Jul 19, 2011
Store Room: “How do you explain what you do to those unfamiliar with the industry?”
Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn’t – for our readers, from our readers.
“How do you explain what you do to those unfamiliar with the industry?”
Los Angeles, Calif.
Actually, sometimes I don’t have to explain. I just apply a bunch of clown make-up or smear blood gel to my face and that says it all. But when I try to explain what I do to someone unfamiliar with our industry, first of all, I don’t really have to because our store is so jam-packed with goodies that they’re overwhelmed. I also jump when necessary to special order what they need.
I also explain that our industry is really magical and thrilling, because we all gather our brains together to create fantasy and illusion for their next big party or event. I finally explain that most people in our industry truly have a love for it and wouldn’t dream of doing anything else.
Over the Top Costume Shoppe
So I’m standing at a meeting or party with a drink in my hand and the subject comes up about, “What do you do for a living?” When I say that I own a costume shop, folks always ask, “What do you do outside of Halloween?”
That’s when Santa and the Easter Bunny come to my rescue. I ask them if they have seen Santa and the Easter Bunny with a costume. Have they been to a parade? This is where I get them to look inside their heads at the other holidays/events/marketing that they see costumes at and voila! They are educated.
I always love to have customers come into my store not knowing what to expect except a balloon store. They look around at all of the different balloon sculptures and ideas with columns and arches, a wedding cake table set up on display and some of the most unusual balloon flowers that we can make or twist and they get so excited. Many are fast to tell us that they had no idea that you could do all of this with a balloon.
I explain to them that we are not just a balloon store, that we have taken training from the best to become twisters and entertainers as well as balloon sculptors-that sets us apart from the other balloon stores. We tell them that we’re not just a “balloon on a string.”
Many times I go into a short version of how balloons are made and the association of Wichita and it is surprising how many people don’t even have a clue as to how balloons are made or where they come from. When I tell them the printed one are made in El Dorado, Kan., they can hardly believe it.
Many people that come in for one balloon and leave with a big bouquet, and many times even with a complete wedding plan! I get so excited getting them to fall in love with balloons, and when they leave they’re so happy and glad they came in. They tell us that they are going to tell all of their friends.
Most of the time it starts with them asking, “What do you do?” “I own a greeting card company.” “Really? Like Hallmark?” “Yes. Just like Hallmark.” (Smile and wink.)
By the time I’m done describing MikWright’s unique look and approach to writing, you can see the eyes begin to twinkle in recognition. Then the laughter begins.
H. Rosenberg and Assoc.
As a retired sales rep of more than 25 years, I would say that the store owners must get very familiar with their reps – the ones who give service and have integrity. A good rep has the knowledge of all competitors and hot and important lines in the industry, and he/she will let you know what the best items are and keep you informed of upcoming shows. This should be of some help to store owners.