Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

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    p:| 360.222.6820
    c:| 425.351.7531

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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    5-19-16 What’s special or unique about your business?

    This is one of my favorite questions when I am talking to a business about marketing.  I just came back from a few days in Walla Walla touring wine tasting rooms and wineries.  And I asked this question at each place we visited.  And, I got different answers from each place. 

    In the City of Walla Walla there are 37 wine tasting rooms, and in the greater Walla Walla area, there are 170 wineries.  Of course, there are hundreds of wineries in Central Washington.

    I’ll be writing more about my experiences on Whidbey Local in the next few weeks, but for now, I’ll just say that wine is probably one of the best examples of different businesses each finding different ways to describe their product or something about their winery that is special.

    What makes you unique may be the product itself, or it can be the kind of special attention you give to each of your customers.  It can be the way you stand behind what you’re selling. 

    If you’re not sure how to describe these special qualities, ask your friends and current customers.  If people are satisfied with what you’re selling, they can also give you their reasons….and these can become part of your message to attract more customers.


    5-12-16 Hearts & Hammers on Whidbey Island: Businesses give back to the community

    In a small community like South Whidbey, you notice how much the local business people donate to the local non-profits and help out in many other ways. 

    Last Saturday, May 7th, was the annual Hearts & Hammers event.  Rich and I have participated in this wonderful community program for several years.  The concept of having large numbers of people come together on a single day to help elderly or low-income people with home repairs so they can comfortably stay in their homes has become a template being used in many other communities.

    This year nearly 400 volunteers participated and 34 homeowners were helped.  Many, like my husband and I, simply show up and do what we can to help.  But, there are also many skilled crafts people who donate their skills, as well, like the two master carpenters who were on my team.  Electricians, plumbers, roofers and other skilled people who have their own businesses, participate.  Many of the large commercial businesses in the community offer special prices for materials needed for the projects.

    When you see businesses giving back to the community, it certainly makes you want to do business with them whenever you can.


    5-5-16 Collaboration works again: Two high school students working with the Whidbey Children’s Theater brought theater back to the school

    Chloe Hood and Kari Hustad are 17-year old juniors at South Whidbey High School (SWHS) with a love of theater. Both have been involved with the Whidbey Children’s Theater for several years. 

    For many years, South Whidbey High School had an active theater program led by Mike McInerney. He directed the last production there, the musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 2009. When McInerney retired, the theater program ended. 

    Chloe and Kari started the Drama Club at South Whidbey High School in the school year 2014/2015.  In the Fall of 2015 they came to WCT to discuss the potential of collaborating to create a high school production. The two students led the way, with the support and guidance of staff at WCT.

    The result of this collaboration was a terrific production of “Almost, Maine,” which drew rave reviews from all who saw it.  The girls are planning to work with WCT again in the fall to produce a musical at the high school.

    For more of the story, read the article in Whidbey Local


    4-28-16 What is special or unique about your business?

    If you don’t have a good answer for this question, it’s a lot harder to create a marketing plan for your business that really draws in customers.

    When I do my Business Spotlight stories for Whidbey Local, I always ask three questions: 1) How did you come to be on Whidbey; 2) Why did you start your business here?) and 3) What’s special or unique about your business? 

    Some businesses are unique because there may be no one in the area selling what you have.  In that case, you have to be able to do a good job explaining what you have and why someone needs it.  And, you still have to offer good customer service so that people will come back and/or spread the word to others.

    Most businesses are selling a product or service that others are selling.  Are you a massage therapist?  Lots of people provide massages.  Are you selling clothing?  Lots of people sell clothing.  Are you a restaurant or café?  Lots of people have a food service business.

    So, it’s very important to ask yourself,  “What is special or unique about what you offer?”  It’s best to laundry-list as much as you can and really think about what is different about what you provide.  Sometimes, the product may not be special, but the service certainly can be.

    Once you have defined all of the things that make your product or service special, you’ll have a much better concept of how to market yourself.

    *Note: If you have a story you would like me to tell in the Business Spotlight, please contact me.  I’m always looking for new stories.



    4-21-17 A smile is contagious and good for business

    Shawn Achor has become one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. He is the CEO of Good Think Inc. ( where he researches and teaches about positive psychology.

    One of the concepts he discusses is how a smile is contagious (I think I remember being told this when I was a child).  It turns out that when you smile, it creates changes in your brain (all positive).  When you smile at someone else, whether they smile back at your or not, their brain replicates the same responses your brain is having, using “mirror neurons”.

    If your business involves face-to-face meetings with your customers, a smile will definitely make someone more interested in doing business with you. Smiling more will actually make you feel happier. Actually, this is a great practice for everyone that you see, whether they’re customers or not.

    Just ask yourself: Wouldn’t you rather do business with someone whose presence makes you feel good?