Hope For Retail: Wilkes Bashford
Hey, it's Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doc. Thanks for joining me today on my Hope For Retail project. Every day I pick a different retailer and then share a story about it because retail is more than product. It's about story. Today I get to feature Wilkes Bashford and one of their nine stores. I was in San Francisco and I was just walking along and I saw this beautiful townhouse and it looked like a small little boutique.
So I went in and I'm looking around and they have nice art books and they've got nice, it looks like luxury brands, so I'm thinking, "This is worth my time." So it's small, right? It's like a townhouse. And so I see there's an elevator over there and I get in and this woman walks in next to me and it starts going up and I'm going to sportswear, I think on sixth floor or something.
And she starts talking to me and says, "Oh, is this your first time you've been here?" And I'm like, "Oh yeah, it is." And she goes, "Well, it's a really nice store." And we're having pleasant conversation. And then I get off at the sixth floor. And I realized, "Oh, she works here." And so she invites me, she goes, "Would you like to see what we have here in sportswear?"
And I was like, "Oh, sure." So she told me a little bit about the brand and we're walking along and we get over to the jeans bar and I'm like, "I don't need any jeans." She goes, "Well, these are really exceptional jeans up here in San Francisco. A lot of guys have several pair." And I looked at the price and, without divulging anything, the price was pretty exorbitant because the brand Kiton, if you know the brand at all.
And I said, "Well, there's no way I'm going to buy those." And she goes, "Well, you should really try them on." I said, "There's no way I'm going to buy those." And, to make a very long story short, I ended up trying them on. And as I came out of the fitting room this guy is standing there and she goes, you know, the tailor's right here.
He could mark them for you. And I said, "There's no way I'm buying these. I know what these cost. And she goes, "Look at how well you look. You know, you deserve it." And she had been listening to my conversation the whole time, but I just come off a speech that I felt really great about that it not only been, several thousand people, but also in live streams.
And I was feeling my oats, right? And I'm feeling good. And, to make a long story short, I make the purchase. Then we get in the elevator to go down. And as we're going down, she goes, "Would you like to see what else we have in the store?" And I said, "Well, sure." So we went through the fifth. And the fourth and the third.
And we get down to the bottom. And as we're pleasantly talking, we're walking by the shoes and she's suggesting, you know, maybe a new pair of shoes or something just casually though, just, you know, like helpful. And, I go to pay for it and I hand her my credit card and we're talking about me being the Retail Doc.
And I find out that Kathy has been there for 35 years, is passionate about menswear, has seen the trends come and go and just loves her job. And of course, really I made a pledge long ago if somebody just does what I teach in my retail sales training program I've got to reward them with a purchase. So I hand my credit card and she goes, "It was a pleasure dealing with you. When you're back in San Francisco may I keep in contact," and we had some other things and they handed the purchase bag across to me. And I was like, "You are brilliant." Because that time we had spent looking around pleasantly for 10 minutes or whatever through the store, she had used to make sure that the tailor had those pants ready for me because I was flying from San Francisco back to New York that night.
And so the secret of great retail is being brilliant on the basics. How do you make someone feel in that moment they are the most important person in the world. I can tell you, Kathy did it. In fact, I wrote a whole blog about it, about how great it was. It was a couple of years ago. And remember, every purchase has a story.
Every brand can have a story, but every purchase a customer makes has a story. And so I know your closed now Wilkes Bashford. You've got nine stores, some on the east coast as Mitchells, some on the west coast, as Wilkes Bashford. But, we need you to come up with that hope and that professionalism like Kathy.
Cause when we go out into the world, again, we're going to want to be treating ourselves and to have wonderful sales associates, partners, actually trusted advisors who can say, "You deserve this." And I really appreciate that, Kathy. So thanks again all these years later, and for all of you, you can do this project too, just pick your favorite brand.
Come up with a story about it, shouldn't be hard if you have a favorite brand, right? And then give it the hashtag Hope for Retail. I'm doing this for about 30 days and I encourage you to join me as well because in this time of doom and gloom and no one's going to brick and mortar, brick and mortar is the linchpin that retail runs on.
I don't care what the digital marketing keeps telling us over and over again. It still comes down to when someone walks in a brick and mortar store, can you give them a feeling they matter? And if so, you're going to be successful. I'm Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doc. I encourage your comments and shares and I'll see you tomorrow with yet another brand.
You can hear and read all of my customer stories in my Hope For Retail project below:
• Customer Story Macy's
• Customer Story Neiman Marcus
• Customer Story Hugo Boss
• Customer Story JC Penney
• Customer Story Ted Baker
• Customer Story Nordstrom
• Customer Story Allen Edmonds
• Customer Story Williams-Sonoma
• Customer Story Armani
• Customer Story Harry Rosen
• Customer Story Pottery Barn
• Customer Story Saks
• Customer Story Martin Lawrence Galleries
• Customer Story Ralph Lauren
• Customer Story Robert Graham
• Customer Story Levi's
• Customer Story Pedego
• Customer Story Garden Centers
• Customer Story Lutron