Every day, we drive through a weird part of town. It's an old part of the city, and many of the streets go only one way. There are weird roundabout-like things in a country not equipped for roundabouts. There are not enough driving lanes and it's an all around pain in the ass. For most drivers, it's simply not worth taking this route. Because of this, most people who try to start businesses in the area fail miserably. And horribly. And failurely, too.
So we're driving through this not tremendously great neighbourhood, and we see a new store. Except it's not a store. It's built like a store, but there's no stuff in it. There's a door, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't open. There's no light on, and there's no counter, and there's nobody inside.
There are really only three things to see at this store. There's a name. There's a phone number. And there's a huge pile of stuffed bunnies in each window. Like, massive. Offensive, really.
It's a cleaning business. It's called Dust Bunnies Away.
Under normal circumstances, I would never recommend this as a marketing strategy. It's too hit and miss, and it's in a neighbourhood where the inhabitants probably couldn't afford your services. But in this case I like it, and I'll tell you why.
Traditionally, nobody walks into the storefront of a cleaning business and says, “Hey. Whattup? Wanna clean my crib?” But the lovely ladies at Dust Bunnies Away have realized that even if they're not in the position to take walk-in traffic, they're renting a space anyway. Maybe they need an office in the back, or a place to store their cleaning supplies. Nobody's going to walk in, and even if they wanted to, there wouldn't be anybody there to help them.
But they happen to have space anyway. So they decided to make the best of it, and that way, in case somebody's walking by, the business gets a little bit of good, cheap branding while the owners are off scrubbing a toilet somewhere.
See, here's the thing. I need a cleaning lady. The lady who watches Jack a few days a week is a cleaning lady, but it's harder to find good child care than good house cleaning, so I'm not going to ask her to do it. (If it ever got weird, I'd lose two services instead of just one, and I'm not willing to do that.) My friend Mel has a good friend who's a cleaning lady, but I don't want to hire her either. (If it got weird there, I'd have to fire my friend's friend, and I try to not hire people I can't easily fire.) I could go to Molly Maid, but I'd much rather support an ittybiz than a multinational conglomerate.
So I'm driving around London, knowing I need a cleaning lady but kind of avoiding the thought, and I see the bunnies. And it's just different enough from Generic House Cleaning LLC to make me notice. Or call. Or hire them. Or tell you guys about it.
Sometimes all you need is a pile of bunnies.