March 8, 2022
Samantha Johnston

With Crisp, Thistle Farms Helps Women Thrive

For International Women’s Day we’re highlighting Thistle Farms, a nonprofit that uses data to power their social enterprise – and provide lifelong employment opportunities for women.

A pathway of healing and hope

For nearly 25 years, Thistle Farms has cultivated a sanctuary for women survivors in the heart of Nashville. The nonprofit provides women who have experienced trafficking, abuse, and addiction with a safe place to live, a meaningful job, and a lifelong sisterhood of support. 

Thistle Farms is unique in its model of radical hospitality, providing two years of free housing and care to help women rebuild and heal. Early on, Thistle Farms saw that while residents were making great strides in recovery, they struggled to become financially self-sufficient due to employment barriers. In response, staff and residents began making and selling candles — and the Thistle Farms social enterprise was born. After launching at their first Whole Foods location in Nashville 12 years ago, Thistle Farms has grown steadily in retail, winning Whole Foods’ Supplier of the Year award in 2016 and running two successful national campaigns. Now, Thistle Farms offers a wide variety of products in home goods, body care, and more across 450 Whole Foods locations, Amazon, and a number of independent retailers. Over the past year alone, Thistle Farms enterprises collectively reached more than 40,000 customers, providing over $2 million in income for survivors.

Spending valuable time in spreadsheets

At Thistle Farms, a strong retail business is about more than sales: it’s about creating lifelong employment opportunities for its clients. To keep sales healthy, Sales Coordinator Sherri Roddick kept a close eye on how products were performing across their Whole Foods distribution – but it wasn’t easy. “It was all manual,” Sherri reflects. “I was the spreadsheet queen. There was a spreadsheet for everything.” In fact, Sherri dedicated a full week out of every month to extracting and consolidating raw data, then deciphering it to inform strategic planning for marketing and sales. But at a nonprofit trying to do the most it can every day, this wasn’t the best way to spend time.

When Crisp came to Nashville for our 2021 all-team gathering, we visited Thistle Farms and learned about the incredible programs (and products!) they had created. So the team set Sherri up with a pro bono Crisp account for Whole Foods and Amazon, and suddenly she had retail data at her fingertips.

Starting every day with data

Now, Sherri can get instant access to the latest sales data across all of Thistle Farms’ retail locations. She checks Crisp every morning to get a high-level view of the business, keep an eye on her biggest accounts, and check for issues that need further attention. Sherri notes that moving to daily use of data has been a game-changer. “Crisp is now my central place for data. It’s been amazing at helping me be much more proactive,” Sherri says. “At Thistle Farms, we wear a lot of different hats, so having literally hours out of my month back is time that I can use to acquire new retail stores and proactively grow the business.” 

In particular, Sherri loves that Crisp dashboards reveal new insights into retail performance. With the Velocity dashboard, Sherri can better understand the rate of sales at key stores, identifying where trends are picking up or where it might make sense to do a promotion. With these trend lines at her fingertips every day, she can easily make projections and adjust operations accordingly. And with Crisp’s saved reports, Sherri can save a filtered view of the stores she monitors most often, then quickly refer back to that same report every day with just a click.

“We wear a lot of different hats, so having literally hours out of my month back is time that I can use to acquire new retail stores and proactively grow the business.”

Sherri Roddick, Sales Coordinator

Sherri said the biggest game-changer was Crisp’s Voids dashboard, which analyzes 13 different data points to detect stores where a product should be selling, but isn’t. She remembers that when she first saw this dashboard, “it was mind blowing.” As a retail sales pro, Sherri knows that all kinds of things can happen in a store that might make a product fall off the radar, but until Crisp, she had no way to easily detect those situations. “In a brick-and-mortar retail environment, things can fall through the cracks,” Sherri explains. “But now, for instance, if a SKU went missing in the retailer’s system and products stop selling, I can identify the issue and proactively work to fix the situation.” 

The future looks bright

Sherri still does her monthly data deep-dive, but with Crisp, she can skip the time-consuming step of compiling data and focus instead on forward-looking insights. She analyzes year over year sales performance, and can even compare across three-year timelines to account for COVID-related patterns. She can then compare individual stores’ sales each year, see if sales are on track, and identify if something fell short and why. 

With quick filtering, Sherri also analyzes sales trends by SKU, quickly identifying the top five sellers each month. This helps her coordinate with marketing teams or prepare for an in-store demo, knowing ahead of time which products are most popular at a given store. Sherri can also use product data to detect seasonal trends, especially for their essential oils products. In one example, Sherri found that a fragrance the team thought would trend seasonally was actually showing consistent sales year-round, so she adjusted plans to keep the product stocked. 

Another member of Sherri’s team does forecasting, and having an accurate sense of current data and YOY trends helps her get a more accurate projection. And in their 25th anniversary year, there is plenty for Thistle Farms to look forward to. They plan on using Crisp’s new Shopify connector to better analyze their growing e-commerce business. Thistle Farms is also preparing to move into a new manufacturing facility twice the size of their existing space, which will help them improve capacity as sales grow – all while opening a new safe house in Nashville to provide the community with more immediate assistance. Plus, Sherri’s team is gearing up to launch a new essential oils product line for spring. To browse Thistle Farms’ products and learn how you can support the organization, visit

To learn more about how data can help your brand grow, contact us for a demo. For more inspiring stories from Crisp brands, subscribe to the blog

Subscribe to the blog

* Required

We will handle your contact details in line with our Privacy Policy.

Be Data Ready for Anything

Crisp uses the power of the cloud to connect and analyze all of your data sources in real-time, providing you with the most meaningful insights and trends for your business. When you know exactly what’s in store, you can keep shelves stocked and customers happy while skyrocketing profitability.

gordos-black high-road-black (8) nounos-logo-black
nature meats logo-black olipop-black gordos-logo