Insights on business -- and life.
How A Retailer Can Help A Vendor Create A
Product testing with store
by Kim Donahue (August 19, 2013)
(Note: The following is an excerpt from
Kim's new book, Growing Up Retail, a memoir of her years with
Tall Mouse Arts & Crafts.)
Remember that funny fabric paint that came in
an accordion bottle? That was Tulip paint which is a little
success story that was invented on the porch of the Mouse. As with
some other retail stores, we participated in the development of the
products, but this story was a bit different.
Around 1985, the inventor of Tulip paint
was a chemist in our town, and his family shopped the store
frequently. At the time, there was no product for people to paint on
shirts that was easy, fun, and reliable, so we kept working with him
as he developed the needed paint.
He would come in and talk to us about his
product, we would try it, give him our feedback, and he would go
back to the lab and work up something else and return again. He also
set up a table in front of the store and had our customers play with
it. He got instant feedback with lots of guest comments.
He was onto something, and it wasn’t long
before he produced the product. We were the first to display the
Tulip fabric paint. It was a big hit, and it happened fast!
Tulip paint or "puffy paint" was a craft store gold mine.
He made a promise as a thank you to the Mouse
for the help. No matter how big or busy his company got, our orders
always went to the top. He kept his promise, and we kept our
customers in full swing year after year with puffy t-shirt painting
Later he sold his company and happily retired.
This made me realize that a small company can make a difference. I
was really amazed that we, a small town craft store, could influence
and assist a large manufacturing company in a big way.
(Note: Growing Up Retail is
available from Amazon Kindle and in three months will be available
from other e-readers. To order it now, click