What They’re Thinking: Jeannette Howe
My heroes are the women from this industry who have been so successful. Deborah Smith (industry consultant and former PARA executive director) has certainly been an influence. Marilyn Sanford (president and co-owner of La Scala in Vancouver), Helen Heneveld (founder of Bedrock Learning), Kathy Gornik, (co-founder and president of THIEL Audio), Elly Valas (industry consultant and former president/CEO of the North American Retail Dealers Association), Carol Campbell (publisher of CustomRetailer) and Evie Wexler (vice president/Secretary of The Little Guys in Glenwood, Ill.)—they are all powerful women. It’s tough to be a woman in this industry and be strong and forthright and not be considered, for lack of a better word, a bitch.
The best business book I’ve read is “The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage” by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore. It’s a book about how to deliver experiences, how we’re no longer selling boxes per se; we’re selling experiences.
In the consumer electronics specialty custom area, people need to be very aware of how they create experiences in their location and how customers respond to those experiences. “The Experience Economy” talks about how people are willing to spend money for those experiences. I don’t think the mass merchants can deliver on that as well as we can.