One thing we always loved about the Apple store is the people that work there. Everywhere you turn to, there’s support that’s always sufficient for one on one interaction with every customer. On a recent trip to San Francisco we’d found ourselves walking into the Apple Store quite a lot. We got to know the people there. They were always up for a chat. Somewhere down the line, when they asked why we were there, we told them about our email app, Paperfold.
Eventually, through a series of hoops and a bit of luck, we were introduced to the business and events team. They became enthusiastically interested in hosting an event with us that would let us tell the story of Paperfold. And what we’d learned along the way. Within four weeks of walking into the Apple Store for the first time, we were featured on the store’s site as part of their cofounder series. The events team worked really hard to support the event and make it happen.
What did we learn from the experience?
Here’s our humble bucket list:
- Have a chat. You know, the sort of chat you have with your hairdresser? Yes, that one. One day at the Apple Store, I spent some time researching places to live in the city. It took an Apple Genius to recommend me a few places that he just happened to know of. We started a chat that turned into a conversation.
- If people at a store genuinely like something, news will travel. If you can get a few people on the shop floor to like it, you’re in a good place to move the conversation further on. It’s important to get a feel for how things work first.
- Don’t underestimate your own story. We’re curious about new products. But we’re also curious about the stories and values that lead us there. Find the brands that share the same values and can appreciate your story and it becomes easier.
- Just walk into places. What would you do to connect if the internet didn’t exist? Walk straight through that initial weirdness you might feel. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
- Be persistent. If going into a store doesn’t work, try again. Find another store. Talk to a different person. Dress up as an elephant. Sing your way in. We counted four separate occasions where we walked in the store one the same day. Once to talk to customers, once to talk to the staff. Once to speak to the business team and then finally getting called for a meeting with the events team.
- If you’re running an event, think about what matters to you and what part of your journey you’d like to share. At events, we’re all trying to do something different, but make sure to create a meaningful experience for the people attending first. Why would you come to your own event? What would you want to come away with?
- Understand that doing one event with a brand is part of a process. Prove your worth one step at a time. Step one is about proving that you can work within a brand’s restrictions and can be trusted with valuable store time.
We hope these tips will encourage other startups to approach their dream brands.
At Paperfold we’re working on making email feel good, and are based in London and San Francisco.