Today I purged my mailing list.
I had more than 7,000 names on my list. No business this small needs 7,000 names and addresses on file.
People that haven't ordered in over 5 years - you're outta here. I eliminated well over 1,000 names. Ruthlessly, fearlessly, heartlessly.
No, wait. Not heartlessly.
Anonymous names, people who ordered once or twice back in 2005 - bye, see ya, no problem. If you order again, you'll be back in my computer.
But it pained my heart to eliminate many, many names.
Names that have been on file since the mid '90s.
Names that stood out in my mind because, I dunno, maybe they sounded like someone I went to high school with.
Names of long-time customers who ordered 40, 50, 60 times over the years.
Those hurt the most.
Why hasn't she placed an order with us for so long? Did she get tired of beading, and is now knitting or rubber stamping or scrap-booking? Did she find another source that she liked better? Did arthritis cripple her fingers, making it impossible to hold a beading needle?
Or - please - no - did she die?
I confess that I've left the names and addresses of a few of my customers who have passed away, be it last year, or 15 years ago. I keep their names on file. It makes me smile when I come across these gone-but-not-forgotten customers, kind of a bittersweet tribute to their memory.
Remember this: You mean something to someone, whether you know it or not.