Building Blocks Show is Small and Special!


I had the opportunity to go to the Small and Special business conference on Tuesday in the Georgetown Ballroom of Seattle.  Hillel, one of my husband’s old co-workers who now runs Jackson Fish Market (software co.), put the event on, along with his business partners.  It was a great opportunity to get to hear from some successful small business owners and see what other passion projects people are working on in the Seattle area.  Thanks to everyone there for being cool that 8 month old Rodger came along.  Still breastfeeding.  : ) 

The two speakers I was most interested to hear from were Jon Rimmerman and Rachel Venning.  Jon runs Garagiste, a wine retailer and I’m pretty sure my husband has financed at least one of his wine-finding expeditions through his purchases.  : )  Garagiste is unique in that they don’t have a storefront and you don’t buy off their website.  Jon sends out an e-mail every time he finds a great wine and if people are interested in purchasing it, they can reply to his e-mail.  It’s really all too easy.  I really enjoyed learning his philosophy to business through his talk.  He tries to de-emphasize the selling aspect and just bring the customers in to his “family” through his stories. 

Rachel Venning is one of the owners of Babeland, an adult toy shop, which according to their website, is “a pleasant place to shop.”  I have to admit I have been in there more than once and it really is pleasant, which is why I was so interested to hear Rachel speak.  It isn’t creepy, dirty or intimidating like so many other adult stores.  What I took away from Rachel’s talk is that you can create a place where passion really drives the business and then enthusiasm and drive will come from not just the owners, but the employees and customers as well. 

Of course, whenever you go to this type of event, you come away with so much more than you anticipated.  I also heard some great presentations from Steven Bristol of Less Everything, Eric LeVine of Cellar Tracker and many others.  All of the attendees also received a copy of the book Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, so I’m looking forward to reading that as well.  Props to the whole S and S team for t-shirts in my size, surprisingly great food and a very smooth first run!

Massive Monkees is a breakdancing group that performed there.  I only wish the stage had been higher so we could have seen all the awesome moves!  Check out a video of their stuff:


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