The Dead Pixels Society podcast

Managing personal and professional challenges, with Gillian Stein, CEO, Henry's

January 17, 2022 Gary Pageau/Gillian Stein Season 3 Episode 63
The Dead Pixels Society podcast
Managing personal and professional challenges, with Gillian Stein, CEO, Henry's
Show Notes Transcript

Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society talks with Gillian Stein, CEO of Henry's, Canada's largest photo specialty retailer. In this wide-ranging interview, Stein talks about the company's recent restructuring, the response to COVID-19, how to serve content creators, plus her personal mental health challenges, as well as the establishment of The Henry's Foundation to provide support for Canadians living with mental illness.

Proudly Canadian, family-owned, and operated, Henry's first opened its doors in 1909 and has evolved into the leading specialty digital imaging retailer in Canada. Henry's carries over 15,000 imaging-related products from all of the top brands and is the source for creators across Canada.

The Henry's Foundation is a Canadian registered charity created by the Stein Family and proudly supported by the Henry's organization. The Henry's Foundation works with a network of partners across Canada with the objective of providing much-needed funding to improve the lives of Canadians living with mental illness and remind them that they are not alone. The Foundation is driven to achieve change, both externally in our local communities and internally among our employees and their families. 

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Erin Manning  
Welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, Gary Pageau.

Gary Pageau  
The Dead Pixels Society podcast is brought to you by Mediaclip, Photo Finale and Advertek Printing. Hello again and welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast. I'm your host, Gary Pageau. And today we're joined by Gillian Stein, the CEO of long time, Canadian photographic institution Henry's based in Toronto, Canada. Hi, Gillian, how are you today?

Gillian Stein  
I'm good. Thanks for having me, Gary.

Gary Pageau  
So the Stein name attached to Henry's is like peanut butter and jelly. What generation of the family are you in relation to this company that was formed in 1909.

Gillian Stein  
That is the best description I've ever heard of our family business. I'm the fourth generation, it was my great grandfather that started.

Gary Pageau  
Okay, and tell me a little bit about the foundation of the company. For those who aren't familiar with Henry's

Gillian Stein  
well, so Henry's is the largest Specialty Imaging retailer in Canada. As you said, we're, we were founded in 1909. So we're 112 13 years old, I've lost my map at this point, family owned and operated throughout that entire time. i We started off actually as a jewelry store. That's my great grandfather was a gemologist and watches and then through the evolution of time got into photography in the late 50s. And again, today, we're purely in that digital imaging space, we've got 22 locations, post posts across Canada, in addition to Henry, and a commercial b2b division. And what makes us very unique is the breadth and depth of the product that we have for photographers, videographers and digital creators and our exceptionally knowledgeable and passionate employees. So the customer experience that you have in a Henry store or on Henry's dot com, is unlike I would say any other camera store I've ever been to. That's what makes us very unique.

Gary Pageau  
And you are probably in terms of outlet numbers, the largest chain in North America.

Gillian Stein  
Yes, yes. There's nobody else who has a number of stores or the reach and national reach. There's a lot of sort of smaller regional players and independents, but nobody that has our scale, which I would say also is something that it makes that puts us in a unique position.

Gary Pageau  
So how would you describe if I were to walk into Henry's store? Is it more hard goods? Is it more finishing? Is it more enthusiasts? Is it more mom tog refer? Or does that depend on where it's at across the country,

Gillian Stein  
I think you're gonna get a fairly similar experience. across every location, we want that consistency, there's obviously our some of our flagship stores in the bigger cities that might have a little bit more variety, you still have access to all the same product, we really like to say that we serve the meeting middle. So we're not we've never really gone after the the low entry. Right? So if you're, I mean, shoot is a little bit of a doesn't really exist anymore. But when did you know we wouldn't, we wouldn't specialize in that very entry level point and shoot, but we've also never done sort of really high end Pro or brought we love the enthusiast, the amateur, the hobbyist, the would you do professionals just, again, not at that broadcast level. So it's a nice section of the market. But that isn't really served

Gary Pageau  
again, as a more hardgoods. I mean, I was got the feeling that the Henry's was really more of a hard, good retirement, obviously, you had labs, you've got online finishing. But you're the gearhead store.

