Cultivate Your Tribe

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I am an avid Seth Godin fan. If you don’t know who he is, Google him. He’s an inspiring marketer who teaches through an everyday blog, disruptive marketing books, speaking engagements and coursework.

I don’t follow Seth because I’ve seen him speak (I have) or read the majority of his books (I have signed copies) or have taken his courses (guilty). I pay attention to the work he delivers because I agree with his message. I could be considered what is referred to in Seth’s circles as a member of his “tribe.” I read his blog, buy his products and advocate that everyone should watch at least one of his TED Talks once. 

Much of Seth’s message is about finding and delivering connection. He suggests that we can’t be all things to all people. We need to find our “tribe” and connect with them in a way that keeps them watching our work and sharing what they find, effectively growing that tribe. As retailers, designers and manufacturers, it’s a worthy message. 

From the top down, the style you provide your customer is different from the next person’s, so you want to connect and stay connected with the people who eagerly await the new home furnishings, smart innovations, colorways, finishes or styles you have to offer. They are watching the trends and how you interpret them.

In our April issue, we talk specifically about American-made lighting and furnishings, as well as a growing movement toward highly customized furniture. 

While it’s a capability American-made manufacturers tout, they aren’t the only companies capable of customization, as the levels here vary. 

There are consumers who want exactly what they want. There are consumers who want slight configurations to what’s available. There are consumers who want to know the source of the materials used for the furnishings in their homes. 

Custom and/or American-made products and the retailers and designers who deliver them have that story to tell. These consumers are invested in the stories and are a part of that tribe. To keep them, it’s imperative to continue to connect with them in a way that reinforces their desires. The people who want custom or U.S.-made are select tribes, but for the businesses involved in customization and American-made, these are the tribes worth cultivating. 

Whatever your specialty, as we head into High Point Market this month, take stock of the story you are telling your customers. Is it resonating? Does it help them spread the word about your work and your business? 

Watch for the connections—you’ll see and feel the excitement—and build on them. You want to recognize your tribe, and deliver your best and most relevant work to those people. They are waiting for you to lead them to what’s next. 



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Diane Falvey

Diane Falvey is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture, Lighting & Decor.

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