A couple of Sunday’s ago, CourageInStone.com took a big leap. We got face to face with our customers! I know that sounds ridiculous to be excited to ‘see’ our customer, but you have to remember that we are an online-only retailer, we work out of an office adjacent to our warehouse and Brenda has not had a storefront since 2006. I answer the phones most of the time around here, so customer service is no big deal to me and when customers have questions about products I am always ready with the answer…but this face to face stuff is a whole new ballgame!
We went to the Celebrate Gaithersburg Festival and I am happy to report this is a lovely, well planned and well attended event. We had organized ourselves very well and were completely setup and ready to sell by 10:40…the festival started at 12:00…okay we were anxious, what can I say! When the floodgates opened at noon, Amy and I put our game faces on and were ready to sell, sell, sell! Notice I don’t mention Brenda here…there is a reason she closed the storefront! When Amy and I talked about showing at the festival, Brenda was super supportive but said in no uncertain terms that she would not be selling! Our fearless leader likes to be the brains of the operation around here and face to face combat, I mean sales, is not her thing. She came for setup and cleanup and left the selling to the crew!
I must say everything really did go smoothly, we saw lots of smiling faces, heard some good music, and got some funnel cake! (We can’t work every second you know!) The customers were nice and were happy to scour through our items for that perfect stone or token. We did have a few “What do I do with it?” type questions. This can be tricky but we managed to assure people our inspirational items are meant to be used in any way they see fit!
A couple moments really stand out for me. A gentleman walked up with his family and stuck out his hand and introduced himself. My first thought…politician…it is election season you know. He said he was with a local business club and would love to work with us to further our business. This completely threw me for a loop because I was supposed to be the one doing the selling! We exchanged cards, his kids bought something, and he parted with letting me know he would follow up with me the next day. True to his word he did email and call me but he was selling his company way more than offering to promote mine, so I chalked that up to just plain odd!
The other strange moment was from a woman who wanted to barter with us for the stone prices. We specifically didn’t do a flea market because these are not the types of sales we do. She got annoyed we wouldn’t take her deal, was mad we didn’t accept credit cards (she was the only person who asked all day) and I had about thrown in the towel when she had me find her 4 different marble “Thankful” stones only to say that each one was “ugly”. I walked to the opposite side of the table ready for her to go on her dissatisfied way, but much to my surprise she bought 2 stones and a token. Victory! Maybe it was the inspiration or maybe she found some motivation, but darned if our items didn’t speak for themselves after all!
We are planning to attend another event in November and this time Brenda has promised to sell. I’m sure we’ll have more curious stories and a few laughs along the way but I have to say physically seeing the reactions to our products is truly priceless!