The Man In The Market Who Sells Pens

In the City of London sits Leadenhall Market.

I used to walk through it every day on the way to various meetings.

As much as I hate the crowds I always had a soft spot for it.

Everyday market sellers would rise before dawn, and get down to the market to set up their stalls and shops ready for a day’s trading in the bustling business centre of London.

Throughout the day some of the stalls would change their purpose to better cater to the needs of the city at the different times.

In the morning there would be more beverage and breakfast sellers, then it would switch in the afternoon to sandwiches and other lunchtime delicacies, then in the evenings coffee and flowers.

Leadenhall is a little different from most markets because around the edges of the market were scattered little boutique shops, tailors, cigar chops, fine jewellery etc.

An interesting mismatch of classes.

Amongst all this was a small pen shop.

The man that ran the shop had been there for many years, he bought and sold fountain pens, and also made his own.

Many people came from all over London, from many walks of life to look through his shop, and often many would purchase not the used or new mainstream products from the likes of Cross or Waterman, but his own personally made ones.

I must confess I own one of his fountain pens myself.

But the strange thing about this man is that everyone in the market knew and respected him, he was like the godfather of Leadenhall Market.

Everyone knew him, and he knew everyone.

He was always there to assist his fellow traders, and customers alike.

But in stature he was tiny, elderly and frail looking, but he was so charismatic and kind as well.

Walking through the market you could almost feel the other traders trying to live up to the same standards and ideals he lived and worked by.

Our own businesses, being internet based are often faceless and our transactions are dealt with through a browser and a few mouse clicks.

Sometimes we will never meet any of our customers for months on end if at all.

It’s not a lesson I want you to take from this story but a frame of mind.

This old man projected himself, his personality, onto not only his products but also his environment – and that is what gave him his reputation and his success.

We need to do the same with our websites and campaigns, they cannot be just carbon copies and full of keywords and snappy phrases, they have to be part of us too.