I was at my local Office Depot the other day shopping for, you guessed it, office supplies when I can across a new line of products. Sorry, this was the best image I could get. They are well designed, recycled stationery and invitations. You can get products like this at many stores now. I’ve seen lovely letterpress invitations at Target that you can print yourself.
So what does this mean for people like me? Should I get worked up about it? First of all, I am really laid back and mild-mannered so no, I will not be getting worked up about this. Secondly, my mom always taught me that competition is a good thing. Thirdly, I like that these products are out there and I’ll tell you why.
I am a consumer too. I look at things differently now that I am also a producer of goods, but nonetheless, I am still a consumer. I am a consumer that likes variety in quality and price. I like having the ability to purchase something from a seller on Etsy that I know is made with love, but I also appreciate all the things that Target has to offer me. When I see these stationery and invitation sets at chain stores, I am always intrigued. They are good looking, but there is a blankness to them. Does that make sense? Somehow I can see the depth and the love that goes into making and packaging something handmade.
Also, when you buy something a a large chain store, or from a large company, you expect consistency. That is about the one thing you are supposed to be able to count on. But I am finding out more often than not, that just isn’t the case. You may purchase on of those boxes from Office Depot and come home to find out one of them is bent and you really have no recourse except for pitching a huge fit to the manager. But is a bent card worth that? Not really, but it does devalue the entire product. For me anyways. But again and again, when I receive something from a large company, it is always a little less than I expect. It is often packaged not well enough or carefully enough.
So, if you’re me, how do you compete with these cheaper options? The only thing I know to do is trust in my process and my product. And offer the one thing that can truly set me apart from them and that is customer service and attention to every detail. And those are the things that keep me up at night. As my company expands, which I hope it does, how will I maintain the quality of product and customer service and attention to detail? I don’t have the answer to that right now, but I promise you, it is always at the top of the list.
I’m sorry if this is a little heavy for your Mermorial Day. Hopefully you’re out on a boat somewhere with people you love. Thanks for listening.