Friday, December 14, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Retailer During the Holidays: Day 13

Only 11 days until Christmas & then, a whole week off!  I started that tradition when the girls were young, both to give me time for r&r after the busy holidays and to make space to be with the kids when they were off from school.

Speaking of's time for my favorite gift-giving memory.  It involves my youngest daughter, Jenny, and it's a story I love to tell.  She was five, and my 'store' was still on my dining room table.  Jenny would come home from kindergarten to find strangers in her home, looking at shiny jewelry with her mommy.  But Jenny's never met a stranger, and this day would prove no different.

A new customer, someone I had just met, had brought her brother to buy his engagement ring.  As the brother and sister looked at their options, Jenny quietly observed until she sized up the situation.  Without missing a beat, she picked up a gorgeous ring (with a bigger diamond) and shoved it into the stranger's hand. "This is the one you should buy," she declared.  He smiled politely and agreed to consider her suggestion.

We were at his wedding months later and became intimate friends with his whole clan.

Why do I love this story?  Because it illustrates some of the best things about retail done right:

  • It's about team work.  One of my mantras is: "it takes a village."  And, that day, the village was me and my five-year-old!
  • It's about listening.  Jenny listened first, and then offered help.
  • It's about trust.  I trusted these people enough to have them in my home, and they, in turn, trusted me enough to share this amazing moment in their lives.
  • It's about relationship.  That interaction wasn't about a transaction for me or Jenny.  It was about helping a young man show his love tangibly.  From that very personal interaction, we built a friendship that lasted decades.
When was the last time you felt known in a retail store?  I hope recently!  And if you happen to come in my store and I don't know you, introduce yourself.  I promise: I'll do my best to earn your trust and, hopefully, to become your friend.

Until tomorrow....