Tailoring Directly to Their Customers
KEYS TO SUCCESS: A hands-on approach and a commited staff. “With us, it has to do with the fact that we’re very hands-on in every aspect of the business,” Sue says. “We style everything ourselves and create all our own patterns. If we won’t wear it, we don’t want to sell it.” Their dedication wears off on the Ben Silver staff, many of whom have been with the company for 15 years or more.
BIGGEST MISTAKE MADE; SUBSEQUENT RECOVERY: In 2003 and 2004, the company mailed a women’s and children’s catalog spin-off. The catalog failed to generate sufficient revenue, and the Prenners discontinued it. “It was beautiful and seemed a natural extension of where we were going,” Sue says, “but it wasn’t the right way for us to go. We haven’t eliminated women’s products from our main catalog, however.” In fact, the company operates a women’s store across the street from the traditional Ben Silver store in Charleston, S.C. The catalog also contains a large women’s apparel section. «
For the complete interview, visit CatalogSuccess.com and look for Profile of Success (Complete Interview): A Chat With Sue & Robert Prenner.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.