It Takes a Village

by Debbie Baer August 21, 2019

I pitch The Willary to bloggers and editors all the time, and have never gotten a bite. But when a critical mass of happy customers talks about us on Reddit, The Washington Post notices and gives us a shout out.

Your words, your experiences, your opinions–they’re authentic, they matter, and they got the attention of a major news outlet. As a marketing strategy, though, relying on word of mouth over paid ads and relentless discounting means slow growth.

But that’s mostly okay with me. Here are a few reasons why:

The Ethics:
This one is simple. I think a lot of social media is reallyreally dodgy; and, in my personal life, I try to limit my scroll-time. Why should I build my business on something I try to avoid?

The Pay-Off: 
For a company my size, buying ads doesn’t pay off. I just can’t afford to compete with the Rothy’s and Allbirds of the world for your attention, and, even if I could, at some point those social-media-driven sales would plateau and I’d have to make up new stuff just to keep selling more stuff. I don't love that idea.

The Creep:
I also don’t love seeing ads everywhere I go, so why would I follow you with Willary ads? 

The One-Night Stand:
When we run sales, we get more returns than when we sell things at full price. I think that’s because a lot of sale purchases are like the late-night hook up of retail. Those half-price pants might not be exactly what you want, but you’re curious; and they’re basically throwing themselves at you. Once you get them home, though, you can’t remember what you saw in them and don’t want them hanging around.

Finally, The Vision:
Sometimes, I’ll get an order from a new zip code. Then, a few weeks later, I’ll get another order from that same zip code. I have a story in my head that these two ladies are friends, and customer 1 told her friend about our clothes. She told her friend about us because she thought our clothes would serve her friend well.

I imagine she loves helping her friend even more than she loves our pants, and that makes me happy. Because in a world of tagging, commenting, and liking, these friends are holding, conversing and loving. This is the world I want to live in, and this is the world I want to help build with my company.

But, as I said, word of mouth takes time. I'm constantly trying to figure out ways to inspire more sharing. Do you have ideas for me? What have you told your friends about The Willary? What could a friend say or do that would inspire you to act on their recommendation? If inspiration hits, let me know, and email me at Because little companies like mine take a village to grow.

Debbie Baer
Debbie Baer


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