The last successful business trip to New York ended with two infant-like women being coddled by flight attendants with ginger ale and Pringles in the last row of a Virgin America flight back to San Francisco.
Kate and I are proud to say: NOT AGAIN, FRIENDS! Successful the trip has been indeed, but in a pathetic state of sleepless misery in the midst of record-breaking episodes of chart-topping turbulence – we are not. Delayed two hours, we may be, but hey – you can’t have everything.
The last 48 hours were spent meeting with some of the loveliest of lovely and studliest of studly editors, writers, stylists, assistants, and directors of some of the best of the best publications housed in New York. At just over 10 weeks old, we felt it about time to take DITTO for a little walk around the pressroom block. Equipped we were, no doubt, with two extra large red Longchamp weekenders chockfull of goodies and press kits.
For the first time with DITTO as our darling, Kate and I had the opportunity and the pleasure to steal a few moments of time from some very busy bees. As much as our minds and hearts believe what we have to share is completely and unapologetically amazing, when the recipient audience is the editor of a magazine you’ve been reading for well over a decade – the stakes are high! Much to our utter delight, our enthusiasm was met in equal dose by nearly every face with whom we shared a table in the past two days.
One of the most difficult things about working in e-commerce, in contrast to brick-and-mortar retail, is that the traditional channel of feedback from shoppers to salespeople, customers to buyers, transforms from a personable dialogue to a minimalist, need-based communication channel. E-commerce promotes autonomous shopping for individuals – they can do it whenever, wherever, and whether they seek out feedback or assistance is completely elective. There are obvious benefits consequent to this autonomy. Our world is a rapidly changing place, and autonomous opportunities provide great value as the way we conceptualize our time and priorities shifts.
The point to be made here, dear friends, is that as a result of all of this autonomy, our opportunities as retailers to see the looks on people’s faces when they find joy – in our product, our merchandise, and the overall shopping experience – are reduced significantly! We receive notes every week from incredibly satisfied customers, but there’s something to be said for actually witnessing a genuine expression or exclamation firsthand, the same instant in which the emotion arises.
Therefore, when it came to this visit to New York, the most rewarding thing for me was not the promise of press coverage or product features, but the sincere excitement, candid eagerness, and wholehearted belief in DITTO’s values that we got to see firsthand in these meetings. The fact that the particular respondents are the creators and curators of the glossies and dot-com publications that every single one of us (and you) reads or has read at some point, is another thing to be grateful for in itself.
Kate always likes to say, “small victories!” More than a phrase, this is a mindset that must persist with you, if you are to survive in a start-up. No matter how good it is, the input to output ratio is completely out of whack in the beginning. Patience, perseverance, and optimism above all else are what we need to survive. After all, it’s not about the end… it’s about the journey! Let’s just say, we’re freaking ecstatic to be here.
Thanks, New York, for lifting is up this time around. It’s been real.