simple secrets from a 550 year-old store...
by Toby Barazzuol on Wednesday Oct 5, 2011
Earlier this year I had the fortune of visiting an amazing store in Kyoto called Aritsugu. The store has a stellar reputation for making the best sushi knives in the world - they aren’t cheap, but they are the best and the quality is obvious. It’s a small store, and the pleasant staff are happy to discuss the beautifully hand-made, metal wares on display. What makes this store amazing though, is that it was founded in 1560 and is one of the oldest existing knifemakers in Japan! How could a company grow for that long? They must have been creating real, enduring value.
In many ways, the search for the lowest price is at the root of our financially unstable and short-sighted society. The continual pursuit of ever lower prices erodes companies by forcing them to cut corners, limit service, reduce quality, lower compensation, design less, focus short-term and essentially generate less value. Our system may not have been designed with these intentions in mind, but these are the ultimate outcomes and this is why it is so hard for small businesses to succeed and prosper over time. How many small businesses last more than 3 years?
If we are to create sustainable financial systems that are both fair and regenerative, consumers need to consider more than simply pricing. We need to allow companies to invest in their people and to focus on designing and innovation and creating real, enduring value. Without that, we are simply in a slow race to the bottom.
Over the years, we’ve seen many competitors appear offering rock bottom prices that we simply can’t match. If and when something goes wrong however, they have neither the resources nor the experience to correct the situation. Usually these companies disappear within a few years because they are unsustainable in so many ways. What an unfortunate misuse of resources! Don’t we want small businesses to last for 20 years? or 50? or 500? the whole while generating value and building community?
As you might imagine, at Eclipse Awards we price our awards and services fairly and typically don’t chase competitor prices. We work to deliver value with integrity by creating beautifully hand-crafted, awards of enduring quality that convey your message of recognition. We guarantee on-time and safe delivery without question so you don't have to worry about your awards arriving damaged or late. We design and create your awards in-house, while also delivering legendary customer service. We do this consistently by paying our staff a Living Wage for their skills, experience and creativity and by providing them with a healthy and inspiring workplace.
We are 14 years into our journey of building a company founded on integrity, excellence, and making people happy. Over that time, our concept of the value we create has evolved and expanded beyond business to also include enivonmental, social, community and cultural elements.
What do you think? What would a business have to do to earn your business for a lifetime?