Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Heart Of The Matter

Hello, friends, hope you're enjoying your long Memorial Day weekend.  Scott and I are enjoying taking a couple of days off, and I know my sore back is relieved as well.

Last week we discussed a possible name change, keeping within the parameters of the initials "WFS".  We also talked to our crew and a few others about it - and got mixed reactions, similar to the comments you see on our last post.  This is what I love about small business and social media!  This blog, our Facebook page, Pinterest - they all are a conduit to you, our friends, and allow us to gauge how receptive you are to any of our ideas.  From the feedback we received about this one v(and thank you, dear friends, for your honesty) it looks like we won't be making that change anytime soon.  We'll stay Webster's Fine Stationers - WFS - because that's who we are.

Just know that we are fair and sustainable and those initials could stand for that as well, okay?  Okay then!

Tuesday will start another work week - I know our local friends are looking forward to the new Farmers Market at Loma Alta Park on Wednesday from 3:00 to 7:00 pm!  Maybe we'll see you there.....

Enjoy your holiday and we'll talk next week!

Lori and Scott

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What's In A Name?

Anyone with a smidgeon of marketing knowledge will tell you that what you name your business is of critical importance.  After all, it’s the very first thing people see and is the business owner’s opportunity to make a good first impression. 

Take our name, for instance.  Webster’s Fine Stationers is what we went with when Scott and I had to scramble to accommodate his father's request that we keep the original name.  Actually, that name is a misnomer – since we were just a pass-through department and never a separate store outright, like the Hallmark or the liquor stores were, we never really had a name before.  Prior to the separation of the stores, we were just “the stationery department”.   So, in our attempt to honor our landlord’s wishes, we kept the name “Webster’s” and “Stationery”.  Historically, the name implied that we carried office supplies and some paper, although the Hallmark store next door carried the bulk of  “fine” stationery items, like note cards and scrapbooking supplies.  We carried office products and things that didn’t fall under the auspices of the other stores.

Now almost five years have passed since we’ve owned our store, and stationery is just a part of what we are.  We’ve become known as “WFS” and it's been our identifier.  Keeping the “WFS” is important in our attempt to re-brand, although it now stands for Webster’s Fair and Sustainable.  “Fair” for the fair trade products we have (and hope to bring in more of) and “Sustainable” for the US and locally made items we make a priority to stock.  “Sustainable” also for the ecologically responsible merchandise you can find here, as well as for the myriad locally produced art, books, and yes, stationery that we carry. 

Stay tuned to learn just what where we’ll be going with our “new” name and what we’ll be doing in the future – we’ll have more next week.

Have a wonderful week ahead, friends!

Lori and Scott

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.
~William Goldsmith Brown

We hope that all our friends celebrating Mother's Day are enjoying time with their families.  We'll be back next week!

Lori and Scott

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Throne Of Agony

I'll come right out and say it - I really love Sally Hogshead!  I don't hand my love out indiscriminately.  I like reading Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki, among others. As a matter of fact, Guy wrote this insight that helped polarize our thoughts about what we wanted our store to be about:  "Stop selling stuff. When Steve Jobs first started the Apple Store he did not ask the question, 'How will we grow our market share from 5 to 10 percent?'  Instead he asked, 'How do we enrich people’s lives?'  Think about your vision. If you were to examine the business model for most brands and retailers and develop a vision around it, the vision would be to “sell more stuff.” A vision based on selling stuff isn’t very inspiring..."  And WFS' founding thought principal was validated.

But along comes Sally Hogshead with her take on "fascination" and blows just about everyone else out of the water.  She does this by being a powerful woman who isn't afraid to show her vulnerable side.  You don't see much of that from the other players in the field - they're your typical, rough and ready pundits ready to roll out inspiration-speak at the drop of the hat.  Not that that's a bad thing, but to reach the thousands of female entrepreneurs in today's world, you must show that you've got actual skin in the game.  I believe that Sally does.

In regard to creativity - and I equate redefining a retail store that's been in the community for eons with creativity - Sally's got an infographic she fashioned about the process, naming the various stages.  You can find the entire post on her blog here.

I can so relate to these stages, both professionally from my experiences with the store, and from writing jobs I do on the side.  I recently wrote an article about the newest social media sensation, Pinterest, that was just published in Giftbeat Magazine (a members-only national retail industry group), and yes, I went through exactly this process.  Luckily, I completed the article without stabbing my eyes out!  The good news about this process, and what I believe Sally meant by publishing her article and graphic, is that there will be an epiphany in your creative processes and you will have the opportunity to finesse them.  Too many of us creative types get bogged down in the agony stage (and boy, can I tell you about that!), so to have encouragement is a fine thing indeed.  Thank you to Sally Hogshead, she of the uncommon moniker, who advises us all to fascinate! 

In store news this week, we have Fancy Food Truck Fridays resuming on May 11th (that's this Friday).  Along with the six food trucks coming, WFS is hosting a reception for local artist Kate Carvellas.  Kate is a fabulous assemblage artist, who says of her work: "I love the challenge of creating work that brings together the disparate and often discarded things of this world, be they images or objects, and creating a new and cohesive whole; giving them new life and meaning.  Hmmmm....sounds like a familiar process, yes?  Come join us on Friday from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm for some great art, conversation, wine and goodies (and oh yeah....the food trucks)!  Our next wine pairing event with will be on Saturday, May 19th - watch our announcement on Facebook and in your email (you are opted into our newsletters, right?  If not, you can find the opt-in forms on our website, on Facebook, or in the store).

Have a wonderful and productive week ahead, friends, and we'll talk next week!

Lori and Scott