Participate in enough farmers markets and you start to gain an appreciation for the entire consumer experience. From our point of view, it’s an experience grounded mainly in the process of discovery. Keep in mind these are not people who have seen advertising or other partisan messaging intended to convert them into customers. No marketing here. This is real. People see what you’re offering, give it a taste, then purchase the product, pleased with the knowledge that they have found a treat that they can call their own.
This is their personal discovery. Nobody told them to buy it. It’s a small-batch local product not available at the mall—and that’s just the way they like it. They can’t wait to tell people about this well-kept secret. And we all know that people who love being in the know also love sharing their knowledge with friends and family.
Let’s take discovery further.
The joy of discovery is by no means limited to farmers markets. We’re seeing sample stations at many major grocery store chains these days. To their credit, the grocery chains have learned and adapted based on the farmers market model.
Grocery stores have adapted, so why can't farmers market vendors? We wondered what would happen if we placed our caramels in unexpected places—shops that don't even sell food or candy or anything remotely connected to the local food movement.
That’s real discovery. We want our caramels to be a pleasant surprise in places where you least expect them. For example, right now you'll find our product in a charming upscale consignment shop for kids’ clothing in Bedford Hills, New York. The Preppy Turtle is a staple for parents in Northern Westchester who enjoy a bit of serendipity while outfitting their family. It’s kid’s clothing (and some stylish women’s clothing) from the likes of J. Crew, Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer and Ralph Lauren, but it also offers its own twist on what you’ll find in a retail consignment shop: a jar of local hand-made caramels prominently displayed by the cash register. This is where moms indulge their kids (or themselves) with a local sweet treat that is fast becoming part of the shopping ritual at this boutique. (We’re told the employees enjoy them, too.)
Something like this takes time to work its way into the experience at a store, but owner Ann Hardy tells us it’s gaining popularity. Over time, customers and their kids will come to expect this trademark treat each time they visit. It’s a tiny indulgence, but something that helps to set The Preppy Turtle apart. Once again, the joy of discovery at work. It’s one of those many little details that makes shopping at a boutique special.
Next time you’re in Bedford Hills, stop in and say hi to Ann at the Preppy Turtle right next to the train station. It’s a unique and very pleasant experience.