best customers,” she says.

Jessica instead uses that time and energy to show customer appreciation in other ways, like offering Facebook Live tutorials and sending handwritten thank you notes.

“My business would be nothing without my customers,” she says. “Their feedback and enthusiasm helps me grow every day.”

Learn more about MailChimp’s marketing automations.