Would you shop with us?
Big news! We are on the process of opening the Skimbaco Shop up again, and I have been thinking a lot how shopping has changed in the past ten years, and even since the Skimbaco shop was open 6 years ago.
In all honesty, it has been difficult to think what we could do better or differently what so many people already are doing. I think this fear of not knowing how to be different from others that has kept me from pursuing the shop re-opening dream sooner! Our shop will be very small at first, and my goal is to keep the selection very exclusive and selective, and grow slowly. If you can think of products that “look like Skimbaco” let us know in the comments (we also want to hear from you if you are designer/artisan/brand).
Your opinion matters to us.
I conducted a small survey for my newsletter subscribers (sign up for it now!), and Facebook friends (like us maybe?), and asked how our community would like to see Skimbaco Lifestyle monetized. Options were: advertising, sponsored content and/or selling/promoting products. The answers were everything from completely against each and every method to fully supporting each one of them, but the two loudest voices we heard were:
1) You trust our opinion about products, and would like to buy more from us, and through us. (This was by far your preferred way of supporting our business.)
2) You don’t mind the sponsored content (or advertising) on our site, as long as it is promoting something we believe in.
I heard you all, and your opinions help me to guide Skimbaco to our next phase.
We continue to be very picky with the brands we work with. It has affected our bottom line as we have been contacted by hundreds of brands over the years and we have said no to. We also stopped being part of an advertising network several years ago, because we could not control the individual ads running on our site. This also affected our bottom line. At the same time, we are so thankful for our sponsors like Team SCA of the Volvo Ocean Race, Avocados from Peru, and partners like Findery, who are great fits with our brand.
Not just about our dreams… but your dreams too.
We have an amazing team of writers, whom we have supported in their individual dreams coming through (to mention a few: Satu biked for five weeks the entire Atlantic coast of Ireland last year, Reeta was elected on a trip to Kerala, India, and Leigh has reached many of her goals as being THE luxury family travel expert of her own state North Carolina). I’m also very proud of the 3-month internship we offered for Nina from Finland, who was able to live her dream of living in New York City and being a fashion blogger. Many of these dreams are life changing. Our growth is small, but it is done with purpose.
I want to keep helping people to make their dreams come through one person at the time, starting from our own team, and our loyal community. While I understand that the more money our business makes, the better opportunities for helping people we have, I also never want to shy away from our real mission here, which has nothing to do with money. We also welcomed new writer team, our loyal readers Brooke and Wilhelm Genn this summer, and hope to add more team members this year (interested? Email me! What we desperately need is a sales person, obviously :) ).
One of the things I am excited about is our wholesale membership with Young Living. While being part of multi-level-marketing company first seemed like an unlikely fit for us, I am so excited because it actually fits perfectly in our mission and what Skimbaco has always been all about: spreading the sunshine, and helping you to enjoy life more. Now YOU can join us in our Enjoy Life with Oils team, and you can either use the products that help in your path to wellness and/or chemical-free home, and/or you can also join us as business leaders to make a living from sharing the Young Living lifestyle with others. This way it is not about you supporting our business – it is about us helping YOU to create a business that helps you to live your dreams and love a lifestyle of wellness and abundance. On a personal level, I am excited that my husband Matt joined this part of our business as well, because he is so excited about the healthy lifestyle Young Living has helped us to live.
What’s your ideal shopping experience?
I published my first post on LinkedIn yesterday, and it was about how the new ways of shopping have altered our brand loyalty. Read the entire post on LinkedIn, here is a small condensed version of it…
I often speak how social media has changed how companies do business in a more human way, and I often refer it by bringing the old general store-mentality back to business. The general store owner would be behind the counter each day, selling a mix of little bit of everything your family needed and we’d chat with him about our daily lives.
At some point of time, going to the “general store” became a hassle for us. They didn’t offer everything we needed, we needed special products and more selection, and actually chatting with the owner just took up our precious time! We entered the drive-through culture, and soon the click-through culture. The less human connectivity, the better!
I am so glad that this phase has evolved to its next phase, the completely opposite: the human to human market place. Now we shop at websites like Etsy where we can find handmade items directly from the people who created them, or Great.ly where the curators, like Skimbaco Lifestyle, have picked the best products from multiple artisans and small brands. Instead of hailing a cab, we use Uber, and instead of staying at hotels, we check in to someone’s home with the help of AirBnB.
