Since winter is indisputably on its way, I’ve been trying to replace an old, rotten window with something more wind-proof. That’s meant calling round double glazing companies, which is an prospect up there with researching bin liners or second-hand cars in terms of creative thrill.
But I learned something important about creativity.
Company 1 was the big brand name, a big-budget website plastered with guarantees and proclamations and discounts. It had easy-to-organise quotes, and should be a safe bet, I thought. It’s only a window, and I want to know it’s going to be reliable.
The man turned up, since they wouldn’t give me an idea of price over the phone. (50 minutes late). We’d agreed I wasn’t going to be there, but someone else would let him in to measure up. Later that day I got a rushed phone message asking me if I wanted to go ahead, without even leaving a phone number to call back on. Two days later – after I’ve chased them twice – I got a call from customer services to check I was happy with the service. (Oh yes, I told them what I thought).
So I got onto Company 2: the small, independent company. With a slightly, old-fashioned website, but look! Here’s a 70s-faded picture of the founder’s kids, who are now running it. It had lots of information on how they make their windows, and recommendations from an independent association I trust. And a phone number, answered by a helpful man who took all my details, said he’d call back in five minutes and called back in two with a price. A price that’s 50% lower than the big name. He even wanted his expert fitter to pop in – today! – to take exact measurements before they’d take a deposit. How quickly could they do it? ‘It’s normally a few weeks, but since this is small, I’m sure we can fit it in earlier’.
I’m going with Company no. 2, and would have done even if the price was the same (or more, even).
Because no 2 felt like creators. They felt proud of their work and their people. They’re proud of what they do and how they do it. And that means I trust them.
Being creative isn’t about producing fine art or unique work. It’s not about being cheaper, or more expensive, not about being glossier or more vintage. It’s not about having a big name or a big budget.
It’s about being in the moment – creating relationships, solving problems, working with joy. It’s about making life a little bit better for everyone.
You don’t need to be anything. You just need to be responsive, creative, connected. If a double glazing company can do it, how much more could you do?