Gillian Stein  
We are a gearhead store, they were changing that over time as the market changes. So it's no question there's a ton of there's a ton of hardware, accessories are really, really, really important though, to the business. So it's not just about selling box by box. It's about what are all the other things you need. So that your camera you know, or whichever tool you're using, does does what you want it to do. So whether that's filters or bags, or you know, now there's we're doing a lot of audio now, because a lot of our customers do video and and podcasting actually has become really popular. And services are important. So we're actually doing more photofinishing now than we ever have in history, which is actually kind of hilarious. When we look at where the industry has gone, and we're building more services. So education has been important. There's lots of other things that creators need, other than hardware, and that's where we try to spend.

Gary Pageau  
So I mean, have you got into some of the smartphone accessories too, because I know there's a ton of those things like, which I think a lot of photo retailers they kind of play with, but they don't really treat it like a category. It's almost like we're gonna throw up some filters we're gonna put some selfie sticks up there and, you know, and really worry about DSLRs and mirrorless.

Gillian Stein  
So we are, I would say one of our biggest pushes right now is on content creation. And so that can start with your smartphone, it can obviously go all the way up and in blue, you know, professional equipment, DSLR, mirrorless, whatever you want. But we think it's really important that we embrace that customer who's just getting into the space. And I think something that's important is that we look at, or at least, we're all trying to wrap our heads around this definitely big change. And all of us is that the phone is not less than camera. It's just, it's a different media a different, right. And we need to accept that, and service that. And so that's where we're putting a lot of effort. Because it's also, I mean, you may stay on your phone, but you also might upgrade, you know, you all people get sort of to a certain point where you hit your limit with the phone. And then what do you do next, we want to make sure that we help those customers along. And they're part of our ecosystem.

Gary Pageau  
There's also action cameras, there's also drones, I mean, really, the the portfolio of devices for a content creator, are really amazing, because they can use all of those, and won't just use one.

Gillian Stein  
Yeah, and I think something that we embraced a long time ago, this is when we went from analog to digital, I think is very relevant today. And was a big part of our success back then, is about being device agnostic, or platform agnostic. So however you want to create, and not get tied up in the specifics of it.

Gary Pageau  
So how you services helped you create this dynasty, when Where did that start? Does that kind of go back to the even the jewelry roots? Because you know, when you're buying a piece of jewelry, there's a lot of discussion that happens. Do you think it goes back that far? Or is this more of a recent thing,

Gillian Stein  
you know, I've never thought about it in terms of the jewelry, although it's funny. Today, we often compare ourselves to a jewelry store. But I think it definitely goes all the way back, I think just something that's always been important to us has been relationships. And so I almost think it doesn't really matter what you're selling, if you're building a strong relationship, and that's whether that's with the customer or with the vendor. And I think both are equally important. And that's what helped me survive in the long run, creating that loyal customer base, making sure the relationships with the vendors also are strong. So you're getting the best allocation and best promotional support and all of those things. So I'd say that was just something that was always in whether it's my great grandfather, my grandfather passed on definitely my father, who is excellent at building relationships. And that's been ingrained in the business.

Gary Pageau  
It is interesting is when I talk to us dealers, they're all there's almost like a love hate relationship with the vendors who don't seem to treat the category of specialty retail as vital to their future because they've got several big online players. They've got Best Buy they've got everyone else is a different in Canada because you don't have a b&h up there, per se. I mean, obviously b&h ships there. I mean, you have to watch what they're doing, obviously. But do you think your relationship with Canadian vendors is different than it are just kidding? are Canadians just nicer?

