She walked on the truck and I was immediately drawn to her. We started talking about The Marketplace but then it started getting personal. She shared a struggle that she was going through and I just listened. Lou walked up and honestly we spent about an hour just listening to her share her heart. We hugged it out, she thanked us for listening, and she left. Lou and I both looked at each other and we knew, she was the reason we were at the show today.
Many people come on the truck and tell us, you are so like “so and so organization” and most of the time I just smile and think- no that’s not who we are. 1st of all, we are a nonprofit and they are not. 2nd of all, we only partner with Christian organizations and they don’t. 3rd of all, our goal is to connect the artisan to the customer through stories and we spend A LOT of time telling stories. We travel to different parts of the world, on our dime, to help organizations create new designs and to become more efficient. And finally, we create community. It’s important for us to build relationships. People need a safe place to share their hurts and be vulnerable. I take it seriously when someone talks about their pain. But what I know is this, God leads them to the truck and then He directs the conversation. Many times people leave after a good cry and say, “I was supposed to meet you today.” Yes, you were.
You see in The Marketplace we are not always about the sale. We are about the relationship. We believe if we foster relationships, God will handle the numbers. He has been doing that since we opened our doors almost 7 years ago. Many people ask what the “secret sauce” is for our success. Honestly, it’s just doing what God has asked us to do; nothing more and nothing less. I tell organizations this when they call and email us asking how we have become sustainable in the turbulent retail world. When I am on the phone and I tell people this, there is often silence. I know what they are thinking, “ok lady so you don’t want to share your secret.” That is my secret...there is no secret. Honor God...build relationships. This works in every aspect of life. Take the time this week to really reflect on whether you are taking time to truly build relationships or if you think you can go it alone. We truly were designed for community.