One day a fruit seller while passing through a village enters into an empty street. He stops by under a tree shadow to take some rest. Then after taking some rest and drinking water he starts dancing for himself.
While he is focused dancing, a group of street kids watch him from distance and slowly come closer, sit down quietly and don’t interrupt. When the guy ends his dance, he finds the kids sitting there. He passes them a smile. Children ask him to dance again, but he has to go.
But inside him, he promise that he would come again in the street and dance for himself (and the kids would enjoy too). He irregularly visits the street, sometime once a week, once a month and sometime even after several months.
He’s not coming back to dance because of the children’s amusement but because of himself. He knows he should be doing it regularly.
I am the fruit seller. This blog is the street. Writing is like dancing for me. You’re the kids. Hello kids! I’m in the street again.
If you follow Hometown, you might know that we write a handwritten personal note to each customer. Recently we ran our sale on Fab.com. Despite the fact we didn’t know who’ll be buying our shoes from there, I and my co-founder Sidra wrote handwritten letters and included them in the shoe boxes while shipping.
Some people replied back using email. Here is one of the conversations:
From: Felix K. To: Waqas Ali Subject: Reply to your letter
Dear Waqas Ali,
first of all i would like to say that i am very happy with my new shoes. You and your team did a very, very nice job! Thank you for your letter. It was very surprising to find a letter in the box. This gave the shoes a very personal touch. Even the fact that you take the time to write a letter (by hand) shows that you take care about your customers. I wish more manufactories like yours will combine perfect craftsmanship with current technologies. Keep it going, and thank you and your employees.
With best regards from Lake Constance, Germany
Felix J. Keller
My reply to Felix:
I am very honoured and humbled to hear from you. And that, such a positive note. Thank you again for taking time to do this for us.
That is right that Hometown combines craftsmanship with technology and storytelling. Stories just like these.
I never knew that Lake Constance is a place in Germany, now I know that and may be sometime I shall come visit you. Your feedback is very valuable and we’ll make Hometown even a better place to buy from.
If it is okay with you, consider sharing a picture (or more) of yours with Hometown shoes. We would put this in our office.
And if we can help in any way, please write me here like a friend!
Best wishes from Lahore, Pakistan
Sincerely, Waqas Ali.
The purpose of sharing this conversation is, so that other can learn from our experience and use something out of it.
I am sharing a glimpse of what is happening around HOMETOWN.
This is what’s keeping me away from blogging too.
HOMETOWN started without any formal office, we used KFC as workplace. As they had power all the day and let us sit.
Three days back, we shipped our first shoes to India. Randhir, our customer took the risk of ordering shoes from Pakistan. It is not conventional to ship something from Pakistan to India, because of the political tension between both Governments.
It was a moment of trust for him. I am proud and humbled to say the trust is well placed.
We can wait for few days, for big news to come and then we’ll share them with people we care, and who care back. This is what I have been thinking, and taking a little break from writing and then 3 solid months pass by.
Yesterday, I wrote this letter to the community around HOMETOWN.
I believe life is treating you well, and you are doing good in health and happiness.
Here at HOMETOWN, we’re going through the most exciting time of our life. I mean it, please give 3-5 min to read this email. I’ve tried to make it worth.
1. WON Pakistan’s First Startup Incubation Program
Yes, next month we are shifting to our new office. Out of 500+ startups, HOMETOWN made it to the top position among 4 winners. We’re very thrilled about this opportunity.
2. Now Accepts PayPal and Major Credit Cards
I can not thank enough to our customers like yours, who took out the time and paid us through Western Union. That’s what makes you our friend. We’re improving how we sell, communicate and all. So it comes as a good news that we’ve setup PayPal & Credit Cards as our payments gateway.
3. HOMETOWN featured as “Innovation Hero”
Provincial Govt of Punjab, and Google Inc, launched Innovation Campaign in Punjab, Pakistan. In there, they featured inspiring businesses and individual as ‘Innovation Hero.’ We’re so honored to be among the 5 heroes. Here is the complete story.
This is best. Every morning, we get up for two main reasons. 1) Are we establishing an honest and trustworthy connection with our customers? 2) Are we really growing?
Both of the reasons are equally important to us, let me tell you small stories.