Gillian Stein  
Of course, Canadian. That's what we're known for. I would say the Canadian market is definitely different in the sense that specialty has a larger share of the market and always has. So there's definitely different than how the Canadian shot versus I mean, I would say the direct comparison, we make it to the US, especially because our manufacturers are serving all of North America. So the Canadian market is unique. But then this is also where Henry's position in our size is also what helps because in Canada, we're the same size with flip back and forth between who's number one and number two, but we're the same in terms of dollars sold. That's so we do have that scale, that allows us to have those build strong relationships. And of course, because we are specialty and we have that scale, we're driving the size of the specialty market in the country. But I'd say in general, Canada has a bigger specialty market and in any business, then, you know, the records. I'm

Gary Pageau  
so in the last year, Henry's been in the news, because there's been a restructuring and to close some stores. Can you talk a little bit about what led up to that and what happened and how the Stein family managed to still run the show?

Gillian Stein  
Yeah, so I mean, obviously, you know, everybody knows what's been happening for the last 18 months around the world and

Gary Pageau  
and really, what's what's been going on.

Gillian Stein  
There's been the pandemic, gang haven't heard about it, it's really, really unfortunate, many ways. It's been particularly hard obviously on. And I think it's important the context of within Canada is Canada's response to COVID has probably been one of the most restrictive in the world. So we have been either in complete lockdown, or with significant restrictions to mobility for the better part of 18 months. And obviously, that has a big impact on on the business and, and there's no, no business can flip on a dime from you know, where 80% of our sales were coming from coming from brick and mortar. Right. And so while our EComm was, you know, do tripling and whatever it was doing fantastic sales, to, to make up for another 80% is, it's impossible for that to happen. So what I think what we did, when we looked at it and sort of realized, for the first few weeks, we thought, well, this is this is temporary, right, we're just gonna be closed for a little bit. And then normal,

Gary Pageau  
right? I think a lot of people went with, you know, 15 days to slow the spread, and, you know, kind of sit down for a couple weeks and sort through our photos making maybe make a photo book or something, watch some movies, and this thing's gonna pass over. And clearly, 18 months later, we're up to several variants on the Greek alphabet, and things have not gone back to normal quite yet.

Gillian Stein  
Within, I'd say, three to four weeks, we felt that this wasn't going to be short. And there was not a lot of clarity coming from our government in terms of what sort of support was going to exist from landlords how they were going to respond. And we, in general, I'm always a believer in the proactive, and if you can control the situation, then it will unfold the way you want it as opposed to waiting and letting something happen to you. We decided that we needed to move quickly, so that we could restructure the business so that we would be able to weather the impact. And so essentially, what we did is I called providing a Notice of Intent, making causal and in the Canadian thunder, the business insolvency act in Canada, and essentially what that just did was that bought ourselves to say we need some space to figure out what we're going to do, how we're going to get through this.

Gary Pageau  
So under so under that timeframe, what happened to do not have to pay your bills? What does that mean?

Gillian Stein  
Yeah, so it's creditor protection. So there's still certain things that you have to pay the government make sure you keep up with payroll and certain things you have to do.

Gary Pageau  
Taxes, I'm sure as

Gillian Stein  
always, oh, but it gives you some breathing room. Right? With your partners, right. And with landlords and things like that. So it gave us time. And within I mean, we actually did this very fast. So within three months, we actually went through the entire process, restructured the business, our family was very committed to the business. So a lot of people at this time sort of question was was is this just a way to get out of the business, but we felt very strongly that we have an exceptional business, strong, brand, loyal customer base. And that's something that you don't just walk away from. So we were very committed to the business, and we were able to stay in control. And within three months, we were out. And I'd say, exceptionally fast. And not only did we go through all this in three months, but we did the same thing. So we went through all of this, and by August of that year, we were technically a new company still go under?

Gary Pageau  
Yeah. Tell me a little bit about that. Because it's you did a new holding company or something? Is that what happened? Or?

