Marketing is an essential part of any business because if people don’t know about you they can’t buy your product. In an effort to improve my marketing skills, I watch various webinars, follow blogs and listen to podcasts. Some are better than others.
Three of my favourite ‘gurus’ so far are:
Kate Hills, the champion of all things produced in Britain. Kate works tirelessly to support British manufacturing and her new Podcasts are great for hearing from other business men and women about how they have succeeded.
Nigel Botterill who runs the Entrepreneurs Circle. I have watched a couple of his webinars and he gives solid, no nonsense advice to help small businesses get ahead of the competition. I’m always nervous about being in touch with customers too much, but he’s helping me to be more confident. I also love his Design a Life concept.
Janet Murray. Janet is focused on being organised and planning marketing content to be consistent through the year. I have invested in her Media Diary for 2019 which has led me to writing this weekly blog. There is so much more I could be doing but as a time poor business owner, I think it’s better to try to do one thing really well.
This week I am reading a fantastic book, ‘Smart Retail’ by Richard Hammond, a very experienced retail problem-solver. It’s brilliant. It’s offers advice and it’s full of ‘how to’ based on the success stories of some of the biggest retailers around the world. I am part way through the book and, so far, one of the most important questions Mr Hammond has asked is “What are you for?” So, I have been navel gazing a bit for the last few days wondering what is Roundabout for? What do I give to customers?
I am really lucky to meet my customers at all the different pop-up events I go to and I love chatting with them. The nature of my shop is that it’s always in a place where people are enjoying a day out with friends or family. They are relaxed, having fun browsing unusual products that are not available on the high street and they want to hear the story of the small businesses they are supporting. They also tell me about themselves and I have met some fascinating people. It’s amazing what you discover through conversation with strangers and as a lot of my customers are grandparents, they often have many colourful life stories to share.
In thinking about these conversations, my navel gazing has led me to realise that every one of my customers is buying a gift. It might be for a godchild, a grandchild, a great-grandchild, a neighbours child, a niece or nephew, or even their own child, but it’s always a present because, although I sell clothes for children, they are not the ones doing the buying.
When I choose fabrics, I choose with the child in mind; I want children to be excited about wearing my designs and I hope this is what customers connect with when they discover Roundabout. They see a dress or pair of shorts and think it will be the ideal present. They invest in the clothes, but what they are also buying is the anticipation and pleasure of giving a special gift to a child they love and that is what Roundabout is for!
The clothes provide a way to share a child’s passion, be it for dinosaurs or dragons, sheep or horses, they can reflect that in the clothes they wear. I love hearing from returning customers that one of my designs was last year’s favourite item and was worn nearly everyday. Then I know that customer has experienced the delight of giving.