The highlight of my month was a half hour one on one interview with Seth Godin, author, entrepreneur and teacher, prior to his London Icarus show. I will post more stuff from my Retail Newsagent and Better Wholesaling interviews shortly.

However, at the end of my interview Godin commented on my fountain pen and said that it was one thing he had never mastered. I realised later that he was complimenting me by finding something remarkable about me. No-one else had taken notes with a Lamy pen in the recent past.

I replied that it was a great pen but I was having trouble with the nib, which was coming loose. In fact, ever since I was first given the pen 10 years ago I had being having trouble with the nib.

Can you not get a replacement, he asked. I don’t know, I said. I looked at the pen and I thought that I had never considered the idea that I could replace the nib. While I regularly bought refill cartridges, I had never thought there were other parts I could change.

So, a week later I am walking through the excellent shopping mall on the approach to Liverpool Street station and I go into The Pen Shop and ask if you can buy replacement nibs. Sure, we have those in stock, what nib do you want, the assistant asked.

She then helped me find a nib that better suited me and that if I had acquired 10 years ago would have made my life more enjoyable.

What is the moral of the story? That retailers need to let people know what they can buy. My life has been improved because Seth Godin suggested that I do something obvious but which I had never thought of. Do you ask for the business from your customers? What are you missing?


For the full interview read the January 25th edition of Retail Newsagent.  In case you missed it there we’ll post it on betterRetailing in the coming weeks.