I think we have all heard the statistic that after the third generation, many businesses fail to thrive if kept within a family. I’m not sure exactly why, but I’m going to speculate that it is a lack of passion. Surely not everybody in a family is as passionate about what drove the founder to begin a small business, and surely every successor isn’t excited to to be an entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong, many successful businesses thrive when passed on, and I realize i’m generalizing, but there’s something to be said about the magic you feel when purchasing from an entrepreneur. For me, the magic comes in the form of feeling extra special, having excellent customer service and feeling an emotional connection to keep coming back.
Feeling extra special is anything above and beyond asking if you need help in a store and being thanked when leaving. It’s so much more, especially in such a competitive landscape. For me, it’s the handwritten thank you note that is tucked into the carefully wrapped tissue paper, it’s the conversation around why you’re buying the product, it’s informed conversation, never a one sided lecture. It’s an experience, it’s like a short yet deep friendship.
The next is excellent customer service. Sure, you can argue that making me feel special would come from excellent customer service but for me, it’s defined at a more logistical level. As an example, I recently fell in love with a small indie boutique who has their head office in Vancouver, but I purchased their products exclusively from a boutique in St Johns, Newfoundland. Since moving provinces, I reached out and contacted to see where in Toronto had their apparel. I received a prompt reply, clearly not a copy and paste answer, with a detailed list of the boutiques complete with an address and phone number. Customer service? top notch.
From the above two,combine with a product you’re in love with, creates this sense of connection that makes you want to continue to come back. You don’t always get to feel special when you’re at school or work, but you know you will from the store. That special feeling doesn’t leave, because when you adorn that new piece it just stays with you. Through a tough business meeting or an unpleasant commute to work, it’s given you a secret weapon, and a lot of the times you don’t even realize where that extra boost is coming from.
For all of these reasons, I love shopping from indie boutiques, especially ones that are still connected to the person passionate enough to make it their life. There is nothing like that extra intangible something that really makes you memorable, and that makes me (and others) keep coming back.
Article written by guest blogger, Bhreigh Gillis. You can follow Bhreigh at @Bhreigh