“There are actually a high percentage of wholesale orders that come in off of your consumer emails.”
“I’d say, this year it’s probably 80% but we’ll run the numbers.”
“Yeah. And I’m pretty sure I know why.”
Part of this conversation made me understand I need to add a few more people to the cc list on our reporting.
The other part made me think about this:
I am a SUCKER for great ads, and this one might be my all-time favorite.
When I was little I had Legos and the only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing I built were mobile homes.
A big, flat lego sheet and some wheels plus a few “couches,” and I was set.
Was this an early indicator that I would count a river cruise as one of my favorite trips ever?
If I were an animal, would I be a turtle?
The above picture is of me in my giant vintage hat, purchased during a stop on our Cultivate ’23 Retail Merchandising Tour, and Meg, my recent business and leadership coach and now, I’d say, friend. (We wrapped up work together in February this year.)
We worked together for about 16 months and I could go on for hours about how much she helped me and the kinds of things we did, but I’d argue that the first 90 minutes I spent talking with her gave me my life back.
And here’s why that matters for you and your business.
(And why I chose that photo to use to introduce her.)
After talking and working through some exercises, one of which was for me to reach out to other people about what I bring to a room (LOL my brother-in-law saying “Your water bottle.” I mean, it’s true.) it was Meg’s turn.
“What I think you bring to the room, Katie, is a sense of wonder and delight.”
I had just spent the previous three years being told, over and over and over and over that me being me was ruining my business.
I feel like if that were true, I wouldn’t be celebrating 15 years. I feel like what was going on was a poor fit of me and a few people I worked with. Being seen by Meg made remember that I like being joyful and helped me feel brave enough to fix that mismatch.
Let’s look again:
Kids instinctively have a sense of wonder and play and imagination.
Then they grow up.
When I met my husband during the dark ages of internet dating (2003), my Match.com profile picture was me in a suit.
ME IN A SUIT LOLOLOLOLOL.
It was my graduate school headshot. We wore suits to meetings. As 22 year olds.
Let me tell you,
This Barbie is not a suit-wearer.
She’s also not a one paragraph email newsletter writer.
She will narrate an entire car ride: HORSES! BARN QUILT! SUNFLOWERS!
She will not leave home without three bags.
This Barbie will wear a ludicrously capacious hat for a garden scavenger hunt in the mall.
This Barbie chokes up at the last scene of Love, Actually – you know, the montage of everyone greeting their loved ones at the airport?
This Barbie loves ads (and anything else) that remind her to play.
(This Barbie might have teared up some during the Barbie movie. I felt real seen.)
This Barbie is actually a human and so are your customers.
When Meg told me, within a short time of meeting me, that what I bring to a room is a sense of wonder, I teared up.
It is a gift to meet people, work with people, and support people that see you for who you are and encourage you to be you. Who encourage human-ness and all of its wonder, play, connection, heartbreak, and joy.
To borrow a line from Oprah,
What I know for sure for now, at least (We can AI another day), is that your customers are humans and for best results, you’ll make that the guiding force of your marketing and communications.
Externally and internally.
Learn what they love.
What makes them tick.
How they like to be communicated with.
What motivates. What doesn’t.
And do it.
Human to Human.
That’s why wholesalers are buying off of retail customer emails and wholesale focused emails. (Both/and.)
I wonder: if your business focuses primarily on communicating facts and features, lists and forms, what would happen if you sprinkle in some delight, pull back the curtain, let your company’s culture shine. How much more would you grow?
If your culture’s not worth showing, that’s another opportunity to human-up. And a topic for another day.
(P.S. The company that’s knocking it out of the park with retail and wholesale emails shows their WHOLE PERSONALITY all the time. Their retail emails just speak a little more to the person reading the emails. Enough to make a difference.)
If you want to motor down the H2H road but don’t have a map, get in. We have plenty of room, and we can always add more.
. . . . . . . . . . Could someone hand me another set of wheels?
Here are a few I love from NewGen Boxwood’s Instagram page. (We work a little with Holly, but these are all her!)
Artomats! A Cat Off! Flower Farms!
Here’s some wonder from my Cultivate road trip.
I stopped in Winston-Salem on the way up. It is the home of the Art-o-Mats, which are repurposed cigarette vending machines that now vend art. Is there one near you? Find out here.
The next picture is a super cool art park in the middle of the city. I love how the lines jump up so you can interact with them!
I loved this display from Darwin Perennials. It’s so neat the way they painted a light beam as if it were coming from the lamp.
I happened to glance over and see Dramm’s sign on their booth acknowledging that people make their company.
We love working with the Murphy Citrus Nursery family. I took them out for goth tacos in Columbus and the sisters had a cat-off (THEY ARE BOTH CUTE CATS!) at lunch. Now that’s how you human!
And, I got to finally meet Nick Bernier from Easy to Grow Bulbs in person after SIX YEARS of working together. The pandemic kept foiling my plans to get out to California. It will happen! (And it was just like seeing an old friend.)
Since 2001, I’ve been talking about adding couches or seating areas to your garden center to make a community center/gathering spot and I’m pleased to say it has happened! I can now grind a different axe (Sneak peek: next up – Gardeners And). You’re now the outlier if you don’t have a couch.
Imagine how delighted I was to walk into Greens Feed and Seed in Charleston, WV and see their couch area that they expanded after our Cultivate retail workshop! Shout out to Bonnie and Andrea for all of the cool things they’re doing with the garden center part of the business.
And I loved the vintage couches that were part of Cultivate’s decor this year.
AI Corner: What’s Next?
- AI chat in Minneapolis. Get a primer on generative AI at the Garden Center Conference and Expo next week!
- AI Webinar for IGCs: Can’t make MSP? I’ll deliver a webinar on AI for the Proven Winners IGC Webinar series this fall. Register Here.
- AI and your business: You’ll want to check out my July Green Profit article.
Meet Me in MSP!
I depart Monday, July 31 for the Garden Center Conference & Expo, and will attend the GardenComm conference.
Will I see you there? Email me if you want to get together.
I hope to see you at one of my talks! Here’s the schedule:
09:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Taking The Fear Out Of Talking Tech
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
“I Don’t Need To Know About AI” And Other Lies You Tell Yourself
Each newsletter always has a mix of fun and functional links.
It explains itself better than I do.
(H/t to Vi)
Barbie Answers Oppenheimer
This was interesting.
5 Languages of Appreciation
(H/t to Neal Glatt)
Need help? We are available for for projects and also enjoy getting to know you and referring you to trusted providers if we can’t help. Grab a call slot here.
What’s your favorite way to human in business? Write back and tell me!
Art PS: I enjoyed painting the Plants Nouveau booth at Cultivate!