August 7, 2013 by Beth
It’s a pretty regular occurrence for me to be freshly enamored of a new individual or local business on a weekly, if not daily basis. Those who know me have come to endure the fact that I can’t just check out a new place and find it lovely – I feel compelled to tell the entire world exactly what is so great about it and why they, too, should love the newest object of my attention. In short, I have to shout it from the rooftops.
And so today, as I left Grey Dog – A Vintage Boutique in Fayetteville, Arkansas with my typical desire to demand that everyone I encounter shop there immediately, I thought a little bit about why I wanted to share their story and what they are doing perfectly in their efforts to tell it themselves. I’d first run across the shop in my own backyard in a September 2012 article in Southern Living, meaning that it has taken almost a year for the boutique to move along a trajectory converting me from “never heard of ’em” to raving fan.
1. Their grassroots marketing is wildly effective.
Grey Dog has an active presence on both Facebook and Twitter, without obsessively spending more time than necessary on either. Their social media accounts are definitely driving business: I sought out the boutique after seeing another friend like them months ago and then seeing their cute outfits appear in my newsfeed. So, when a meeting took me to Fayetteville today, I had the boutique top of mind, pulled up the address on my phone and made sure to visit. Two other shoppers in the store at the same time as me commented that they’d heard about the boutique from others and that was their first time to visit. Good word of mouth, baby.
2. Attention to detail.
While Grey Dog is definitely in a niche with vintage, they never waver toward poor quality, tired or low caliber. They’re nailing it with their bio on Twitter (below), and true to form, any altering they do is impeccably well-executed. I tried on a number of 60s and 70s dresses with nary a stain nor an imperfection, and they had been ingeniously and imperceptibly altered to suit daily use. A keen eye for tailoring has obviously gone into their adjustments, and I found a common theme to many of the dresses that caught my eye because they offered the appeal of vintage with a little modern nip and tuck.
3. Sincerity and genuine personality.
Eye contact, a chipper greeting on entering the store (not a forced and shouted mandatory greeting required by corporate – oy, vey), friendly but not excessive chatter and careful attention to when a customer might like a fitting room were all brimming over. No bored clerks watching the clock or more concerned about sending a text here. Laura answered questions about the store’s origins in a nearby Airstream trailer and mentioned the recent remodeling to one customer and shared the team’s vision to produce a few well-made seasonal items and helpfully pointed out that inventory was in transition as fall approaches to another.
She offered (genuine) compliments on the accessories that several of us wore, revealing that she is both observant and possesses a quick eye for customer preferences. When one visitor confided her size, she adeptly scoured the shop for options to compliment her frame. And when I commended their social media presence, offered a couple of friendly words of encouragement and handed her a business card, not five minutes passed between me departing the store and receiving a lovely and gracious email:
Not only do I adore a local business that is getting it right, I love it when they set an example like this with concrete takeaways that another fledgling business could adopt. At the end of the day, though, so much of it comes down to entrepreneurs who are keenly focused on simply doing the right thing. Just as in the previous post about customer service (Standing Out From The Flock), however, it’s clear that taking good care of people and following the golden rule will always be the very best business practice of all.