Bill from Singapore, bought a Chappal from us to gift to his father-in-law. Now that is very exciting.
Tahreem from KSA, ordered for beSpoke shoes to wear on his wedding day. Later on, he asked that if we could add a different buckle with shoes. I said, why not! But then, I said, wait a little and we make another pair for you with different buckle and you keep both shoes with you. He asked, can I get brown colour instead of black, as I already have a black now. I said, all done!
There comes a time in life, when you prepare yourself for a big day. You have thought about this time for years. And now you finally made it in a series of events.
For some it is getting admission at a remarkable college, or marrying with right person, for some it could be buying the first shoes for their parents.
Here at Hometown I and my team are in the middle of such moment right now.
Launching HOMETOWN! Oh WOW! Our first collection includes, ready to wear men shoes, wallets and belts and a special Pakistani footwear, called Chappal.
So no matter who you are, what you wear (canvas trouser, jeans, kurta or anything in between), and in which part of the world you live. You can surely shop one thing or two, or just come over, see what we have been doing, tell us what we should. More, you can also get custom shoes just made for you.
HOMETOWN came into exist for two main reasons, I and my team wanted to play our best shot so far, and to make use of exceptional skills of our craftsmen.
We short-listed several products, tried to find what can be done, and what will work best. For example, we failed 24 times, to make one of our Chappal. And now when we see it, we feel like, you know how it feels.
They say, journey of one thousand miles start with one step, it can be short, or slow, but it is probablly the most important. We have taken it, you’ve taken it, if you are reading this post and I so believe together, we’ll learn how to live a better life and celebrate all what it has to offer.There is so much more to say, but I’ll let our products and service communicate that with you. Thank you so much for being with all the time, and if you have any thing to say, I force you to write in comments on Hometown Blog or here.
Yesterday I was learning about Philippe Starck, the best known designer in the New Design Style. Here is tiny example of his work.
Also we are seeing companies like Apple, IKEA, Zappos and many others, which are offering great services or products or both.
If companies like them can offer, why not everyone? Here is the point, Apple didn’t bring its products’ design from here or there, or even it wasn’t avilable before they created it. Similarly for Zappos, they had no such experience of Delivering Happiness before.
Both companies and individuals, promised it to themselves, designed it, created it, delivered it.
Things did not ended over there, what we call now customers or fans loyalty is actually designing your unique consumer or fan.
This is what I call an era of designing consumers. Without it, it is impossible for good folks to make WOW. I strongly belive you know what you can do to design your own following of people or consumers.
Waiting of what? Go.. Design us.. We’re waiting of you dear Linchpin.
Yesterday one of our our blog members Sya commented and raised an important concern about taking action each time. Her comments are as below:
” but sometimes, it’s a little scary to take the first step dont you think? because as adults, we’ve learnt to have inhibitions, we know what it feels to fall. nonetheless, i agree that we all still have that 1 yr old in us! i enjoy reading your blog! keep it up! “
She is right that many times we do not taking action(s) with full swing because once we got failed. Let’s jump deeper in it.
Celebration means here to observer or commemorate your action(s). The best way to get out of your outcomes is to celebrate them.
Many of us get our projects done in the way we wanted and then start working back in routine. Which is I believe wrong attitude towards yourself.
To get most out of your success, celebrating is must. It helps us in number of ways, 1-Share your success with those who appreciate your efforts. Appreciation of friend is very powerful asset and it helps you dream big and taking action for it.
2-Get a break, taking a break after completing your project helps us to focus on our personal needs. Which is again very important, a happier person is a better person.
3-Make a list, if you write a diary, write a note about your achievements and the hurdles and how did you overcome on them.
Celebrating mistakes in one of the best thing I learned in 2010. In fact it is the way to get most out of your mistakes / failures. Habit of celebrating the mistakes make you feel free to experiments, try something new.
Celebrate mistake means blaming no one. Reaction to mistakes plays an important role in keep you going. In early years of our life we get only encouragements and the comments like, “Do it in this way and it will be done. ” By the time we get in our mid 20s nobody tells how to actually reinforce yourself, so rather than blaming the circumstances or weather, go and re-Do it in a new way with better preparation.
Remember if everything succeeds it means you are not taking enough risks and not trying to create something new.
I end this post to you with following two phrases.