Gillian Stein  
Yeah, so the company used to be called Crankbrook Glen Enterprises that so that's always been our operating or sorry, our

Gary Pageau  
business has kind of, 

Gillian Stein  
and we operate at Henry's and that company, did we put it that company into bankruptcy. And what we did as a family, along with that supported us was we essentially purchased the company out of sure I would have this process. So it's a new company, but it still has the same owners. And again, the same, the same bank, but then with a different structure that allowed us to to operate more efficiently. And really, the key is that it allowed us to speed up a lot of what we were already planning on doing a lot of our strategy that we thought was we were going to have to do over five years, we were able to do it sort of in a much quicker timeframe. Right. So that's how that usually when that happens,

Gary Pageau  
you know you got your banking manufacturers are generally on the hook for the liabilities. How did you maintain those relationships? Because obviously, they're not doing great during a pandemic either. Right? So that must have been a real challenge from a personal standpoint. They have to buy into the new company, right? They have to continue to say, Hey, listen, we may have to take a hit here, but we want to continue to work with you. Yeah.

Gillian Stein  
So obviously that factored in a lot into the decision as to whether we were going to do this. And this is where the, that 100 years of relationship building really comes in handy. So we have, again, those really close relationships, strong partnerships with the manufacturers, and we had lots of discussions and what was important was, we're all obviously we're all struggling at that time, because of the fact that the retailer at this point is holding the inventory. We were the ones at the end of the line. And so we were holding the bag, I would say, I guess, at that point. And so there was almost a, I guess, a conversation of we're going to share this pain to a certain extent, and but the long term is that you will have a healthy company to do business with in future, right. So it's, there's gonna be some short term pain, and there was for everything, right, we all felt it. But if we do this, then we can still do business next year. And the year after that in the year after that, we don't guess we don't know. And then, and that, again, with our size and skill would have had a really big impact on the Canadian digital imaging industry market itself would have would have changed. And so, you know, they need they need customers to sell to.

Gary Pageau  
Yeah, I mean, one of the challenges, you run into something like that, when you have a leader who who implodes, like we had that in, in the US here with Ritz camera, it's not necessarily guaranteed that, that someone's gonna step in to fill that void, right. And that, you know, the category suffers that because maybe someone's interested in taking photography as a hobby, or exploring things. And then they then they don't have a local camera store to go to that impacts everybody, the vendors, the suppliers, the associates, the people who would be benefiting from photography as a, as a creative outlet, or as a way as a side hustle as a gig, you know, then they're buying everything online, which again, that's great. And I'm sure you know, you sell online, everyone does. It's not nothing against it. But there is something valuable about having that in store experience, to create value in the category.

Gillian Stein  
Absolutely. The industry needs need that connection. And online is good for certain things. But it doesn't build, it doesn't build the industry, and it doesn't build the category. Speaking of

Gary Pageau  
building things, you took the unusual step of launching a foundation during this, can you tell us a little bit about the Henry's Foundation was not a smooth transition? Very good, and what its objectives are and where that idea came from.

Gillian Stein  
So the foundation is something that the whole sign family is behind. And it's actually run the executive director of it as my sister, Amy Stein, she leads that on a day to day basis. And yeah, we launched it that who would have known, we launched it in March 2020. So obviously, when the lunch date was picked, we didn't quite realize it, but we remained very committed to doing it a lot, partly because the, the, I guess I should step back, the Henry's Henry's foundation is in support of mental health. And so we are working with a variety of organizations across Canada to support the mental health of Canadians. And so given what was going on in the world at the time, we felt that, even though it was a strange time to launch a foundation, it was an even more important time to do it. So that's been running now for I guess, 18 months to two years. And I really do have to give Amy a ton of credit for she's been pushing this really up a hill for the last for the last while to get it going. It's something that's really important, as I said to my whole family. And this is because we have all struggled within our family from mental illness. It's something that's very close to our heart. And it's also really important for our employees and for our community. So we want to make sure that we are supporting our employees, no different than any other organization. Mental Health was really, really top of mind for everyone. And we think there's a very important connection between mental health and creativity. And that connection there between who our community is the tools, you know, we may sell a hammer, but really it's a tool to support creativity and expression. I think one of the great sort of things that we've started is This campaign called uncaptured moments, and it's so hashtag uncaptured moments, but it's essentially, you know, share the moments that aren't those perfect moments on social media that everybody shares, right, share the real moments in your life. And that's

Gary Pageau  
why we filter the highly doctored perfect angle. Exactly. Pictures.

