Karen Flavelle’s journey at Purdys

4/27/2015   By: Claire Booth

Karen Flavelle, CEO of Purdys, shared her knowledge with the FWE last Tuesday; where she spoke about the unique challenges and opportunities of running a multi-generational family business.

Purdy’s has been a household name in Western Canada for over a hundred year, its history is rich, and as the second-generation owner, Flavelle’s passion for quality has been key to the re-invigoration and expansion of the iconic brand. In fact, Flavelle does not credit herself for Purdy’s success; she puts it down to the companies’ culture, philosophy and values.

“We don’t sell chocolates, we sell memories” says Flavelle, who claims to garner customer loyalty through Purdys compelling story. Storytelling is a powerful technique for building relationships, and Flavelle understands that an effectual chocolatier brings people together and keeps them engaged. Brand storytelling is not solely about a company, and Purdys knows exactly this, extending their contributions through philanthropic and social engagement.

“It should be all about your customers and ensuring you are there at the milestones in their lives,” says Flavelle. To stand out from the competition, brands have to be remarkable, notable and memorable. Contrary to popular belief, brands must put their audiences’ needs and goals ahead of their own; by bringing value to their customer’s lives, and helping them find happiness.

With advice as wholesome as Flavelle’s, it’s no wonder Purdys continues to thrive and has been recognized as one of Canada’s 50 Best Employers, four times since 2002. The subsequent lessons, taken from Flavelle’s talk, validate the importance of expressing gratitude, being passionate and building an affirmative culture. The following takeaways have been fundamental to Purdys and Flavelle’s success story:

1. Communicate the importance of a work-life balance.  Find a way to say no and leave the office without feeling guilty.
2. Be passionate. You are going to be working for a long time, ensure you love your work.
3. Continue to evolve to stay relevant, and ensure consistency across all platforms.
4. Appreciate people, especially your colleagues and express gratitude.
5. Build a distinctive culture. For Purdys it is being caring, nurturing and a part of the local community.
6. Listen to younger generations, they are innovative and can teach you important lessons.
7. Change is continuous. Be flexible.
8. Stand out, and find your niche.