Or… why I feel we have an indebtedness of 100% over our total sales.
Van der Waal is a grip solution introduced in 2016 as an alternative to surf wax.
To start, let’s consider that a surf wax bar costs, on average, 3€. Our product, on it’s cheapest package (21 hexagons, for a standard small shortboard), costs 34€. That is, at least, 10 times more.
I know there are many advantages on our product when compared to wax (last longer than wax, it’s a greener solution and it will not melt or get sticky, just to name a few), but it is an expensive product.
Besides that, when our customer is buying Van der Waal, he doesn’t know if it will work or not (more about surf unpredictability here).
As in any business, our customers choose to believe that our product will fit their needs and in exchange, they give us their money. I think about it a lot of times and really care about this trade. For me, it must be a fair trade. Not fair trade in a sense of ‘improved social and environmental standards’ as explained at Wikipedia, but rather on a sense that is our customers’ money in exchange for our product.
This quote from Jose Mujica is on point as one of the most important things to keep in mind when selling something to anyone:
“When you buy something, you’re not paying money for it. You are paying with the hours of your life you had to spend earning that money.”
Aware of this, above everything else, we should really respect our customer’s money. I always feel grateful when an order drop at my mailbox, just because someone decided to give me his money in exchange for my product. This money, that could go for so many other things (wax bars, competitor products, other grip solutions, etc), it is his time working, sometimes away from his family or friends and certainly away from waves.
Thinking like this leads to a different perception of any sale, where respect and honesty surpass order value or profit. And that is the way I think things should be done, feeling gratefulness when someone buys our product and aware that he has chosen in spending his working hours with us, instead of a 10 times cheaper wax bar.
For me (for us at Van der Waal) the value proposition is not at our product offer, is in the consumer’s option to choose us. And that has to be treated very carefully, with a great sense of gratitude and huge respect.
This proof of trust has no price, and that is why I feel to owe to every Van der Waal customer every single minute of their working hours they gave us.