Gillian Stein  
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

Gary Pageau  
I mean, you know, it's interesting, you said, because there's a lot of discussion about the role of those types of images affecting people's mental health, especially young girls, you know, there's some, there are some recent revelations that Facebook knows this is going on, and keeps it going. Anyway, he saw there. So there is sort of a connected connection, though, between using photography to help with my blog, there's been a lot of charities that have dealt with that. Yeah. In the case of Henry's is it directly photography is or is it other creative pursuits, like, music or anything like that?

Gillian Stein  
I guess at this point, I say, it's, it's anything related to imaging, or, you know, I mean, we connect, we try to connect it with our customer page, for sure. feels more natural that way. But obviously, in terms of the organizations we support, they support a broad range. So it's not just creativity, that's just sort of where there's been more of a natural connection.

Gary Pageau  
So what does a foundation do? Great

Gillian Stein  
question, a foundation or our foundation, I would say, because I think there's variations. That's fundraising. So we, we do fundraising, both in our store and sort of just in the, in the broader community. And then we pass those funds on to our partners. So in Canada, we work with CAMH, we work with its help phone jack.org and a number of other regional organizations. But then we also are the we are working on developing some of our own programs that are uncaptured moments comes in other types of education, Photowalks, things like that, that we can start to do that, again, just create opportunities for discussion for community building around that space.

Gary Pageau  
Okay, you've got a personal connection to the Henry's mission. And you, you do want to come and talk about that. So can you share a little bit about your personal challenges regarding mental health?

Gillian Stein  
Yes, so I have bipolar disorder. And that's something that up until last week, has been something that I'm very, I wouldn't say secretive, but has been just very personal. And something that I would only share with closest friends and family, and really on only on an as needed basis. Right. And this is actually ties to why we started the foundation was, we had a close colleague, family friend whose wife died by suicide, this was about three years ago. And I just remember sitting at the funeral, and the family, nobody, you know, talked about how this individual passes away. And you could just see the struggle in No, there was kids, and all I could think of is how are they going to recover from this. And could have this have been avoided if the family could have been more. Right. And I remember sitting with my family afterwards, and I just felt, and I remember saying that, you know, we don't talk about this, I don't talk about it, I'm perpetuating this. And that was sort of the moment for me where I said, I need to start telling people and I as a CEO of a, you know, a fairly, you know, decent sized organization. And we've got a, you know, a well known brand. And I've got the platform where I can do that. And so for me it was to be able to say, Yes, I have bipolar disorder. I struggle with mental illness, but I also live a very fulfilling life. So I'm successful. I'm a mother, I've got two beautiful children. And I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say that every day is fabulous, but it isn't for anybody. But you can if you get the support, and if you talk about it, and I was lucky because I had a very supportive family. And we talked about it when when I was young. And so as soon as I had any sort of symptoms, we were able to address it. And so I think that's such an important lesson and I want to be able to share that with people that that get the help you need. You can live a wonderful life.

Gary Pageau  
That's that's the question. I was gonna ask how one would When were you diagnosed with with bipolar disorder.

Gillian Stein  
I was around each 19 years old when I was diagnosed,

Gary Pageau  
which is a rough time for everybody, right? I mean, you're going through a lot. And I mean, because your families that was sensitive to it, do you think you had a better experience than others? Because they didn't just write it off as Oh, she's just going through a crazy teenage phase.

Gillian Stein  
That's exactly it. So there was no question. There was a point where no, is this just me being a teenager. And but I then had, I had a very, very jarring experience where I was in the airport in Montreal, and I was convinced that I was in Arizona, and I was arguing with the staff at the airport, they wouldn't give me a schedule, from Phoenix to Tucson, and I couldn't understand why. And it was it was this, this clearly bigger than just, this was not just teenage, high and low.

Gary Pageau  
Like you were just confused. You, you were had a big deal. And that

Gillian Stein  
was the moment. And I remember, so I was on my own. I was living in Montreal at the time with my first year of university, and I called my mom. And I said, I need help. And she was on the plane the next day. And, and that's how it started. But my family's very sensitive to it. So there was always this, you know, undertone, if something wasn't right, they would dig it.

