The Touching Truth About Seeing, Believing, Stereotyping, and Sampling

For some reason, as humans we make snap judgments based largely on preliminary information. And our first impression becomes a lasting one. That’s why seeing, believing, and sampling are serious business. It’s like Abraham Lincoln said, “To believe in the things you can see and touch is no belief at all – but to believe in the unseen is a triumph and a blessing.”

I was running on an asphalt trail connecting an upscale suburb to the outskirts of a major city. Around mile three I started to realize that the fancy shopping centers that had dominated the initial part of my route were long gone. I was surrounded by a collection of faded apartments and rundown homes with unkempt, overgrown yards starting to show through the melting snow of the warm Spring sun. Although I had mapped out a seemingly safe course back at the hotel, I was a weekend visitor in unfamiliar territory – and I was on high alert. But there was considerable traffic and I wanted to get in a few more miles, so I kept going.

There were quite a few pedestrians, mostly middle-aged people walking their dogs. Until I came upon a young man. I debated turning around before he saw me. He was walking slowly and wearing a tattered backpack and beat-up jacket over his fast food uniform. I picked up speed so that I could pass him from behind and get it over with quickly. When he noticed me beside him, he jerked his head my way and did something completely unexpected. He yelled, “I respect what you’re doing!”

I looked back to smile and wave. He gave a nod of encouragement and a grin of admiration. That small gesture affected my perception in a big way. Not only changing my outlook for the rest of my run, but perhaps creating awareness about stereotypical snap judgments for the rest of my life.

You see – the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. That’s also the danger of a single piece of stone. It stereotypes a product blend. So let’s talk about samples done right and setting expectations through direct communication and the broader representations brought to you through a best experience by Buechel Stone.

Stereotyping Our Stone

Samples are stereotypes. They’re incomplete. The square footage of a sample is a small percentage of what’ll actually be on the finished project. And the beauty of natural stone is that every piece is unique, even in the context of its geologically and visually similar siblings born from the same quarry. Although they’re all slightly different, they’re similar enough to provide a stereotypical sampling. Plus, they’re so texturally fascinating that we wouldn’t deny you that tactile experience. With every stone sample and stone installed, we are literally giving you a piece of our company. That’s something we don’t take lightly.

The Buechel Stone Samples & Displays Department has a specific set of criteria for the types of stones that must be represented according to each product. So whether it’s a 13″ x 13″ hand board, 20″ x 24″ framed and stacked stone or mortared board, or an arrangement of cut stone pieces; our Samples Team makes sure that the colors, shapes, and patterns presented are the most adequate portrayal of the product blend that can be provided within the confines of a sample space.

Although the physical sample won’t be a complete representation, when used in combination with swatch photos, project images, and seamless textures it’ll give a fairly accurate interpretation of the perfect selection for your project. So in the end, sampling is truly a necessary and fun part of the process. After all, what better way to choose the best type of stone for your project than with an actual sample? Plus, a portable display allows you to view real natural stone products in your space along with other design elements. We have a few different sizes and variations of sample and display boards, so we’ll take you through some of the most common types along with which complementary boards you can order straight from the website. (Read on for a coupon code for free shipping on samples.)

Portable Sample Boards

We make tons of portable hand boards, literally. And even though they’re only 13″ x 13″, there’s more to them than meets the eye. At first glance you’ll notice the Buechel logo in the upper left and the product name, price level, and QR code in the upper right. The product label sticker is color-coded according to price level. A quick scan of the QR code opens up a whole new world of information by taking you directly to that product’s page on our website. From there, you’re able to see that product in the larger context of project photos and/or high resolution swatch images with immediate access to everything from downloadable design resources (such as architectural rendering textures and behind-the-wall CAD drawings) to specification documents, installation information, and even a ‘build a quote’ calculator.

Also on our product pages is the option to ‘order a sample’. Most of our dealers are already stocked with an assortment of sample boards; but if you’re an architect, designer, or individual contractor or homeowner you just need to click on the ‘order a sample’ button/box to add a complimentary 13″ x 13″ hand board to your cart. Just fill in a brief form with your information, and you’ll get instant notification that we’ve received your request and are working on your order. You’ll also receive updates on progress and know when it ships. We work hard at quick turnarounds, so it should only take a matter of days for us to fulfill a sample request and get it on its way. For most website visitors; samples are free, but shipping charges apply. But just for reading this press & blog post, we’re providing you with coupon code buechelbestboards2018 to apply to your cart for free shipping on samples.

Permanent Displays

Along with 13″ x 13″ hand boards, dealer showrooms across Canada and the US are provided with complimentary larger wood frame boards with stacked stone or mortared patterns. Typically, our wood frame boards are approximately 20″ x 24″ and are made to fit in a rotating display tower (pictured below) or can be mounted in a showroom wall arrangement. We also provide free material for even bigger, permanent wall sections and floor-to-ceiling installations in our dealer showrooms. Similar to the hand boards, permanent displays are labeled with price level indicated metal tags and a QR code with a direct link to the appropriate product page of the Buechel Stone website.


Setting Expectations

Samples and displays tend to dominate the final stages of the material selection process, and you might think that Buechel Stone’s job is done after our product is approved as a final selection. But we’ve been around long enough to know that quality masonry makes all of the difference. Once a mason is selected, they often have to do a mock-up for the project. This is an area where expectations often are not communicated. Expectations come from direct communication, not just something put into a spec or assumed from a sample board. In our next press and blog post we’ll cover mock-ups, quality, and setting expectations with communication.

In the words of my newfound friend on the running trail, “We respect what you’re doing!” And we want you to see best results, so of course we’ll be there from concept to completion. That’s why Buechel Stone is your ONLY REAL CHOICE IN STONE.

Tracy Lisowe
Marketing Director
Buechel Stone Corp.