“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” -Simon Sinek, Start with Why.
I love this quote from Simon because it’s so, so true. In the world of e-commerce it’s so easy to put up a website and mask all aspects of humanity, if that’s the goal. But ever since Rachel and I started GouletPens.com in 2009 we sought to do the complete opposite, to leverage every online tool we could to show how personal an online store could be, to prove that business can be personal. Those of you who’ve read this blog, visited our site, and certainly been a customer of ours have experienced this firsthand. But we’ve never clearly articulated our “Why”, until now.
It’s been over a year in the making for us to define our company mission, purpose, vision, and values. What seem like just a few words or sentences were actually unbelievably difficult to define, though the process itself has been far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.
We’ve tried just about everything you can think to define our Goulet culture. Rachel and I went on a long weekend retreat on Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Mountains last spring to start the process, and we came back with a notebook full of rambling, almost incoherent notes. We hired outside professional consultants to try to download our brains and say what we couldn’t. They said it, but it was in their words, not ours, and it didn’t resonate with our team despite the best of intentions.
What we came to realize is that we needed to involve the whole company, and look to define what it is that motivates us each as individuals and as a company to create that special, hard-to-pinpoint experience that you get when interacting with GouletPens.com in any way.
All in all, we went through countless notes and 15 different official drafts, had close to 40 different meetings in every setting from one-on-ones to small groups to company-wide, and actively involved every single person in our company to define the things that make up our “Goulet magic”. I personally have read around 40 different business leadership books since starting this process, and while these books have covered a wide variety of business topics, many of them inspired ideas for this very process we went through.
We’re so honored to present these to you, and we know that you will better be able to understand what we’re all about through what we’ve articulated here on our site. We give more context around our values and how we live them out in our company here – it’s worth a few minutes of your time to check it out. It is our hope that by sharing with you what our deeper purpose is behind everything that we do, our “Why”, that you will have a deeper understanding about who we are and help us to spread our message by telling others what it is that makes us unique.
I would personally love to hear what you have to say about our values. If you’re inspired, email me at email@example.com to let me know what you think, or leave a comment below.