Something I haven’t done before is share my company ethos. In other words our core set of values at AA HQ on which everything is based. I get asked a lot why our company is the success it is. Luck, silver spoon background, being in the right place at the right time? Nope, no and no to all three.
The sole reason our company is expanding and doing as well as it is because I am fussy as hell – can you hear the team sigh in weary agreement right now? Nope actually, it’s way to early for anyone to be in yet but you get my point. Fussy beyond belief, every tiny detail doesn’t get signed off until it’s just right and if it’s not right it’s reworked, retweaked and reconfigured.
Last week on the biz column I yabbered about how all businesses should have a mantra well having an ethos takes things a step further. Ask yourself what does your company stand for? What is the purpose of your business? Why are you doing what you do, and where are you not willing to compromise?
For us our company has a distinguishing character, and that carries through all our attitudes, aspirations and dreams of where we want to take it. It’s defined by a sense of discovery. Whether you are purveying my store in London or browsing our online site I want to ground your experience in the tactile, visual, kinaesthetic and sensual. I want you to enter this place where cultures intersect – the tropics mixed with English garden; tribal mashed up with glam, some ‘borrowed from the boys’ masculine lines hanging out with boho pieces.
I am obsessed with creating this sense of discovery through everything I do, from the the interior of my pad to the products I sell online. I want to transport you to a place you didn’t even know existed, where your jaw literally hits the floor, so you have this sense of anticipation. You’re seeing things that are fun, quirky, glam, stimulating and you’re making connections and putting things together that you normally wouldn’t. This sense of discovery is engaging, addictive and more than anything else it’s about story telling. All our products tell a narrative from how they are made to their colour, proportion size, texture – its key to everything we do.
My plan all along has been to add layers of interest to the interiors industry which is so homogenised. We want to give customers the opportunity to be surprised, as it’s so hard to be surprised and tantalised anymore in interior stores. (By the way – why is that? So disappointing how bland most stores are! Oh well, a rant for another post maybe?)
Anyway, I digress. At the core of everything is this set of values and operating principles that our whole business revolves around. I try to inspire my clients and customers to be intrepid, take risks, be fearless, bold, willing to push boundaries – that’s what we stand for in a nutshell. Every company should have an ethos. If customers are only coming to you because you’re the cheapest on the block and you have no business ethos, no guiding principles or beliefs… well why would that inspire anyone? However if you have an ethos and it resonates with people they will support you and care about your business.
That’s the key to our success. You don’t just go sett up a store or open an online site and think everyone will come find you. You have to work at creating something that will make people go out of their way to follow you, engage with your brand, buy your stuff. You have to give your business a personality. The more personality it has the more people respond.