My Store is My…

20 08 2007

Today I was watching Mad Men, the AMC drama based on advertising in the 1960s. I’ve gotten through the first three episodes, and while I like it, I don’t love it. While I often long for Entourage to switch to hour-long episodes, I wish Mad Men was in a thirty minute slot. Sometimes the show is great, sometimes it feels like filler.

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The line in episode three that really stuck with me was delivered by Rachel Menken, the owner of a major department store. After being asked by main character Don Draper if she had changed her clothes since he saw her earlier, Menken responds, “This is my closet” gesturing to the store around her.

While that line may not have been meant to capture attention, it stood out for me because that is what a passionate person will say about their work. Much in the same way Sam Melfi treats his store Books and Memories like his personal library. He questions everyone who buys books from him, engaging in conversations with some, challenging others. To him, anyone who buys his books is buying them from his personal collection, even as it has grown from a few hundred in his attic to literally hundreds of thousands in a store a block long.

I was reading BL Ochman’s blog, What’s Next the other day and loved this section:

“For me, and I think for a lot of other serious business bloggers, a blog is a storefront and, once it gains a big enough audience, a global micro-brand. You don’t just walk away from a successful blog that took blood, sweat and tears to build because a shiny new object came along.”

The blog really has become a personal ‘storefront’. So many of them are set up like portfolios, where you can learn more about the writer, their interests, see their work, etc. And I think that is great. It takes a long time to create that for a blog, and can take even longer if you don’t write your thoughts down. Since I began this blog I have re-written my vision, taken stock of my interests, and (yes) gotten a job. That’s right, I announced that quietly. I wouldn’t want to lose my support with the unemployed community.

But this personal storefront becomes a part of us, something we built with our own two hands. When you care about your work like that, when you become emotionally attached to it, you grow alongside your work. And passion is what fuels us. So grow alongside you work, whether it’s a department store, dusty book store, or a free blog online. Take pride, take charge, get out there and learn. Best of luck, I’ll be here cleaning my storefront.

P.S. Eric Webber has written another section in Advertising Age’s Small Agency Diary. It’s on how to conduct useful meetings in an agency setting. It’s another good read and you can get it here.

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