I was in Restoration Hardware looking for a couch. The store, new at the time, was a guilty pleasure. A shrewd collection of objects I knew I should've picked up at one dingy hole in the wall or another. Stock a million gadgets I missed somewhere else, price them astronomically, and then tell me in clever copy why I shouldn't have passed them up the first time.
It occurred to me on the way out that my grills might fit well in their array of eclectic cooking tools.
I was fresh off a year of working with Whole Foods. To their credit I'd found each store, and above them each region, exceedingly autonomous, geared to finding and forming quick partnerships with local producers. I'd simply called the stores I was interested in and they were generally happy to do co-promotions that displayed their food on my grills. It got me wondering if this edgy retailer might be as easy to work with. I approached the clerk.
"Who would I talk to about Restoration Hardware carrying my grills?"
She told me that I'd have to talk to Corporate. As she scrawled the 800 number down for me she asked why I thought they'd be a good fit at Restoration Hardware. I told her that they're handmade, tactile, and unusual-looking, like many of the tools that Restoration chooses to carry. I handed her a brochure. While she looked at it I told her that they are designed for natural wood fuel. She stiffened and put the brochure down, then glared at me through trendy horn-rimmed glasses.