Retail Thoughts

 Welcome to our Retail Thoughts Blog. Given that we work and live the retail life, we have daily and sometimes random thoughts about retail. We share them with you here and we hope you will share your comments as well.

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(2 votes)

We often don’t think about how the simple things we do everyday affect our community and so affect us personally. Buying from a local small business is a personal decision, but impacts us, and our communities, far more than we might think.

A local small business not only hires from the community, but hires local businesses for their finance, legal, marketing, cleaning, snow plowing and more, helping to create more jobs in the community.

Small businesses locate in buildings owned, developed and built locally. They collect sales taxes and pay real estate taxes that support their schools, roads, safety forces and government.

The products of a small business are often selected by the owner with a personal touch and flair, while trying to best serve and reflect the community.

Small business owners personally care about helping and when a charity or organization needs volunteers and donations, they largely get them from local small businesses.

A small business has a personal stake in your being satisfied, and will often go further in helping you to be happy with your purchase.

You get the chance to know the owners of a small business personally and often see them in the community at local events, restaurants, doctor’s offices and more.

The next time you look in the window of a local small business, remember they support far more than just the people working there and that buying local is personal.

(10 votes)

We just had a truly horrible experience thanks to a sales rep for one of the product lines we carry. (More on that “experience” in the future.)

In case you don’t know, many vendors/manufacturers hire third party groups to sell their products to retailers like Karalina’s. Most reps and groups that we work with are good people with integrity.

However the issue of money is always there. If the rep doesn’t sell something, they don’t get paid, so there is obviously a big incentive to make sales.

Sometimes this leads to some less than honorable behavior on the part of the rep.

As I found out yesterday, that’s because rep groups view us as marketing terms, instead of living and breathing people.

So to all the marketing rep groups out there, I understand you need to make a living, but so do I.

Don’t justify your behavior by telling me you’re concerned about doing what’s best for the brand. The brand you’re referring to isn’t yours, but the company you’re selling for, and all of us retailers that work hard to get the buying public to know, understand and accept it.

Don’t justify your behavior by telling me that the other store has a different shopping experience. Unless you’re shopping at a chain, we all create different shopping experiences. We all bring our individual personalities into creating our business and so by definition, as people, all of our stores will have different shopping experiences.

What independent retailers need rep groups to understand is that we are people, and that as you make decisions, understand that they greatly affect people.

If you continue to think of retailers in terms of mental creations like brand, share, retail experience, etc. you run the risk of making bad decisions about people.

If you boil the concept of a brand down to its essence, you will find its people. The people that make, sell and buy your thing are the brand. Rep groups are but a small part of the mental construct you call brand.

We all make mistakes.

So rep group, if you make one that affects people, don’t justify it to yourself with esoteric marketing terms, but understand your decisions greatly impact people’s lives.

Admit the mistake, apologize and make amends. Be a part of the human experience.

If you lecture me on the art of building a brand to justify your behavior, be assured I will lecture you on the art of being a person.

(14 votes)

Chamilia Snap Bracelet with Reg and Gold BeadsChamilia vs. Pandora

Both Chamilia ® and Pandora ® make beautiful bead based jewelry. Both are well made of the finest materials. Both companies’ beads are compatible with each other’s bracelets, so you can mix them if you choose.

But there are differences in the way both companies do business, and we believe  these differences, outlined below, will, if you like Pandora, cause you to love Chamilia.


(3 votes)

While I’m all in favor of competition, I would like it to be fair.


(2 votes)

When I was young I thought of a store as a place to buy things. Concrete and glass surrounding rows of merchandise. I thought of a store as a cold place, and never wanted to be in retail.