As I sit here in our Asia office, it still seems so surreal that in just 15 years we have come so far from the garage in Germantown, TN to Ningbo, China. There are many days that I miss the beginnings of working out of the garage and wondering if we will ever do enough business to justify going to a warehouse each day (amazingly that was only 1 year later). Now I am sitting in our office in Ningbo working with our team to improve our QC processes and become better QC trainers to our factories.
Helping them improve brings back many good memories for me of coming over to Asia early on and not having a clue what I was really doing, but just knowing that failure wasn’t an option, so the mentality of prevailing would overcome any obstacle faced. That mentality is what our business was founded on but now I find myself spending a lot of my energy working with our growing number of staff to make sure it doesn’t fade away.
We actually added a 5th core value recently “Permanently in the Garage” so that each new person (1/3 of our current crew has been with us for less than 2 years) will never forget how important that mentality is to have / keep. As we grow the company and processes change, and what was once a person becomes a unit or department, it is imperative for us to remember that what got us here, where we are now, was the mentality that obstacles will be overcome. Problems are just an opportunity to improve and learn something new. A complaint is just someone caring enough to help you get better at what you do. I could go on, but the point is, no matter how big or small you are, culture is what separates some many good companies from being great, and I have always viewed good as the enemy of great.
Luckily, we have found great people who shared the same mentality, which is why I am here trying to get our team back to working shorter hours. They have worked over time while we have grown (35% last year and on pace for 15% this year), because they are perfectionists who understand that every product we put in the market place has our name, and reputation, on it. We also understand that every time a customer places an order they are associating themselves and their reputation with us, and we want to make sure we are elevating that every chance we get.
I don’t know what Logo Brands will look like in another 15 years, I only hope that I am still in awe of where we are in comparison to the past, and as excited about the business and it’s future as I am today and that I recognize the culture still, because it hasn’t changed…