Today we are launching our new website and I’m dedicating this milestone to my dear friend Louis (pink hair above) who passed away in February. Louis and I would meet sporadically over the years (always with food and drink) and I would pick his brain about Modern Metal to get his insight on marketing strategy, etc. He had quite the academic pedigree and vast experience in business and marketing companies both small and large, but mostly he was a good listener and thinker. I was particularly impressed by his ability to dive into my product and industry which was completely foreign to him. I had a new appreciation every time we spoke; marketing ideas and product requires a special talent. As a friend I noticed he was sensitive, careful with me not to be too pushy, judgmental or to always talk about my work. He seemed to intuitively sense that I could get stressed out and overwhelmed easily, as I navigated the growing pains of starting a young company from scratch.
About two weeks before he died I had asked him to help me with my website, to give me his opinions and advice. At the time, he was not feeling great physically. I hesitated to bother him with this work stuff, but then sort of thought this might be a nice distraction for him from all the health issues which he was dealing with.
My question to him: How can I make Modern Metal understandable to people? How can I clearly convey what I do, what I sell? How do I make this EASY for the customer? How do I make people even care or think about the old ugly grilles in their house? So, Louis dove in Louis style, in full force.
He sent me a long and detailed analytical email of suggestions, bullet points straight to the point, which I have saved, picked apart, and referred to over the last seven months. I admit I stalled on the website project because it made me sad as I could not talk about with him anymore, or bounce new ideas off of him.
My main takeaway from this experience with Louis was learning about the importance of communication, and how a thought I may have could be seen completely differently by someone else. I knew this in theory, but Louis helped me see it with this example.
Originally I had named my web shop Modest Metal. I thought it was SUCH a great name, selling more modestly priced ready made metal products and a cute spin off of Modern Metal, kind of like a Madewell is to J Crew (ha!)
Louis wrote, “personally I don’t like “Modest Metal”. I think you are trying to distinguish it from trade product?? But it sounds denigrating to your product. It’s not modest at all. It’s fucking gorgeous and stands out as beautiful home accents that will impress the shit out of your friends. Also gets confusing when you use it in places like the specs/install page where you talk about modern metal and modest metal and I don’t know the difference. ”
There it was, a completely different vantage point I had never considered. Eye opening. The web shop is no longer named Modest Metal.
I am pleased to present this new website to you all. I hope that I have come closer to achieving my goals, that it will be easy to navigate, and that it will explain this new and needed niche we carved out for ourselves in the A & D community, Modern Metal.