STORES Magazine - May 2009 - (Page 74)

THE LAST LAUGH INSIDE TRACK / RAC Optimism Rocks RAC presenters share their visions for building better businesses Two working-class brothers from South Boston combined have it, they resonated with mild-mannered yuppies, tatT-shirts, catch-phrases and optimism to build a business tooed Harley riders, sullen skate punks, prim school teachempire, amass a fortune and help change the world for the ers and just about everyone else. In 1994, the company better. Their story provided an inspiring message for deleposted sales of $87,000. By 2000, sales topped $3 million, gates to RAC 2009, the Retail Advertising Conference proand they exceeded $120 million last year. duced by NRF’s Retail Advertising & Marketing Association Along the way, fundraising for worthy causes became an division. important part of the Life is good mission. “We reLife is good Clad in a T-shirt, jeans alized that our brand could be harnessed for co-founder and sneakers, Life is something more important than just making a profBert Jacobs good co-founder Bert Jait,” Jacobs said. “I feel like we’re onto something cobs said the success of good. We can positively impact the world.” his company sprang Optimism, he said, “is not just fun and healthy. from optimism, and he It’s empowering. It enables you to do things.” punctuated the tale of entrepreneurialism by Goals as goals throwing a Frisbee into Canadian entrepreneur Chip Wilson, founder of the audience every time yoga-inspired apparel maker and retail chain Lulhe got a laugh. ulemon Athletica, requires each employee to set Optimists believe in two-, five- and 10-year possibility, which makes goals. His own goals inthem open-minded, he clude growing the company said. “One out of 10 peointo a $15 billion enterprise ple wants to focus on a by 2020, dating his wife solution. They are the optimists. You need to be once a week, sharing breakthat person.” fast with 100 employees Life is good “is a disposition,” Jacobs said. “We each year and using his celebrate what’s right with the world. We celebrate “imagine1day” charity to friendship, the great outdoors, music, beauty … bring primary education to the simple things that make us happy.” every child in Ethiopia by After college, Bert and John Jacobs sold T-shirts 2020. Chip Wilson, founder from a minivan as they traveled from college to Committing the goals to of Lululemon Athletica college for weeks or months at a time. Their travwriting cements them in the els provided plenty of time to talk, and the brothers grew to subconscious mind, and displaying them where friends and realize the importance of having a symbol for their compacolleagues see them attracts opportunity, Wilson said. If ny and the clothes they sold. The answer came five years friends know you have the goal of starting a restaurant, for into their odyssey, during one of the “special keggers” the example, they come forward with the perfect location or brothers held in their cramped Boston apartment. news of a fire sale on kitchen equipment. “Those opportuOn pieces of paper, party-goers enthusiastically circled nities create themselves,” he said. and underlined one of the proposed new phrases, “Life is To maintain a pipeline of good employees, Lululemon good,” and overwhelmingly favored a drawing of a happyperformance reviews require associates to identify the faced guy. workers they are training as successors and how that train“This is Jake,” Jacobs told the audience as he flashed a ing will make the student better than the teacher. “That can slide of the smiling cartoon face. “Jake is our hero because be done only at a company that is ego-less,” Wilson said. in our opinion he’s got the world figured out. When he goes For additional organizational strength, Lululemon tries to out in the world he sees opportunity. He engages the hire people six months before the company needs them. world. He has so much fun.” “My job, as leader, is to see where we are going to have The brothers had spent their last $78 to produce 48 Tbottlenecks in the company and prevent them,” Wilson shirts with Jake‘s face and the slogan. If the shirts didn’t said. “That eliminates some of the stress in a high-growth sell, they were prepared to take 9-to-5 jobs. As fate would company.” —Ed McKinley 74 STORES / MAY 2009 WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - May 2009

STORES Magazine - May 2009
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Facts to Chew On
What Shoppers Think
Deals "R" Us
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Cover Story: Brand X Power
Home Improvement
Credit Where Credit's Due
Locate, Locate, Locate
New Playbook
Staying in the Fast Lane
Clean and Green
Driven to Please
Farm System
Rx for Shrink
Zeroing Out Zombies
Rogues Gallery
Ounce of Prevention
Loeb Retail Letter
Chain Action
Optimism Rocks
ARTS Update
Point of View
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - May 2009