A Chat With Sue Landay, President, Trainer’s Warehouse
Another big thing we wrestled with early on was “Who are we?” Who is Trainers Warehouse? Early on we had a lot of products that were more like office fixtures. Should we go into training desks and projectors? Should we be the everything place? Should we be like Staples, for instance, which has everything for presentations? Should we carry overheads, all sorts of flip-chart paper, all kinds of markers? While we asked ourselves these questions, we realized we couldn’t compete with Staples, OfficeMax and those folks. And the people who seem to really like our products are the people in the classroom using tools for their presentations, not buying to install a whole classroom. So when we asked ourselves fixtures versus presentation stuff, we said presentation stuff. When we said everything for every trainer versus hard-to-find products, we realized we were the hard-to-find, creative, unusual products. We were really able to focus in on who we are and who we want to gear our products towards. I think I was instrumental in pushing those questions and saying, “It’s okay not to be all these other things.” Let’s just focus on what we are and what we’re about. The implication then is that when we sell a pack of markers, it’s not just a pack of eight that you can get at every office store, we started to sell markers in any color and any quantity. So if you’re a trainer, you’re going to want black, blue, dark green and purple. Dark heavy colors that can be seen from the back of the classroom. And you might want six of each of those. No yellows, no oranges, because you want these to be seen at the back of the classroom. Light blue? Nobody can see that. So we were able to tailor our offerings, knowing what we were to our customers.