In #OIBIZ, we hear a lot about what customers want. And – the truth is – in this industry we spend a lot of time guessing about what they want. We here at PEMBA thought we’d make it easy and just ask a customer what they want in exchange for their hard-earned money. We put out the query on Twitter, and our good friend Tali Koziol responded. She says it better than we can, so here you go…
You’ve heard the term “Gear Whore” usually defined as someone who loves any and all gear. The Gear Whore is the first to hop on the latest trends and anything shiny and new. Well I am kind of the opposite, almost the Gear Serial Monogamist. Yes, I love new gear but I am very deliberate with my purchases and I tend to be loyal. Once you’ve sold me on your brand I tend to be a lifer and just like any girlfriend gushing about how great her significant other is I will gush about you to anyone that will listen. So how do I choose my mates? I look at three areas: Quality, Consistency, and Values.
This is pretty simple. I am not looking for the least expensive products but I am looking for an item that is priced right. Is it worth $200 for a jacket because of its features and longevity or is it a mediocre product demanding that price because of the “brand name”? If there is one thing that can kill the love of a serial monogamist is when you don’t try in the relationship anymore. When you no longer bring the quality to the table but expect the same price in return I will walk away regardless of my love for what we once had.
This is not limited to consistency in quality but includes sizing and offerings. This point is particularly important in apparel. My favorite clothing brands are Mountain Hardwear, prAna, and Patagonia. I know how they’re going to fit every time. I don’t care that in one brand I may wear a size six and in another a size ten but I know that within the brand I will always be able to trust the sizing. Just like any relationship, erratic behavior is a killer. No drama, just be reliable.
Do we share the same values? It’s what creates a foundation in all friendships and romantic relationships and it’s what creates a foundation for me in Gear. I need to know you support local independent retailers and not just the big box stores. I need to know that you care about the environment and demonstrate that by choosing recycled materials and environmentally friendly practices when producing products. I need to know that you care about causes that are important to me. I serve on the Board of Directors for a non-profit and much of my decision making is based on who support the organization and who doesn’t. While not all brands will support the organization I work with I need to know they support similar organizations. If they don’t it means we don’t share the same values and that is a deal breaker.
I know there are a lot of people out there who just want the gear with an inexpensive price point or want to be the first to own the hottest item out there. However I am not one of them. I am an old-fashioned girl with old-fashioned needs and values. If you want to be my partner and have a brand advocate for life you will have to meet those needs.
Tali Koziol is a Colorado native living in Denver. In addition to managing her father’s business she serves on The Board of Directors for The Women’s Wilderness Institute (www.womenswilderness.org). Tali loves yoga, climbing, hiking, camping, and cycling. She also enjoys connecting people with the outdoors and new activies and promotes her passion via her blog Cupcake Mafia (http:mycupcakemafia.com).