The retail revolution is global, diverse, inclusive and magical.
Hi, I'm Hattie Bryant. The people you meet on our series are everyday people telling their own story; they epitomize the meaning of free enterprise. They live the principles of democracy, respect the rights of others, take risks, value good work and encourage others to pursue their gifts to do good work as well.
These are people who are loved by their community and respected in their industry.
Twenty percent of small business owners are retailers but the man you are about to learn from is more than a merchant. Let's go to to one of the most stunning spots in America, Santa Fe, New Mexico to meet a world-traveler, teacher, philosopher, importer and survivor.
He's created hundreds of jobs, million of dollars in sales and thousands of happy customers.
DARBY McQUADE: These are decorative, but these are called chimeneas, which is Spanish for chimney, and they really work.
Editor's Footnote: In Taos, just over the hill, there is a wonderful inn called Casa de las Chimeneas (The House of Chimneys) which is the epitome of a New Mexico experience.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) I met Darby McQuade when he was recognized as the Small Business Person of the Year from the state of New Mexico. Grouped with other entrepreneurs from all over the country, this man from Santa Fe stood out as non-traditional.
HATTIE: Tell me some of those rules that you use to guide your business.
DARBY: Work someplace where you can take your dog. That's important. In doing sales I believe ... if you're having a sale it needs to be something that people need at that time as opposed to something that you're overstocked on or no one wants.
HATTIE: Give me an illustration of how you do that here at Jackalope.
DARBY: You sell lawn furniture at a special price in the beginning of the summer rather than at the end. Importantly, it's OK to liquidate but if you constantly have sales on things that are your losers, people lose interest.
HATTIE: The founder of Jackalope, which he promotes as the place to find everything under the sun or folk art by the truckload, Darby is living out his calling. With about 60 employees, and some $8 million in sales, Darby is living in his vision.
DARBY: About two years into the store here, I got up early one morning and walked out and built a fire and was just sitting there thinking. And I just was like just washed, all of a sudden, I was, `That's what I want to do. This is what I want to do.' And I just started crying, and I wrote a letter to my grandmother and I said, `I know what I want to do. I know.'
HATTIE: (Voiceover) He dreamed of a place for working artists, animals, children and fanciful objects.
CUSTOMER #1: Do you know what it is?
HER CHILD: Huh-uh.
CUSTOMER #1: Is it a rabbit?
CUSTOMER #1: Is it a jackalope?
HATTIE: (Voiceover) He was called to create a village, much like ones he had grown to love on his travels into Mexico. At this village, visitors could experience shopping as entertainment, and products would be almost accidently discovered.
BRUCE BARR (introduction comes later): In the normal retail store, you're bombarded with opportunities to buy through signing, through promotion, through massive, sometimes garish, displays of tremendous – you know – gobs of merchandise. When you come to Jackalope, you're encouraged to be creative in your own right, make your own decisions, put things together, walk from one end of the property to the other, kind of designing your living room or your breakfast table, and picking up a little bit of salsa here, some fresh green-roasted chili here, a pot for the veranda there, and we don't force anything down your throat. In other words, it's the type of thing that stimulates you, as a customer, to be creative and make your own decision to buy.
And secondly, come back and tell all your friends about us and have fun.
DARBY: Every business has a personality, and that personality shows itself. And you can go in the store five years from now, and the merchandise may be different, but the personality is still there.
HATTIE: OK, your first thought when you see something. Is your first thought, `Do I like this?' Or is your first thought, `Will customers buy this?'
DARBY: `Do I like this?'
CUSTOMER #2: ...we spend lots of time and money here. I usually do when I come to Santa Fe.
DARBY: People return to places where they have good experiences. And the entire business is built on the idea that it's entertainment.
(On walking through the store) This is from Mexico, from Mexico, from Bali.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) The store is crammed floor to ceiling with merchandise from Morocco, Bali, Africa, Thailand, China, Mexico, the Philippines, Peru and New Mexico.
HATTIE: But this is a cow.
DARBY: That's a cow skull.
HATTIE: Well, what do you think?
