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When Tom, our VP of Marketing, first suggested we open a store, I honestly wasn’t so sure about the idea. My first big project when I started at MailChimp in 2013 was to figure out a better management system for all of our physical stuff. We had boxes and boxes full of t-shirts and knit hats shaped like monkeys wearing hats and little plushie Freddies wrapped in plastic. Not to mention all the stickers and pencils and Tattlys and tote bags. We use all these items in many different ways, but the one thing that has stayed the same is that all of them are given away for free.
The thought of selling our stuff didn’t sit right with me, so I told him that.
Ok, Tom. I see what you’re doing here. You’re trying to build empathy for our customers. I get it. But doesn’t this strike you as maybe a little too much? I mean, we can’t build a store for the sake of building a store! What does that have to do with email marketing? What if we don’t sell anything? We don’t know anything about what it’s like to be an e-commerce business! What if I mess it up?!?
Yeah, I mean, it sounds pretty cool and everything, but it’s complicated! What will we sell? Where does the site live? Do we need our own social media? What do we call it?
Oh, geez, okay, let me think…
…yeah I had nothing. I decided to sleep on it.