I walk down Leigh Street every morning on the way to work. Almost every day I peer into the window display at Leigh Street Luggage. The display has that old world charm. The type of window displays people used to travel to see, in places like Oxford Street and Madison Avenue. I am a sucker for nice things. I always have been. I didn’t want some crappy Aussie cricket cap when I was 7, I wanted an official Phoenix Suns NBA Starter, direct from the states (yeah Ok, the Suns, but come on Charles Barkley!) Bellroy wallets first caught my attention on a Facebook ad (proof that even cynics like me can be sold). How do you make something like a wallet sexy? Bellroy know. Leigh Street Luggage were one of Australia’s first stockists, they know ‘nice things’.
Nice is a fairly benign word. When I say it in this context I believe I mean quality. Quality, as a word, has also been thrashed. Everything is High Quality – High-Quality toothpaste, High-Quality engine cleaning, environmentally friendly…Diesel. If you can forget the marketing speak though, quality is a tangible thing. A hand forged Bob Kramer chef’s knife is quality. The time, passion and craftsmanship that have gone into its design and construction embody quality. People pay 4 figure sums for one, not just for the prestige, but for the pleasure of owning and using something so special.
Bellroy’s products embody that same feeling. You can see more about their attention to detail in everything they do ‘here’, I have been a fan for years. The curated display of Bellroy in the window at Leigh Street was what finally brought me in through the doors. Julie Barnes the owner is crazy about products that exude quality. Chatting with her and the way she feels about every item in her shop, you get a palpable sense of passion. Her shop and the things in it is about more than commerce. She believes in products that have been made with love and relishes sharing that belief with her customers. Passion is infectious. Her curated window display, the attention to detail in the product lines, her intimate knowledge of everything for sale, it makes me want to buy all the things.
You cannot fake this kind of marketing. You can try, but it doesn’t work. Imagine the McDonald’s ‘handcrafted range’. This is not marketing for the sake of marketing, Julie did not sit down with her board of directors and pitch a clever ploy to use ‘passion’ as a tool for greater ROI. It is organic, much like the process that goes into making the products she sells.
Consumers are savvy in 2017. Increasingly we are seeing through the marketing slang and cheap price points and seeking out quality. Seeking authenticity. Seeking passion. Do you believe in the products you sell? Do you relish the chance to tell a potential customer just how good they are?
It would be nice if there were more Julies, not only in the world of retail but everywhere. Quality always wins.