HATTIE: Do you think Georgia O'Keeffe has helped you sell a few of these?
DARBY: Yes. God bless Georgia O'Keeffe.
HATTIE: There is an enclosed aviary with a collection of exotic birds, and you can stop to watch the prairie dogs play.
DARBY: And if someone sounds the alarm, then they all dive.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) Darby knows the rules of business because he has an MBA and went straight from graduate school to spend two years on Wall Street. But Jackalope is the result of a man following his heart, not the rules.
DARBY: I really was sort of a square peg in a round hole. A friend that I worked with bought a motorcycle.
HATTIE: In Manhattan?
DARBY: In Manhattan. And he was from Colorado. And so I bought one, too. And I needed boots, and so I bought a pair of sort of cowboy boots at the motorcycle shop.
HATTIE: You're still in Manhattan.
DARBY: I'm still in Manhattan. And I was waiting on First Avenue for an uptown bus to my apartment. And I was standing there at the bus stop holding a box with a pair of cowboy boots, and I just started looking around, and I just kind of started grinning inside, and I thought, `You folks standing here don't realize it, but I'm outta here.'
HATTIE: (Voiceover) Darby has created an environment for many small-business owners to succeed. Artists get 75 percent of their sales, and Jackalope gets 25 percent. Ruben Romero, a musician and recording artist, has a shop at Jackalope.
RUBEN ROMERO (Musician; Recording Artist): I'm this flamenco guitarist, and I said, `Well, I want to do a store that has more guitar and more Southwest-oriented.' You can go to any chain store and get all the things under the world, but here, we specifically try to get music that is pertinent to this area.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) There's the chain-saw artist.
Did you ever draw or did you ever paint?
Unidentified Man #2: Oh, n...
HATTIE: How did you know you were an artist?
Man #2: I don't know. I mean, if I were to sit down and try and sketch this on paper forget it. It doesn't work. It just does not click, you know, like, `duh,' or something. But I can sit there and look at the log, and I'll see this guy right in there, just like this one here.
Man #2: This is gonna be an eagle, right here, this guy.
HATTIE: It's gonna be an eagle?
Man #2: Yeah, and this is gonna be an angel, right there.
HATTIE: You can see it?
Man #2: Yeah.
HATTIE: Now are you doing...
Man #2: I'm gonna have the head going that way.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) Miguel Androngo, a master weaver from Otabala, Ecuador, creates before your eyes. Then there's Evaristo Medina, from Peru, who carves gourds. And the painter who weaves his paintings, Herberto Tarazo. Bruce Barr, a former vice president, says Jackalope's success is based upon Darby's talented buying.
BRUCE BARR: He does, he has a tremendous eye. He can look at merchandise and he knows in his heart or in his mind that it's going to sell, and people are going to want it.
DARBY: It has to create an urgency.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) As the business grew, Darby hit some rough spots -- taxes, too easy on people.
DARBY: For many years, I didn't hold people accountable.
HATTIE: Because you wanted to be too nice.
DARBY: I was a nice guy, and plus, I wanted to be off buying and not dealing with personnel problems. And I had a business consultant come in, and just really put things in focus.
For a period, as things developed, there were people who were playing hard, and people that were maybe not playing hard, and not wanting to really be involved (or at least at the level that we were working on). I let some people go.
HATTIE: How'd you do that? (an eternal quietness)
You don't remember what you said?
DARBY: I don't remember. No. It was always very difficult -- well, still is.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) Darby has attracted three strong leaders who I believe will successfully take the Jackalope concept to many more locations. They have already demonstrated their ability with the opening of Jackalope's second location near Albuquerque.
We feel that this is a very different kind of place.
Can you put your finger on it? What is different about Jackalope from other retail operations?
PAT BLACK: I worked for many other companies over the years, and what I love so much about this is that it constantly is changing, new things coming in all the time, it's not the same all the time. It's exciting. And every time people come in, they love it 'cause we have new things for them.
HATTIE: Does that have something to do with Darby's sort of passion for a new place, trying to find a new thing?
