When I started this business 18 months ago, I believed that my customers would mostly be women buying beautiful scarves for themselves.
I fantasised about young female executives wanting to liven up their business suits… Fashionistas looking for bold statements… Elegant baby boomers motivated by their social life…
Well, I was wrong. And not just once, but right off target on three counts!
Yes, women do love my scarves. But surprisingly enough most of them shop for someone else first. They buy a gift and when they receive it in the mail, they get tempted and order another one or three!
Which brings me to my second misconception.
I believed that gift-buyers would like gift-vouchers. Wrong again! I have never sold a single voucher! So they’re off the website.
Obviously it’s much more exciting to offer and receive something beautiful – especially with a friendly exchange policy.
Now about my third and biggest misconception. This one came to light as a huge surprise for me.
Mind you, I could have known, had I listened more carefully…
In the early stages of this business, I worked for several months with a coach, a highly successful guy in his late thirties called Luke. When I first explained to him what I intended to do, Luke asked lots of questions and confirmed that my project had potential.
He then thought some more about it. And after a pause blurted out he actually loved the idea. Because, he said, like most men he had great difficulty finding something really special for his wife.
Think about it, he added… Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s day, mothers’ day, Christmas… All these women hoping to receive something unique and beautiful, and all these men eager to please.
“Marlyse, he said, I just wonder if men buyers will be your business’ sweet spot…”
At the time I didn’t believe it. But Luke was right!
About 65% of my clients are men. Some call me and ask for personal advice, which I’m happy to give. Others make an appointment and visit my studio. I like that too. And most just order online. And I’ve never had a return!
So I know now that I’m in the business of love, appreciation and gratitude. Isn’t that great?
Which reminds me of Zig Ziglar’s well-known insight: “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Spot on. I love helping people and I love painting stunning silk scarves. And those who give, receive or wear them love them just as much!
So thank you for being a part of my life and making it so much fun!