myBurbank.com last saw Rags Madison of RentaButler/Burbank as he was helping at a charity event pampering VIP’s and welcoming guests in his classy butler style. Imagine our surprise when visiting Magnolia Boulevard on a hot mid-August Saturday and watching as he swept up debris and swept into a local shop all passer’s by with a sing-song jingle he created just for that store and a pleasant but hard-to-resist pied piper banter.
“It’s all about sales, of course, and the numbers,” he stated. “If a shop watches helplessly as shopper after shopper walks by without entering a store then why is that shop paying for a store-front brick-and-mortar or even bothering with window displays?”
Rags Madison used to own an advertising agency in Seattle as well as co-owning a women’s shop in La Jolla during the 1990’s. He clearly has ideas about what makes people buy retail and what makes people enter a store.
“Shops need to engage customers and let them know they are valued by the shop. When customers don’t enter a store many shops blame customers. They think they are challenged by bad location, or, are tired of being told their window displays aren’t compelling. I’ve even heard that some shop owners complain that the people walking in front of their store are the wrong customers.”
“Having had brick-and-mortar ownership in the past and loving it I remembered that I loved retail because the world walks in your door – they come to you.”
“I asked several stores to hire me to be a store butler but they were afraid to. So I decided to test out a theory. PlayClothes graciously allowed me to hang out in their store for a both a trunk show and a Ladies Night Out and interact with their customers. I got lots of compliments.”
“Thirty-three rooms later they hired me to help with the last six Saturday afternoons and at a couple of Ladies Night Out events we were so packed we had to close the doors. Sales were up and repeat customer’s (come-backs) spiked.”
“At the last LNO in July I noticed how many copycats we had of shops trying to provide a compelling reason for customers to stop and see what was happening inside. So I know what I do works.”
Rags will be appearing as a butler this upcoming August Ladies Night Out for the Audrey K Boutique. He is available for other stores as well. A theatrical publication is interviewing him for an article on buskering (being a street performance artist) and how he wrote his performance contract as a win-win for both the performer and the retail business. Rags hopes his business model helps other performers find alternative venues to perform and profitably interact with the public as he has.
“My contract allows stores to additionally profit on me by booking me as a butler to enchanted customers while I’m performing on their behalf selling to those customers their products. It’s like being able to take an actor home from a play you just watched.”