Gary Pageau  
Then after graduation, did you start immediately in the family business? Or did you do something else? And then come into the business? Yeah, no,

Gillian Stein  
I actually never thought I was going to work in the family.

Gary Pageau  
A lot of family people who say, I'm not gonna hop cameras for a living, oh, my goodness,

Gillian Stein  
well, growing up in it, it was it was I watched my dad work exceptionally hard. And not that I have a fear of hard work. But working in retail is really hard. And at that time, you know, he worked seven days, sorry, six days a week. And the only reason why it wasn't seven was because stores had to be closed on Sunday. So that was the only saving grace that we had. So he worked really hard. And, and I it just wasn't, it wasn't appealing. So I had no intention of joining, I went and did a I had a totally different career path. I worked with international development. And but one of the things that I sort of learned after I had built my own career was that I can really get behind anything, as long as I'm passionate about it. And so then that connection, sort of the business that I you know, I lead orange, right. And so the connection that I had to the business was was just felt like that was it was calling me back. And I had had enough experience outside that I felt, which was not in retail, that I actually felt was very relevant and could really help and add value to the business. So I chose to come back. But that wasn't that was in 2009. You know, it's

Gary Pageau  
interesting, because that's advice I always hear people say is, if you're coming, if you're if you're in the family business, go do something else. And then decide if you want to come back though is don't expect to have it handed to you on a plate that because you're the son or the daughter of the family that owns a business, you're automatically going to be given the the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. And Claire, that's what happened to your case, I'm new, you're obviously very intelligent, and you've capable and you could probably do anything, you probably be Prime Minister, but you chose to run a camera store.

Gillian Stein  
I mean, now that you put that out there.

Gary Pageau  
So I just find it interesting that you came back now, do you have any brothers or sisters? Do you have a sister? Do you have any other one? And was there anyone anyone else involved directly in the business? Or were you just like, Jillian? She's a CEO in the making?

Unknown Speaker  
No, sorry. There's nobody else. There's nobody else that's in the business. I guess I just as I was working in the business, I started to see opportunities and really started to build a vision of what I thought business could do. And I actually didn't think that it was, it should be me, I just thought this is what the business should do. And whoever leaves this business, this is where they should take it. And then sort of through that process, eventually we sort of got to a point where it's like, this is your vision. Maybe you should do it.

Gary Pageau  
When you came back. Where did you start? Did you like work the counter? Or were you is just in the corporate headquarters? Or where did that? Where did you come back? What level did you come back at?

Unknown Speaker  
Well, so I just, I mean, I have worked, I've worked the cash, I've worked the floor, I've done all those things as I've grown up, I wouldn't ever call myself a salesperson. Like I sometimes I get corrected on that because technically i i, i do sales, but I'm I wouldn't be good on the floor. Like, that's not my strength. So when I came back, I had had a lot of experience as a project manager. And so what I actually came back and did was project management, which is actually not a very common thing that you'd have in a retail business, right? It's probably probably more

Gary Pageau  
common now with all the activities and things are getting But at the time 2009, that was relatively new.

Unknown Speaker  
Yeah. And so what I came in and said I'd like to do is I'd like to take a guess a more strategic look at some of the things that we do the activities are these, how are they being run? Are they efficient? Are they the right activities? Are they adding value and really understand them? Ross cross the business as opposed to traditionally everything operated in silos, as I said, right, any traditional retailer, that's how you work. And so that gave me a really great vantage point to how the business was working. And where there were those opportunities. So it was a, it was a unique role. And then that led to me being been much more involved in strategy again, and then that was been a much more natural progression.

Gary Pageau  
And through this entire period, you're in treatment. I mean, you're you're you're being you've had your you've had to deal with your mental illness.

