You may have “met” me on Zoom, or heard of Scissors and Things from my friends and family.
Phil Knight sold sneakers out of the trunk of his car in the 70’s well before Nike became what it is now. While in high school, Ralph Lauren sold hand-made neckties to other students. There are plenty of fascinating stories about how founders started their businesses. Prior to the internet, many of them actually sold product in person.
This morning, when I Googled “grass roots companies,” a pageful of links to the Grassroots Cannabis company popped up. I guess it's an old school term that doesn’t apply to businesses anymore.
I looked up “big companies that started small”, and read many stories about founders filling a need in the market, promoting their product through social media, financing through crowdfunding or other sources, and selling their products online. Technology has been a great thing for helping businesses launch.
As an owner of this online store, I am grateful for that technology. But marketing tools for online stores have become extremely impersonal, with paid advertisements measured by impressions and clicks, optimized by SEO keywords, and targeted to consumers based on their web activity. The latter seems to be personal, but it is far from an in-person experience.
A tiny shop like Scissors and Things can’t compete. The advertising budget needed to get my store out there far exceeds what I can possibly sell at this time. So, I have decided to grow my business from a grass roots approach, by sharing information about my store directly with people who might be interested, or who might know someone interested in my shop.
Grass roots marketing may be cheaper than online ads, but it's actually harder on the founder. There’s no separation of business and personal. It’s all personal.
But for that reason, you know that a grass-roots marketed business is authentic. Whether or not you like the products or services, you can see the founder believes in their brand 150%. Otherwise, he or she wouldn’t be putting themselves out there for it, opening themselves up not just to potential sales but also to criticism and rejection.
The downside of digital marketing is it's way too easy to send any advertising message, authentic or not. And brand messages are qualified by clickability.
I will keep this business personal for as long as possible. On that note, I’d like to thank you for visiting Scissors and Things, and for reading this blog post.