Let’s take a trip around the world. Exotic Imports is a retail store at Southpark Mall in Moline, Illinois, that features hand-crafted gifts, décor, jewelry, candles, swords, and tea sets from over 40 countries. Dave Cahoon owns Exotic Imports and is tasked with everything of a typical business owner, including merchandising, marketing, managing employees, and bookkeeping. He is also responsible for the company’s “word management.”
Dave says Exotic Imports’ mission is, “Through a diverse assortment and presentation of authentic, fine-quality, ethnic items and giftware, and the accurate education of our customers, Exotic Imports openly seeks the patronage of a globally aware population while providing a respectful outlet to the artisans who strive to produce these items.” This mission is summed up in the tagline “shop Globally, locally.” One of the countries from which Exotic Imports carries items is the United States; Dave stocks books authored by poets and prose writers from the Quad Cities, the metro area where the store is located.
When reflecting on how its tagline portrays Exotic Imports’ mission, Dave says, “We understand people have access to purchase goods online now more than at any other time in history. At the same time, people appreciate the value and variety, as well as the convenience of shopping online while precious jobs are being consolidated into mega-sized fulfillment centers. Fewer and fewer business exist because of this effect. Our tag-line reflects our effort to remind shoppers that by shopping locally, they have the benefits of experiencing the merchandise, authentic customer service, and no delays from shipping. They do this while keeping jobs local and supporting their local economy. Because of the diverse assortment of goods at Exotic Imports, shopping ‘Globally, locally’ feels better in so many ways than click click click.”
Exotic Imports also uses words to further its educational mission with three inch by four inch blue card-stock information tags attached to most items, including statues, art, and artifacts with stories to tell. The cards tell the what, where, why, how, and when of the items, providing insight into their origins and greater understandings of their value. Dave says, “Words are the cornerstones of our descriptions. Sometimes a word defines the material, such as ‘soapstone,’ or an origin, like ‘Ghana.’ Other times it conveys a people, like the ‘Ashanti,’ or reminds us that the incense is ‘relaxing,’ or the goat’s milk soap is, ‘naturally moisturizing.’”
Dave believes in words, stating “As with everything, choosing the correct word is paramount. It allows us to speak accurately and concisely,” which is required for success. Words are relied on heavily to sell the items available in the store. Elaborating, Dave explains, “Explaining a fragrance as ‘tantalizingly sumptuous bio-based’ will work for one group of clients, while ‘pleasantly natural’ won’t get lost by another. Just as choosing words correctly is important, when to say the word plays an equal part. Asking for the shopper to make a commitment to purchase too soon will make you sound pushy. This lessens your chance of them becoming a customer. However, waiting too long to ask them to buy may catch them when they have already lost interest. Yes, some of this is subjective, but at the end of the day, the proper use of words lays the better foundation for success.”
Exotic Imports uses its tagline of “shop Globally, locally” as much as possible, specifically through the information cards and generally in simply doing business. Words are also used to greet people, guide their purchases with key phrases to help determine what’s on shoppers’ minds, and to thank them for visiting the store. At Exotic Imports, words are everywhere.
Exotic Imports is located next to JC Penney at Southpark Mall at 4500 16th Street in Moline, Illinois. You can also visit them online at www.exoticimports.com.