Unknown Speaker  
Yep. And that's why I say that that's my life. But everybody has something that they're dealing. Right. Right. And I would say that, you know, I've, I put a lot of effort into managing my mental health, so that I'm proactive about it. So that it's not something that I'm struggling with sort of on a daily basis. I'm very tuned in Malawi, to make sure that at the slightest sort of change in mood that I'm, I'm on top of it, so that I don't think I've felt, obviously, when I was younger, and this was new. But as I've gotten older, I don't feel like it's something that hinders me, throughout, it's always

Gary Pageau  
back behind your it's always backwards, right? Of course,

Gillian Stein  
but so are other things. Right?

Gary Pageau  
As we move through 2022, what do you see as the near term challenges for Henry's going forward?

Gillian Stein  
Well, I mean, we're all I'm sure, no matter where you are listening in the world, in the same boat right now, I shouldn't be term boat. But supply chain is, is, is the biggest hurdle. And, you know, we're coming out, it's sort of, you know, actually, I shouldn't say I don't know where we'll, by the time, we're listening to this, where we'll have landed on on the newest variant, or COVID. But in general, the world has felt like it's been opening up. But yet at the same time, we then have this supply chain challenge. And so that's been particularly hard, I'd say on twofold. One is customers are ready to buy. So for the first time, in a long time, we have this nice increase in demand. But we don't have, we don't have product. So that's hard. But then the other part I would add to that makes it sort of doubles, it is that I I feel then there's a real lack of voice from the industry. So our manufacturers aren't, they're not advertising, they're not promoting. So the industry as a whole is just very quiet. And so I think that anybody be isn't that sort of hardcore enthusiast or professional, easier to forget that this category exists. And so especially, you know, we're talking right now just leading up to the holidays. And so you know, everybody's fighting for share of wallet. But it's really hard to fight for that share of wallet, there isn't a large voice behind you. And I that's really, really does have to come from the manufacturers. So I think that's so that's something and we're going to be feeling that for a long time. I mean,

Gary Pageau  
put on their hat. They're saying, Why would I promote the new Nikon Z nine if I can't even make them?

Gillian Stein  
100%? I can't disagree. Right, I understand it. But there's also a short term view here. And I think the fear of what what happens when you do that we pull back, is when you then are ready to sell something and your supply comes in. And you've got the next greatest camera. Is that market still there? Are they listening? And so that's, that is always a concern. And we have that debate all the time over like there's a long term view here, and especially with our category has been under pressure for so long, that taking your foot off the gas has a real a real long. That's

Gary Pageau  
always one of the things I always talk to people about when it turns a promotion because they seemed like many factors seem to build around product releases. Right? And nuts. And whereas a retailer or service provider, yeah, they're they're seasonal times, obviously. Right? Everyone's doing a lot of promotional now. But you also have to keep that top of mind, presence in front of the consumer all the time. And it seems like that there's a big disconnect between manufacturers, who just assume everyone knows their brand and they have to push product and a retail are a service provider who realizes I'm competing against all these other categories. Yeah, I have to be the one they think of when they're ready to buy.

Gillian Stein  
Yep, that is that is true. That is true. So I would say then, on that, as opposed to necessarily challenge, I'd say an opportunity for us. And what we're really working on, is how do we provide more services to our community that isn't necessarily dependent on hardware. And so we're actually moving, we've got a ventures division. And so we're moving into sort of digital platform where we can service creators, no matter where you are in the world, and what are the tools and services that you might need? And it can be anything? Again, going back to that hardware agnostic? What else do you How else can we serve you and this idea of, we're really trying to build, you know, this, this camera club and how do we become the biggest camera club in the world as opposed to just a retailer that sells somebody else?

Gary Pageau  
So everyone knows where to find information about Henry's because it's Henry's dot com? Where would someone go to find information about the foundation?

Gillian Stein  
Henrysfoundation.com 

Gary Pageau  
Well, you kept that easy?

Gillian Stein  
Yeah.

Gary Pageau  
Well, thank you, Gillian, for your time and best wishes on your restructuring the company and the future growth and the foundation and a great 2022

Gillian Stein  
Thank you, Gary, thank you very much for having me.

Erin Manning  
Thank you for listening to the Dead Pixes Society podcast. Three more great stories and sign up for the newsletter at www the dead pixels society.com

Transcribed by https://otter.ai