A view of the industry through the
eyes of independent and chain retailers.
Hey There! Hi There! Oh There!
How a day at Disney can make you a
by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender (June 1,
Our country is so generationally diverse, and this
When you head out to Orlando this July for the CHA Summer Show,
make sure to schedule some time at Walt Disney World, "The
Happiest Place on Earth!" We spend a day there every time we
find ourselves anywhere near Orlando.
We really admire Walt Disney because he really got it right.
Disney didn't open a theme park just to open a theme park; his dream
had a deep, philosophical goal: that entertainment wasn't a luxury,
but a necessity for a productive life. (Sounds a lot like crafting,
doesn't it?) He said, "Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't
go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money." He also
said, "You don't work for a dollar, you work to create and have
fun." We're certain his logic strikes a familiar chord.
If you look very closely, you can see Disney's many loving
touches throughout Walt Disney World. Brand touches. And this was no
easy task, considering that Disney never saw the completed Walt
Disney World. The story goes that as Disney lay in the hospital on
his death bed, he described his plans for the Florida Magic Kingdom
to his brother Roy by pointing out locations on a ceiling tile
("The theme park goes here, EPCOT goes there …") Roy
came out of retirement to see that Walt's dream came true.
Sometimes the best ideas come to you in the most unlikely places.
Walt Disney World does that for us – the last time we were there
we filled four pages before we even left Main Street! Check out
Disney's attention to detail and how each can translate to your own
As you approach the front gates of the Magic Kingdom, you are hit
with the incredible colors and smells of thousands of flowers, and
Disney songs playing in the background. It's the guest's first 10
seconds of interaction that builds the perception they carry with
them into the park. That tiny amount of time makes a lasting
(Go outside and look at your front door – right now. What's the
customers' first impression of your store?)
Main Street is on a slight incline, rising up towards Cinderella
Castle. It's not noticeable to guests entering the park for a day of
fun, but they're grateful for that downhill walk to the monorail at
the end of a long day, even if they don't realize it's there.
(Have you installed that ramp outside yet to help customers haul
their wheeled carts up and over the curb and into your store?
Inside, are there places a customer can just sit and rest for a
If you look very closely, you will notice that the shops on Main
Street get slightly smaller the closer you get to Cinderella Castle,
making it loom even larger than it really is.
(In retail language, this is called a "sight line." You
can do a sight line like Disney's in your store, but you'll need to
reverse it. The fixtures in your store should start out shorter and
get gradually taller towards the rear of the store. If you want
customers to see your entire store from the front door, this is the
way to go.)
Look up at the shop windows and you will see the names of
businesses and business people painted on the glass. Like the
opening credits in a movie, this is Disney's tribute to the people
who helped build The Magic Kingdom. Take a close look as you leave
as well because you'll see closing credits too, including one for
(You can do opening credits, too. Line your front windows with
all of the cool things that you sell and all the wonderful services
that you offer. Begin at the upper left hand corner and list your
products and services in reflective, bright white 4" letters.
Do this around the entire perimeter of each window – it's okay to
We visited Disney World just days after former President Ronald
Reagan had passed away. We noticed the American flags outside of The
Magic Kingdom were at half-staff. Inside the park, the flags on top
of the Main Street shops were all at full-staff. Thinking we found a
flaw, we asked a shop manager why these flags were not at half-staff
as well. He explained that inside the gates of The Magic Kingdom,
the outside world is, well, left outside. No matter what's happening
in your personal life, or the world at large, Disney World will
always be a happy place where you can check your troubles at the
(Disney carefully safeguards the guest experience inside the park
by making sure that experience is a direct reflection of the Disney
brand. Similarly, the ambiance inside your store is a reflection of
its – and your – personality. Can customers check their troubles
at your front door? Is the customer experience in your store a happy
one where they can create to their heart's content?)
In Disney's world, customers are not customers, they are guests.
We like that. Aren't the people who come to your store each day
really guests? Shouldn't they be welcomed with the same courtesy
that you welcome a guest in your own home? We think so, and from
this point on, we've decided to refer to customers as guests. We
think you should, too.
The bronze "Partners" statue that sits in a courtyard
in front of Cinderella Castle depicts Walt Disney holding Mickey
Mouse's hand, his other hand pointing off into the distance. The
caption on the plaque is in Disney's own words, describing why he
built his Magic Kingdoms: "I think most of all what I want
Disneyland to be is a happy place where parents and children can
have fun together."
That about sums it up … and isn't that really why we all got
into this business in the first place?
Great news! In addition to the party "The Craft & Hobby
Association Celebrates a Night at Epcot®" on Wednesday, July
29, CHA has made arrangements with Disney to offer specially-priced
afternoon tickets for CHA attendees. We've spoken in Orlando
hundreds of times over the past 19 years and we've never seen a
discounted Disney ticket. Visit https://www.chashow.org for more
1. TNNA Show, Indianapolis. "Creating Connections:
Straight Forward Solutions for Uncertain Times," Sun., June 14,
6:45 pm. (Open to all needlearts groups.) Visit www.tnna.org.
The session is open to all needlework groups.
2. CHA Summer Show, Orlando.
A."4th Quarter Calendar: EVERYTHING You Need to Run
In-Store Events that Build Sales!" Mon., July 27, 2:00-3:00 pm.
Business Seminar S103
B. "Retail Rescue: How to Find Opportunity in Tough
Economic Times," Tues., July 28, 12:00-1:00 pm. Business
C. "Stories of Triumph & Success: Meet Successful
Independent Retailers and Learn What They Do Right!" Wed., July
29: 12:00-1:00 pm. Business Seminar S112. Visit www.chashow.org.
(Note: Professional speakers, authors, and consultants,
Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender are nationally recognized experts
on customer diversity, marketing & promotion, and everything
that affects and interacts with consumers in the retail environment.
Each year Kizer & Bender speak to thousands through their
"Retail Adventures in the REAL World™" keynotes and
seminars. Their unique consumer insights are widely featured in the
media, including the ABC National News special report, "How
Stores Hook You." Their book, Champagne Strategies on a Beer
Budget!, has helped thousands of retailers improve their bottom
line, and their "Retail Adventures™" Blog is
visited by tens of thousands of readers each month. In 2004 they
were named two of the "Most Influential People in Retail
Today," and their popular magazine column, "Georganne
& Rich on the Road," won the American Society of Business
Publication Editors (ASBPE) Award of Excellence in 2004 and again in
You'll find thousands of strategies, tactics, tips. and
techniques to help you grow your business on their Retail Adventures™
They mean it when they say to call if you want to talk about your
store. They know how tough it is right now, and they're happy to
brainstorm ideas with you – they want you to succeed! To read
previous articles by Rich and Georganne, click on the titles in the
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