Cheryl Sher, founder of Bliss in a Bottle, doesn’t want customers’ locations to be the reason they are unable to purchase her carefully curated wine and chocolate pairings.
The franchise started in 2014 with a mall kiosk in Columbus, and then spread to additional shop locations, as well as seasonal shops in Cincinnati, Akron, Canton, Toledo and Dayton.
As the years progressed and Sher noticed people’s shopping platforms altered, the brand’s locations changed to a warehouse in Columbus and a store in Wilmington, N.C.
To help more people experience Bliss in a Bottle’s diverse variety of kosher and non-kosher alcohols, juices and sodas with chocolate covered bottles, Sher decided to transition the company to a more online-forward platform. And she recently started the process of licensing the brand to fine wine and liquor shops so they can have a Bliss in a Bottle department.
“That’s also in response to the fact that there’s not a lot of interstate shipping between retailers to consumers,” said Sher, a resident of Columbus who attends Chabad Columbus. “This would give me the option of having people in states I cannot ship to able to receive Bliss in a Bottle products in their state from a shop carrying the brand.”
The want for indulgent wines and chocolates is one of the few things COVID-19 hasn’t affected, Sher said, but the struggle has been figuring out ways to deliver Bliss in a Bottle’s sweets without relying on kiosks and shops.
“Chocolate is a very affordable luxury, and alcohol consumption is definitely up,” Sher said. “I think people are drinking more at home, because they’re not able to consume as much in restaurants, especially when all of them were closed or did carry-out.
“We’re pushing to profit on that increase, but nothing is easy. We’re working on every angle of how to still get a product that was popular at mall retail into people’s hands.”
Sher and her team all follow strict COVID-19 safety protocols, and wear masks, gloves and goggles when making and packaging the bottles. The warehouse and store locations are by appointment only.
Bliss in a Bottle’s sales throughout the pandemic have been successful, she said. People who are still celebrating life’s many milestones – now virtually – purchase Sher’s pairings as gifts.
“Sales have been pretty good,” she said. “We can put together a whole pack so that people on a Zoom, whether it’s a team building event, birthday party, shower or wedding, can do their toasts and everybody has the same item. We’ve been doing a lot of things to enhance and make things special even from afar, like for events that you would normally celebrate in person, so they’re still being celebrated.”
Sher looks forward to Rosh Hashanah, noting the brand’s kosher collection of dipped wines that can be shipped throughout Ohio and a number of other states, and kosher dipped juices and honeys that can be shipped anywhere.
“Hopefully, it’s going to be a nice gift-giving season, especially since people won’t be able to be at those large gatherings celebrating with people in-person,” Sher said.
No matter what the pandemic throws at her business, Sher knows she has to have confidence and change with the time.
“We just have to keep adapting and stay healthy,” Sher said. “It’s a quality product; we use the highest quality ingredients: Belgian chocolate and really fine inclusions in the chocolate. We’re just trying to still find the best way to offer this, and I’m going to ask customers whether they would like to see us in malls again or if they would rather see us as an online store with shipping specials or pick-up available in Columbus.”