…well, it’s a TOQUE. With a BEARD…
You would think that after being in the retail biz for over eight years, we would have learned by now to go with our “gut” about introducing new treasures into the store. The truth is, however, it’s often a guessing game when it comes to knowing whether something is going to “speak to” our customers or not. Yes, we make educated guesses, but more often than not we bring in items that we think are interesting, and hope that our customers agree with us.
The first time we saw the Beardo, it was in an article in the local paper. Our initial reaction was, “Huh, that is sooo cute! And just crazy enough to work! And it’s perfect that the creator, Jeff Phillips, is from Stratford! We should definitely have these in the shop.” But the piece said that the Beardo was only available online, things were busy at the shop, and and we just kind of let the idea fade into the background….and, if I’m being totally honest…well, it’s a toque. With a BEARD. My gut says heck yes, but my head….not so sure.
Creator, Jeff Phillips models a Beardo.
A few months later, I was watching the late local evening news, when what to my weary eyes appeared…but a man in a crazy knitted toque and beard! The next day, Cathy and I had a chat to revisit the idea. “Hmm…Beardo…it’s a toque. With a beard. That’s crazy. We definitely need some!!” We were not so sure, however, that Jeff would let us have any, because again the news report said that they were only available online. But, hey, we’re in Stratford—Jeff’s hometown— all fingers and toes were crossed that he would share with us! Off I went to email Beardo creator Jeff Phillips to see if we could get some crazy bearded hats in our store — which wasn’t an easy task with all of my fingers crossed like that…
It’s Stratford…actors will love the Beardo!!
The next day I received a reply (well, really, I received the reply the day before I sent it, because Jeff is on Aussie time—I hear that toilets flush in the opposite direction there…but I digress). The reply read,“We love the idea of having your store carry them!” YAY!
So, we now carry the wondrous, crazy Beardo. And they’re a hit! Of course they are, they’re awesome! So much so, that Jeff can hardly keep up. He actually had to borrow three of the Beardos that we had in stock because they were to be featured on the Marilyn Denis show, and he didn’t have any hats to send them. We kind of like the idea that “our” hats were on national television! (Not to mention the, uh, “nice gentlemen” that modeled the Beardos for Marilyn’s show — I wonder if we can get them to model them in our store as well…)
Some fine gentlemen wear “our” Beardos on Marilyn Denis!
We love the Beardo, and we can’t wait to see what new styles Jeff has under his, er, hat. I hear that there’s a ginger and perhaps a white one in the works.
So, I suppose that the lesson here is that the next time we have a “gut” feeling about a product, Cathy and I will trust it. We should know that by now — we have rarely been wrong about trying something new in the shop. We often hear from visitors and locals alike that they love the variety of treasures that we offer. So, as long as there are fun, inventive entrepreneurs like Jeff Phillips out there, our little piece of the world will never be boring!
…now, I wonder if he’ll just let us borrow those models…………….