When the calendar rolls over to a new year, many of us start thinking about goals and resolutions. Personally, my ambitions are modest—I want to learn how to cook lentils (perfectly, like the ones I had in India), and give more of what I can to worthy causes. Professionally, my goals remain similar to last year: improve my coverage and content for readers (constructive criticism and suggestions are always welcome so please reach out at email@example.com). For the industry, here are few things I’d love to see you all do in 2016. Have some of your own to share? Please weigh in via the comment section below.
Use Instagram. If you are not using it by now, stop everything you are doing and sign up for a free account. Instagram helps stores and designers alike garner sales through immediate connections with consumers. Instagram is a powerful and free marketing tool that should become second nature to you this year.
Make relationships between makers and sellers more equitable. Have a store with a consignment policy? Consider dropping it—or at least scaling it back—and buying pieces from artists who also have bills to pay. Only have accounts that offer to represent you on a consignment basis? Tell them thanks for the interest and that you’ll be thrilled to be in their store with a buy-in of X dollars. Both sides must work together to be a success at the consumer level.
Embrace transparency and be a more thoughtful human. We already know that millennials love knowing who made their pieces and from where in the world materials were sourced, but I would like to see the rest of us adopt these ideas more earnestly. Transparency is about revealing every step in the product pipeline from mine to market, being accountable to every person in that chain (do you know for fact that your jewelry isn’t made in sweatshops?), and being able to articulate these facts with confidence in stores and studios. It’s not easy to do 100 percent of the time but at least do your due diligence with your suppliers to be able to say with confidence that you made an effort.
For example, I know my vehicle was made in Japan but I don’t know the working conditions of the Subaru plant where my Forester was born. I do know, however, that Subaru donates to causes I care about through its Share the Love event; two of my family members also bought Subarus; and the dealership at which I bought the vehicle was the same one that treated me with courtesy and respect as a first-time car buyer of a different brand in my twenties. All of these things validated my feelings that Subaru was a company that cared about its people and others, in general, and was worth supporting through a big-ticket purchase.
Passing the buck is passé, and lame, frankly, and I’m all for abandoning it in 2016. Hold yourselves and your purchases accountable to others to the best of your ability. I’m going to continue to try my best, and I hope that you will as well.
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