Thinking differently is within all of us
By rights Wigtown should barely exist. It’s a tiny little town of barely 1,000 people in the west of Scotland. The original main employers – a creamery and a distillery – closed in the 1990s and there was not much left to sustain it.
Flash forward to 2018 and, following its designation as Scotland’s book town in 1997, it’s a haven for book-lovers from all over the world.
One of its shops has created a business model that means it is not only sold until 2020 but has come to the attention from firms in South East Asia who want to take that model into international markets.
So many opportunities arise for those who are driven by passion and prepared to follow their dreams. You could not have invented this one. Nine years ago, Jessica Fox was living in Pasadena working as a story teller and media consultant for NASA. It was a great job with fantastic opportunities and the spirit of constant change and innovation was everywhere.
But it was not her dream. As with many innovators she developed the power to think differently. Every morning she placed time in her day for unstructured thinking. Creative playtime. The time to write down ideas, images, dreams – pretty much anything that came into her mind.
One of those dreams persisted for months – an image of a bookshop by the sea in Scotland and the connection to the biggest second-hand book shop in Scotland – and a completely new life – was born.
Cue a move from the heat of LA to the chill of Wigtown and residence above The Bookshop, famous for having over a mile of shelving and roughly 100,000 books.
Not content with following her dream, Jessica alighted on a very simple, innovative idea. She figured that if she had a dream of working in a bookshop by the sea then surely there must be a whole load of other people out there. She was right.
She acquired another bookshop – The Open Bookshop – then launched the opportunity for guests to pay to run it and live in the flat above for two-week stints which she marketed through AirBnB. Temporary managers are encouraged to blog about their experience, create their own events and change the window displays. For visitors and locals this is really exciting as they see new ideas, temporary offers from passionate enthusiasts all over the world happening as many as 20 times per year. Plus, they pay for the privilege. The business benefits, customers benefit, Wigtown benefits and the reputation of this tiny town goes international!
If you have a dream that nobody has ever acted upon, the chances are that there are plenty of other people out there who will be more than happy to share the same dream. You just need to find a way to get them to come to you. The cost of this marketing? Almost nothing!