PAT: Yes, because it keeps it interesting here.
CHERYL: And you have to be able to do everything, and a large company, you're usually pinholed into a certain position and growth is very narrow. It's kind of like being--and I use this analogy--but it's kind of like being a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. And when I came to Jackalope, it was like I found the circle that I fit into.
HATTIE: So how did you get here?
CHERYL: Basically, quit my job in LA and gave up, you know, a very big office and a a window and big bucks. And put the family in the car and drove to Santa Fe. And...
HATTIE: You didn't have a job? You...
CHERYL: I did not have a job.
BRUCE: I saw a billboard on I-25 in, like, the early '80s or late '80s, and I thought, `That was an interesting billboard.' And it had a truck full of junk in it, and it said, `Folk art by the truckload.' And I said, `I'm gonna have to go there someday.' And I started coming here and observing what was going on. And then I saw so man...
HATTIE: So you were a customer?
BRUCE: I was a customer. Yeah, you bet. It's a fun place. And I had reached the stage in my career where, if it wasn't fun, I didn't want to do it, OK?
HATTIE: Right, right, right, right.
BRUCE: And I know Darby feels the same way, if it's not fun, we don't want to do it.
HATTIE: All right. Cheryl also came from multi--from an organization, multiple stores. You came from an organization with multiple stores. You came, there's just one here.
The two of you, I think, are influencing Darby because, before you came, he couldn't envision multiplying yourselves. Do you really believe you can multiply this concept?
BRUCE: To a degree. We don't want to multiply it in the terms of--you would multiply big-box retailing. What we want to do is find the right sites, in the right area, where we feel we can continue the creative atmosphere of shopping, the fun experience, the unique merchandise, and find the people that are interested in doing that 'cause the whole thing depends on merchandise and people.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) The Santa Fe Institute is a think tank which Darby taps into for rejuvenation.
DARBY: Well, I go to the public lectures that they have very regularly, and it's kind of my religion. And I really enjoy the lectures and things that are going on there. One of the main things that they study is what they call complex adaptive systems. For example with an ant colony, when I think of an ant colony, I figure that the queen is giving directions, everyone is following directions, and that's how things happen. Well, apparently, the queen isn't giving anybody any directions; she's laying eggs, and each group has their task. And within their task, they have a certain number of movements that they do; not very many, but they have a few.
HATTIE: Very specialized.
DARBY: Yeah -- and by the combination of all of those sort of almost yeses and nos, the work gets done, the ant hill grows and all these things, and there isn't--apparently, there is not someone in charge.
HATTIE: Really? So what are you thinking? That no one has to be in charge here?
DARBY: No. Another example is, for example, like a flock of birds. You see them turn, you figure someone said, `OK, everybody.' But apparently there's not a leader.
HATTIE: How does it happen then?
DARBY: Each individual, doing what they do, does the thing that they do, and it happens. But it's not a `time to turn,' someone in charge, apparently. I see, for example, like, mussels or clams or something like that in the surf. And they're where they are, and they're not going anywhere. They got there; that's what they're dealing with. However, although, you know, they're limited in that way, still, the tide's coming in, the tide's going out, and each time it does, they grab for some food. And that'spretty basic, but that's what they do. But still, if they can grab just a tiny bit higher, they can get a little bit more food, and they can get a little bit bigger, and get a little bit more space and have a better chance of procreating because they've done that. It's just, I'm a mussel; we're all mussels and we have our limitations, but a little extra effort we can make a huge difference.
HATTIE: (back in the studio) Many small-business owners you've met on this show are doing what they're doing because they love the stuff of their business. Thomas Keller loves to cook. Darby McQuade loves to travel around the world and bring back beautiful art and folk art to his store. Mike Neary loves to build log homes; he loves the wilderness and loves logs. When any of us do what we love to do, we usually grow -- personal growth -- and our business grows.
Like people, businesses are organic, complex and often chaotic systems. Problems are a natural part of the picture. And the people part is usually the most complex and the most problematic. Darby knows well. With some guidance from a consultant, Darby was able to let some people go and to get to the next level, he realized he had to change his own thinking. Darby had always thought that Jackalope would be one location and he couldn't visualize expansion. To get himself out of a rut, he decided to hire people with big chain experience.
