Intra-staff email sent Aug 22, 2013.
"Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine." - Lord Byron
Lately I’ve had a few occasions to describe the early history of the company to people on the outside. Even though I have done it (literally) hundreds of times, I try my best not to just recite it, but to really reflect, each time, and think about those experiences that were actually so formative to our brand and culture to this day. One experience that came up a couple of times was that of the first Sac ever sold by me, actually in a Lovesac store.
We opened that first store on November 17, 2001 in the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. Lovesac had been around for a few years selling to friends-of-friends through college, but here we were, across from Abercrombie and Pottery Barn, on a busy Friday night, just hoping not to get laughed at for our big not-a-beanbag store. So we cranked up the music, opened the doors, and just had a GOOD TIME. To our relief, the store got slammed. People wandered in, we made them sit down, they’d make some “surprised” remark after feeling a Sac under them for the first time. We bounced to the next person, passed out brochures, bounced back, joked, laughed, flirted, ordered, messed with people, made fun of their BYU hoodies....whatever. We just HAD A GOOD TIME. It is infectious.
That was all fine and good, but would anyone actually buy a $500 not-beanbag, right there, right then? If not, when? Which day? The clock was ticking away our money in ridiculous mall rent and there was absolutely no predicting what would actually happen. No one had ever (I mean ever) bought a massive, expensive, not-a-beanbag on impulse at a mall before.
Then it happened. Nate sold the first Sac.
Then it happened again, with Tres...even on day one!
Then I got mine: Some guy had come in before his movie and had a good time with us—a real loudmouth. I had already made him sit, given him the rundown, and heard all about his giant media room. But on his way out the door, he was shouting offers at me, like “Two-fifty....I’ll give you Three-hundred for it.”
I actually nodded cockily, smiled really big, and told him to “Get the hell out of my store—what do you think this is, Tijuana?” We don’t bargain at the mall.
Anyway, 120 minutes or so later he wandered back in and looked around some more. The store was slammed again with a different crop of people just hangin’ out on a Friday night, waiting for tables at restaurants, killin’ time with friends, and strangely okay about lying around in our store. But the music was bumpin’, we were bouncin’, and still just messin’ with anyone who dared step under our roof. We owned it. While I was just finishing checking something out on the computer for a customer, that same guy wandered back over towards me, tossed his credit-card on the cash-wrap and said, “I have no idea why I’m doing this....” But as he spoke I noticed him very subtly kind of groovin’ to the beat of the music in the background. I looked up and just laughed. I said, “That’s right—this is Lovesac! You’ll love it man....seriously...”
As I walked the Sac out to his car, I got to know him some more and he turned out to be a great business contact—actually, a pretty cool guy. A new friend.
He did not buy our warranty, or our fabric, or even Durafoam that night. He bought a feeling. He bought an emotion. I believe that somewhere deep down, without him ever realizing it consciously, he just wanted to take a piece of that LOVESAC VIBE home with him and hopefully somehow keep it going in his own basement....and it even compelled him to take out his wallet—right there and then.
You give me talent and “good leadership” vs. infectious enthusiasm any day of the week, and I choose INFECTIOUS ENTHUSIASM. Do you have it? Do you? You?!
You give me good merchandising, beauty, perfect systems, and orderly management vs. that Lovesac vibe, and I choose THE LOVESAC VIBE. Does your store have it? Does it really?
Now you give me multiple patents on a non-commodity, exclusive-to-us, life-changing product, an ever increasing bank of real talent, dedication, a commitment to excellence, beautiful stores, fifty stores, a credible and nationwide brand, good lighting, good storefronts, a grown-up staff, a grown-up vibe (still fun), beautiful product, 500+ Custom Order fabrics, refined quality, ever-improved systems, procedures, training, experience, leadership, data, comparative sales, known seasonality, planned promotions, available financing, in-concert email communications, well-designed printed collateral, regional warehouses full of in-stock goods, multiple delivery and shipping options for the consumer, a swatch-request program, rugs, lamps, tables, other comfy stuff, heck—regular payrolls, and add all of that to this INFECTIOUS ENTHUSIASM AND LOVESAC VIBE that we cannot afford to lose, or must get back where it is lacking...
And we will explode. You will meet plan, exceed plan, and even enjoy doing it.
NO ONE ELSE HAS WHAT WE HAVE if we have the backbone to just wake up every morning and make it happen—will it to happen—a decade ago, today, tomorrow, this weekend, next week, and a decade from now. We ARE the Fastest Growing Furniture Store in the United States....so enjoy it...HAVE FUN. It works.
Make it happen.