Being an overseas agent; physically away from 98% of our clients, it can be difficult to form strong relationships. This is why we take our job very seriously to ensure that meaningful relationships between clothing agent and client can be formed and strengthened daily. We utilise many form of communication including Skype, email and whatsapp to regularly update our clients with calls, photos and videos. But to go even one step further, can a profound relationship be formed between agent and client? Yes they can. And this is a story of how a profound relationship developed.
The Relationship Developed: Clothing Agent and Client - they can be profound!
With some clients, relationships are formed more easily then others but we work hard at all of them. Learning about ones life, family, friends, good days and bad days, we have heard it all. But sometimes, we develop exceptional relations with our clients and how we end up there can be quite unique. Last year, a client came to us needing to expand her bikini line and increase production amounts. She was 7 and a half months pregnant. As if expanding your business isn't hard enough, she was also planning her wedding plus taking care of her other 3 kids all under the age of 7. She was determined to expand, relaunch, be super mom and blushing bride. You go girl!
1.5 Months to Baby
When she first contacted us, she had a Skype call with one of our team members chatting about the bikini designs (of course) and also about her 3 kids, wedding plans, marriage, and giving birth. She completed her spec sheets, shipped us some of her current samples and came on board and was delighted to have someone working for her and committed to helping her; her hands were full and we happily stepped up.
1 Month to Baby
The patterns and samples for her bikini's were progressing and she was really on top of communication with our team. Our relationship of clothing agent and client was becoming more of a friendship. The Skype calls and whatsapp messages were becoming funnier than the last, full of emotion, full of entertainment, and somewhere there was great business being conducted. Her fiancee was responding to some emails from time to time but mainly she was the go-to person from their side.
2 Weeks to Baby
With all that's going on, one would think, you wouldn't be able to handle too much more. But not her, she was remarkable. She had planned her wedding, and pulled it off without a hitch. The happy couple were married. All the while still talking with us and our team about production, marketing, branding, eCommerce, patterns and samples, fabrics, labels and tags, and of course, baby.
Its Baby Time!
Now this is when the relationship of clothing agent and client gets profound. Not knowing exactly when the baby was coming, a whatsapp message was sent to her with some images and videos to look over the samples and do some final QC (quality control). The next few minutes was simply outstanding and memorable. Her fiancee replied saying that they were in labour and that it was 'baby-time', yet she still wanted to address a few things. So his job was to reply, WHILE SHE WAS IN LABOUR!
We suggested focusing on the labour and birthing baby but they were adamant that we finalise everything on the spot. We exchanged a few more messages as she responded to some feedback/questions and then .... nothing ... radio silence.
I can only imagine what it may have been like:
Nurse: Come on honey, push, breathe, push....
Client: *hee*hee*whooo* "Ok write this message to Luh. I like the idea of working with plain fabrics not digital prints." (actual feedback comment)
Nurse: You can do that later, I need you to push now!!
Client: *hee*hee*whooo* "Can you also ask Luh about the tassels, did she get my email about that?" (actual quote)
A healthy little baby girl was born and about 30 minutes later, we received pictures of her newborn baby, a bouncing bubbly bundle of joy. They shared their most intimate moments with us and our team. And three days later, everything was back to business. Our relationship is still fun and solid today with multiple production under our belt and her business growing daily.
Takeaway from All This?
One thing that we always remind SMBs is that there is no such thing as B2B, its a lie, its false. There is only ever P2P - people to people. Regardless that it is clothing agent and client, the relationship is always built by people, between people, and for people. People make phone calls, people write emails, people speak to each other, people take pictures, people write social media and blog posts, people make purchase orders, people make payments, people drive vehicles and ship your products, people sell and people buy. Its always about people interacting with people in one form or another. We build relationships with people, who they are, and what they represent.