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Last Update: Monday June 21, 2021

Key Idea: Keep Climbing. And, No Matter What, Keep Falling in Love.

The founder warns that you must love your company and what it does for its customers.

Key Question:


"You really, really, really got to love it." These two love the stuff of their business. There is no question from watching them talk about technical climbing, whether up the headwall of an icy cavern or the rich iron mountains of the desert. But, Margaret warns everyone -- only start a business doing the thing that you truly love to do.

Michael Novak would call this "Business As Calling."

For immigrants and the Quenemoens, it was "business for survival." Margaret comments, "It's tenacity ... we didn't have the luxury of being able to stop." Paula adds, "Going out of business will never be an option. We don't have anything to fall back on." But, of course, they do. Both are talented people and easily could have gotten a 9-to-5 job. But there is something deep within us that says, "If I don't do this, my life will be incomplete" (the words from the closing of the show). For all of us, it is "business as a way to self-actualize." Choosing an easy road, a safe highway, doing a job just to get a paycheck and get by, is not a choice.

Q: Is this business for survival, to fulfill a calling, or to self-actualize?

All of the above. In one of our analysis of the reasons for this show (Why Small Business School?), there is an attempt to define business through three principles. The first principle of business is "to create order." Survival. We work to secure our meets and bounds (our shelter), then sustain the body (food), and then we begin creating an abundance of something of value. Once we have something to sell and we begin selling, it is a business; and we can move to the second principle of business, "building relations." Here we begin exchanging and transacting values. It is called a business when there is continuity, focus, and a growing expertise within a particular set of relations. That is much like Novak's "Business as Calling" (above). The third principle of business is about creating dynamic relations; the "peak experiences" of business.

Think about it

How do you stay excited about your business?  How do you keep employees excited about it?

Clip from: Jagged Edge Mountain Gear

Enjoy your summer while you have it!  Winter will return!

Telluride, Colorado and Moab, Utah: Deep-seated within every American is the dream of starting and owning a business. Most of us are barely aware that this concept is deeply ingrained in our culture. The modern concept of a corporation actually has its roots in the American revolution. This drive to start a business -- to incorporate under a name -- mystifies much of the world and it has a lot to do with one's sense of purpose or "calling" and also one's process of self-actualization.

In this episode of the show, you meet many very special people, but the stars are Margaret Quenemoen and her sister, Paula. It will become quickly apparent that they are identical twins who share a huge love of life. Their honesty and integrity, their openness and their achievement, their vision and their tenacity, over-qualify them to be our MasterClass teachers.

So, let's drive into the deep mountains of Colorado to look at their foundations, business plan, financing, direct public offering, and so much more.

We'll learn what went right, what went wrong, and what their vision of the future is.

Jagged Edge Mountain Gear (MQ)

Margaret Quenemoen, Founder

223 E. Colorado Ave.
PO Box 2256
Telluride, CO 81435

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1991

Keep Climbing. And, No Matter What, Keep Falling in Love.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) For fun, Margaret and Jagged Edge staff climb at the Ouray Ice Park they helped to build.

Unidentified Ice Climber: Think the rope will make it? Right now, I'm putting my hands in the leash. That keeps me attached to the ax, which keeps me attached to the ice.

MARGARET: (Voiceover) It's tenacity. In fact, one of the reasons this business made it is because we didn't have the luxury of being able to stop.

PAULA: (Voiceover) Going out of business will never be an option. We don't have anything to fall back on.

HATTIE: How was it?

MARGARET: That was great. It was so much fun.

HATTIE: If someone came to you today and said, `I want to start a business, I've got my idea, I've fallen in love with this concept, what should I do'? What would you tell them?

MARGARET: I would tell them make sure you really love it. Make sure you really want it, because whatever you decide to do, it is going to test you to no end, and if you don't love what you're doing, you're going to go out of business, because you'll just lose your passion for it.

HATTIE: Do you think that most people don't understand how hard it is?

MARGARET: I don't think they understand how hard it is. It has days when it's 14 and 16 hours a day, day after day. It's a tough climb.

PAULA: OK, Hattie, we're gonna put you in one of these...

BRAD: Put your hand right here.
HATTIE: Oh. Oh, that's much better. I know I don't look like Brad.

PAULA: No, you look really good, especially in that vest.
HATTIE: Paula, you are so good at encouraging people.


BRAD: Now stand up on your left foot.

HATTIE: Whoa! Stand up on my left...

PAULA: Very nice!

HATTIE: Whoa! I tagged it! I touched the chain! You know the name of our company is Flying Leap, and now I'm gonna get to really take one. I'm flying! That was a crash ending.... Well, I didn't die.

HATTIE: What are the ups and what are the downs of being sisters, being twins, being partners, living, breathing, eating, sleeping everything together?
MARGARET: I think the upside is that we are incredibly driven, and we share that, and together we can move mountains.

PAULA: Some of the things that Margaret's quite strong at, I'm not so strong. Some of the things I'm very strong at, maybe she isn't. But if you put us together, you get the whole egg, since we shared an egg.

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