"Somerset has so many leather handbag factories it must be very difficult for you because" ....... wait for it .... "You must all be very similar, making the same kind of thing ?"
Bloody hell, how I kept it together and didn't just punch her there and then is a point of pride in itself.
But to be honest the remark completely shocked me, only briefly, but talk about unexpected, that was one I had never ever heard before, hopefully I very quickly lifted my bottom jaw off the floor, regained my composure and started to point out the differences.
I would like to say, that in hindsight, I felt I did a very good job in doing this in a positive way for all us Somerset factories, because whilst normally I would have just been selling Owen Barry, her dismissal of us all en masse found me trying to point out the differences but also strongly defending my Somerset peers.
At that particular point where the reputation of the combined skill, quality and variety of Somerset leather manufacturers is being dismissed as "all the same" it was more important to defend our individuality and capabilities than just selling OB.
Sadly I think this is where the appointment went "goose over stumps, frog side" (Blackadder - Gooodbyeee c.1989) because - I lost my mojo, and whilst I wanted to point out all the nuances she wanted to move on - very important lady.
As you can tell, this incident has been bothering me somewhat- and I now feel enough time has passed for me to blog about it, without being "found out".
Seriously, how could anybody possibly think that Owen Barry handbags were the same as Mulberry, Pittards et al??
I need to tell the world - well UK customers at least, why we are very unique, so here is my list:-
Made in Somerset - okay not unique
Manufacturing leather goods for 70 years (hmmm Clarks shoes longer time but sadly, not made in Britain any more, Pittards tanning but not manufacturing) half a point ?
Bespoke service - 80 + skins that you can commission - at no extra cost. Tick.
Fantastic friendly customer service and factory tours. Tick
Great value for money - always in the eye of the beholder, but I think worth the Tick when stated in conjunction with the last doosy.
Here it comes ......
Full lifetime repair or replacement guarantee. TICK.
Of course, there are many other things like the British and European skins & trimmings, sourcing services and sundries in the West Country, eco provenance etc - that whilst great, I cannot be sure are unique to Owen Barry.
But still an impressive list - off the cuff, if you can think of anything else that I have forgotten please let me know.
Phew, - rant over.
So, there you are Mrs, OB are unique in many ways and as good as our peers might be - we are much better.
I tell you something else, never bother to pay for therapy, just start a blog - marvellous way of getting it off your chest.
P.s. Sadly, NO, I never got the order, can't win 'em all.