People like Cheryl, Bruce and others, came to Jackalope with multi-store experience. With these people on his team, things began to fall into place. The Albuquerque store opened and he stood back and watched employees do it all on their own. So his advice is, `When you begin to let go, you begin to grow.'
DARBY: I've given them permission to take over my job.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) The entire team at Jackalope is caught up in the vision of growth. They love what they are doing. They are having fun, they are creating places for people, not just to shop, but to have a life-enriching experience. I hope you're lucky enough to visit Santa Fe and see Jackalope yourself.
HATTIE: What is the legend of the jackalope?
DARBY: Oh, the legend of the jackalope, well, it's a cross between a jack rabbit and a deer or an antelope. And they also show up related to, like, fur-bearing trout and, well, other animals like that, and like large green beans that--where one green bean fits on a whole railroad car, or one tomato ...
HATTIE: (Voiceover) I've heard it said there's no such thing as a small business, just like there's no such thing as a small dream. Thanks, Darby, for dreaming good, big dreams.
Since we first visited Darby, there is new growth to report. Today there are still about 60 employees but sales are up from $8 million to $10 million a year. You saw in this program Jackalope was finally able -- after being a one-location store since 1976 -- to add it's second. As is often the case, once you break out of a habit, you can form new ones. Now you can find "Everything Under the Sun" in five Jackalope stores. There are two locations in Albuquerque today, one in Denver and one in North Hollywood in addition to the anchor store in Santa Fe. The North Hollywood location is totally unique in that Darby's partners there are three of his brothers and a nephew who run the day-to-day operation.
Darby is excited. Pat Black, the buyer you met, is now in charge of buying. She is searching the world and she's not afraid to go into the back country of China looking for antique furniture. As trends shift away from terra cotta toward glazed pottery, Pat is bringing in more goods from Vietnam and India.
Darby also reports he is now a member of The Executive Committee, which most refer to as TEC. The group has members in major cities in the US. and is made up of owners or CEOs who meet together for a full day and have a two-hour personal consult with the group facilitator once a month. There are no competitors in the group and no selling to each other is allowed. Everything shared among members is confidential. So there is no selling and lots of sharing. Many benefit from groups like TEC which bring owners together who can serve as a board of advisers to each other. Members learn from guest speakers, from each other and they hold each other accountable for achieving goals.
Darby's next idea is to expand through partnerships and his model is the bread retailer, Great Harvest. New locations will be funded and owned by people who want to be part of Jackalope but they will be given a great deal of creative license. Darby will help select a location, supply the operations expertise and the merchandise while the new owners will supply the sales and marketing. I've heard it says that there's no such thing as a small business, just like there's no such thing as a small dream.
HATTIE: Darby and millions of other small retailers are constantly working to get shoppers in the door and many have learned that database marketing is cost effective. John Wargo, our sales and marketing adviser, is going to explain how to use multistage database marketing to create excitement around a new product or service or location.
JOHN WARGO (Sales & Marketing Adviser): A multistage mailing is a campaign that is designed to build excitement, and it leads up to a major event. For example, you're a small-business person and you're going to open a new store. Why wait until the door's open? What you want to do is a multistage event. You send out a postcard to people in the area, maybe a resident or occupant mail, and you say, `Something new is coming in your neighborhood.' Then as you get closer, you send maybe another that says, `Have you noticed the new construction? Have you noticed a new storefront?' Then you might yet another and say, `Coming at the end of the month, there's going to be a grand opening.' And just before the opening, you might send them a sample or an invitation with offer for a free gift if they come to your opening. Now this just one example. What you're doing is you are sending three or four different mailings to an individual to start to build excitement, to start to lead towards some type of event. Many people will also use other media. What happens is they'll say, `Watch the newspaper ad during this week.'
A multistage campaign can be very effective with a mix of media.
Congratulations, Darby, for dreaming good, big dreams. We'll see you next time.