Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lessons Learned from Paddywax

The success of new items in the shop, including a new line of fragrance diffusers and candles, started me thinking about successes I've had and lessons I've learned. This 'Library' series is proving to be a hit with customers but I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit to having brought in a few less than popular products at times.

Popular wisdom tells us that we learn a great deal from our mistakes. I do believe this and can readily tell you which mistakes I've made and what I've learned from them.

As time marches on with this business of mine, I am serving a greater number of people in a greater number of ways. After four years, I am certainly a bedding specialist, having encountered a surprising number of unique beds and customer choices.

I know I've made two mistakes in bedskirts - when we make assumptions, we're often wrong. Assumptions with these two customers proved that their box springs were not standard height and the skirts were short. I now ask everyone to confirm box spring height. Lesson learned.

The thing is; I am learning a great deal more from my successes.

I've sold a great many skirts that were exactly right; even different than a customer may have thought of. The comments these customers make when they return to the shop tell me much more about what goes right. These "successes" encourage me to make like suggestions to other customers, who report back that they are pleased, and so on.

Every bit of feedback a customer shares with me is a lesson. I've been remarkably blessed with the positive remarks I hear. Each one inspires me and teaches me I'm on the right path.

Lessons come in many ways. A new line of products which sits on the shelf instead of going home in customer bags is a lesson learned.

But a new line of products that flies out the door teaches me so much more. This lesson teaches me about quantities to buy; varieties to introduce; prices to set; display to complement; and customer service to explain.

The lesson of products unsold tells me I missed the mark with that item. End of lesson. The lesson of successful buying also tells me I'm on the right track with what I like for my customers; encouraging me to trust my instincts and keep going with new and bigger ideas, which brings additional sales. Which encourages me to trust my instincts and keep going ...

Each and every Paddywax product sold teaches me that my judgment is fine. Popular wisdom may be right about learning from our mistakes but I believe I am far more successful because of the positive reinforcement I've received than I would be focusing on the errors I've made.

Not all that different from training my puppy!

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