Today, we can also have a small way of the “old general store” mentality when we chat with our favorite (large) brands on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. We can feel that our favorite brands actually care about us and we can have an access to the large brands we never got to speak with before.
Where does customer loyalty go in all of this?
I’m one of those people who easily says “sure, I will give it a try,” and I try to have an open mind. I shop on my travels, knowing that I most likely will never return to the store. It takes a lot for me to be committed to anything because of the open-mindness for new things and I simply just like the discovery. But when I like something, I stick with it.
That’s why I drove Volvos for 12 years, and for several years straight most of my clothes were by Ralph Lauren. For years I didn’t even think there were any other luggage brands than Samsonite or Delsey. (Currently my favorite Ralph Lauren brand is Denim & Supply, but we went back to driving a BMW like we did before we had kids, and now I swear by Osprey bags, although my carry-on is still a Samsonite.)
Several years ago, around the time of the financial crisis, I was sitting by a marketing person of Louis Vuitton in an event in a fancy hotel ballroom in New York City. In all honesty, I thought she would tell us how badly the financial crisis had reflected on their luxury business, but she said that they barely saw it.
Our customers are loyal, and they’ve always bought Louis Vuitton, and they continue to do so.
This reminded me of the old business lesson my father gave me:
20% of your customers bring the 80% of the profit for your company.
It actually made sense that the old brands we have known for years kept getting our business out of loyalty, out of tradition and out of sometimes the fact that we are simply just not even thinking there is another option.
Today we have unlimited options how to buy and where to buy, often without even leaving home. You can have a semi-personal shopper experience for the fraction of money with Stitch Fix, or you can get a monthly subscription to new cosmetics with Glossybox or Ipsy, and new jewelry with Rocksbox. Sometimes you don’t even have to BUY to get to use new products, renting is enough. You can rent clothes or handbags, and for example Le Tote sends you 3 garments and 2 accessories, you use them, ship them back and you get a new box days later – unlimited times each month.
Many of the new invitation only shopping sites, apps, discount sites and social media sites are constantly trying to sell to you, and get you to try something you have never tried before. You know, part of the discounts is just to get you to try their product the first time. And as we are excited about the new shiny things… we forget often the loyalty for the brands we used to love.
At the same time, many brands work extremely hard, harder than ever, to keep your loyalty, for example with airline loyalty programs and hotel loyalty programs like Starwood Preferred Guest. Now your loyalty isn’t always about convenience, family tradition or genuine love for the brand – but sometimes your loyalty has become a game of points and freebies.
Where are you in all of this?
The Amazon Prime Day was a few weeks ago – are you already using it or did you join/test it out?
How many monthly subscription-based packages you get via mail each month?
Are you a brand-loyalist or love to try new things?
Do you rather buy from established brands and large retailers than directly from people or small retailers?
Make your dollars count
Today we are also being sold to much more than ever before via social media, and we have access to more infomation about the brands we like.
This type of environment hopefully makes you even more aware of the brands and retailers you shop from, who they are and what they represent. You can help friends by buying from them, and support people in more individual level. At the same time you can change the world by making purchasing decisions supporting or not supporting corporations who share (or not) your world view.
Above all, shopping is not really just about shopping, you can have your voice heard for every dollar (or euro or pound) you spend. What do you want your hard-earned money to say when you shop?
Shop with Skimbaco Lifestyle
In ALL of this – could we fit into your mind as one of the shopping destinations?
Our mission has always been to inspire living life to the fullest and we have been extremely careful when we choose our sponsors and advertisers. We want you to know that we pick brands or retailers who excited us as trendy new things, small business owners and artisans we support or from whom we have been buying from for years. Our collection will continue to reflect the same principles we’ve always been about.
Meanwhile as we all wait for the Skimbaco Shop to reopen…
Here is a list of some of the stores we shop from at the moment, and by supporting the stores we like, you will also support our business.
Post by Katja Presnal
“My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own “skimbaco,” how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter that I send out sometimes on Fridays.” Katja Presnal, editor-in-chief and the owner of Skimbaco Lifestyle.