A Lesson in Serving Your Customers: Flour Sack Dresses During the Depression

I came across this amazing story today, and it brought home to me just how important it is to know your customer and make it your company’s business to meet their needs.

I remember learning in high school about people making clothing out of old flour sacks during the Great Depression, and I knew that some of the flour sacks were printed with patterns. But, I didn’t realize that it was done on purpose.

According to The Fascinating History of Flour Sack Dresses on oldphotoarchive.com, the flour and seed companies found out their sacks were being used to make clothing, so they began to print patterns on the cotton bags. That way, when families purchased their much-needed food, they also received the material to make their clothing. (Or a really adorable stuffed rabbit as shown in one of the photos.)

This is a wonderful example of knowing what your customers need and solving a problem for them. At a time when jobs and money were hard to come by every little bit counted. These companies were already providing a necessary product. They didn’t have to go the extra mile, but they did.

Successful businesses still do this today.

How is your product, service or content solving a problem for your customer or target audience?

Flying Southwest to South by Southwest (SXSW)

I am sitting on an airplane skirting the Southeast coast of the U.S. for a stop in Houston on my way to Austin and SXSW. I’m a newbie.

I can’t wait to get there and rub elbows with all the other social and digital media marketing peeps. I’ve set my mind to sponge mode so I can absorb as much knowledge as possible about my industry. And, yes, I want to meet Grumpy Cat. I hear she’s a sweetie, and I will be my son’s hero if I get a photo.

One of my good friends and former co-workers is already on the ground getting her social on. She texted last night to tell me to expect to feel old. I understand it’s a young crowd, but I am young in spirit and make it my job to stay hip and relevant (thanks quite a bit to my college-age daughters.)

I think people who go into professions as communicators tend to be more receptive to change and excited about technology and finding innovative ways to reach their audiences. Marketing isn’t the same in this insta-connect universe. We’ve all got to be ready to go with the flow and embrace the future. And, we seasoned pros need to be open to learning from those bright, young minds.

See you in Austin!


Welcome! (It all started with a boat.)

A hearty welcome to the debut of PerryWinkle Social Marketing.

I have to credit my husband for the name. Years ago we were trying to name our boat, and he jokingly said we should christen her the PerryWinkle. Coming from a mucho macho man, it was a pretty silly suggestion. We all yucked it up over his humor. But the name stuck in my mind. I just knew it would come in handy one day.

Perry Boat

Now that I’ve christened my blog,  I’ll be casting off to explore all sorts of topics related to social media, community management, marketing, digital media and more. All from my own point of view, naturally.

I appreciate your comments, your likes and your shares. Oh, and your suggested topics.