|An important question to ask...|
St. John's Booksellers is one of my clients. More than that, Néna, the owner, is a very good friend. I've designed her window displays and her print material for over a year now and I've gotten to hear a fair amount about the challenges of running a brick and mortar store in today's economy. I have to say, it takes a huge amount of dedication and courage to run a bookstore and go up against the big guys in the business.
One of the thing that's struck me over and over again are Néna's stories about having a customer come in, ask about a book -accessing Néna's many years of experience in the industry and her incredible base of knowledge when it comes to books- and then decide to go buy the book somewhere else. Even telling her that they can get it cheaper on Amazon. It is maddening.
I've wanted for a while now to help her address the issue of people using her store as an Amazon showroom. While I have nothing against Amazon in general, I very much value independently-owned bookstores as vital community resources and neighborhood anchors. And if we don't actively value our neighborhood bookstores, they're going to disappear.
With this window design, from the brown paper to the question and the answer, I think I've pretty much summed up why we should be shopping local and supporting our neighbor's businesses. When I first had the idea, I was worried that it was too confrontational or that Néna wouldn't like it. She liked it and decided that we should run with it. It went up on Saturday night.
The reaction, in just two days, has been phenomenal. It has started many conversations. A picture of the window, posted on Facebook, has been shared over 90 times. It's been described as "scary, provocative, and witty" "right on and badass" "like the Ghost of Christmas Future, pointing at the grave..." and more. Every once in a while, I have a design idea that hits a sweet spot - something that communicates a powerful idea very simply and directly and in a way that can't be ignored. When I do, it serves as a deep well of inspiration for whatever comes next.
This is one of those times.