A nice review on Instagram. A lot of people ask how is it possible that you have all these incredible reviews. They are all so positive. “It got so ridiculous at one point, I asked an employee to buy something and leave a negative review so we look believable” How is it possible? (we are often asked). I can see the skepticism and when I read other companies reviews understand why. Equally we have been collecting them for almost a decade now.
Many times this question is from small business owners themselves and they are simply curious as to the ‘secret sauce’. So here it is. Just one thing really and it is not such a big secret:
#1. Treat others as you would want to be treated.
That is it. That is the secret to all the positive reviews. In all fairness we are also dependent on our customers being a big part of the process. Reading the about us page and see what part they have to play. It is teamwork that makes this business work so well. We are clearly taking products that are sold in retailers for $87.50 and then selling them for $16.95 the Silver Cream, White Oak Arabesque is a great example. You can go into any high end tile boutique store and find it for nearly $90.00 a square foot, incredible what a sloppy supply chain can add onto products.
It is not just marble either it is an epidemic of a sloppy supply chain in the Building materials industry. Products that should have across the board added value to consumers homes have done nothing more than added cost. Or as they put it “Expect to loose 30% on your bathroom investment”.
After that entire nightmare remodel (generally it is not fun) you loose 30%. What a load of hogwash. Absolute rubbish. More like that 30% was lost in the supply chain.
Granted they were not the worse; they did not require a bail out with consumers money. But they still could have done more. They should have done more. That was their chance to step up. Like others had done before them. Like JP Morgan had done in 1907 to try and give confidence to the “Panic of 1907“. Where were our industrial leaders then? Where was the help for the middle class? No where. You could not move you. But you could upgrade parts of your home to add value. At a 30% loss. What a disgrace and pointless.
So in 2008 we decided to end this stupidity and allow consumers a choice. Add value to your home or give it away to an invisible entity. It will take decades but we will get there. Offering consumers another option. One that adds value to their home. Where we ‘work together, with pictures and your vision and see if it meets what we stock’, then we can provide you a product and you add value not a loss to your home. That is a change. That feels good. That feels good for the people that work here and for the consumer. I believe we have a win-win.
Our price point is possible in part because we have cut multiple steps from the supply chain.
But that is it. That is the secret!
We do not sell. We treat others as we would want to be treated giving the best advice even if that advice is to “go buy locally or elsewhere”. We are not here to sell anyone anything. But to simply provide an opportunity to enjoy this new process and add value to your home as opposed to an outdated supply chain (we leave this choice to the consumer).
In return we work hard. We work from 6am to 10pm. We accept we will not be Billionaires. Our margins do not allow this. But that is fine. Would not know what to do with it anyway! Happy to receive hundreds of happy reviews and emails and pictures from happy customers. Makes you feel good. Makes you feel like you are making a difference.
We give back to our community. Giving scholarships to schools to help the next generation and for us to understand that there is a bigger picture than just working, we really do make a difference.
Treat people well. Treat people really well. Give employees autonomy, do not micro manage, let leaders emerge, never criticize offer solutions not criticism. Suggest not demand. There is no evidence that the way the work is done today is the ‘best’ way. Perhaps there is a better way and it has yet to be discovered. If your work culture does not allow free will, then improvements and ideas can never come to the surface. These ideas and improvements maybe significant efficiencies which means even better prices to consumers.
Ultimately it is people that are the key. “People not machines, not computers, not systems but people. People are the key to success. Always have been always will be”. (that’s my view. I value people, not the degree or the qualifications, but the attitude. Attitude is is a small thing that makes a big difference).