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Nygard’s Golden Jubilee Review- How Nygard Got It Right From The Start

Nygard’s Golden Jubilee Review

Its not an everyday occurrence to discover an individual who has pulled himself up by his bootstraps to achieve phenomenal success with a business that’s still breaking barriers, still achieving firsts, and still innovating fifty years later. What does it take? How did he achieve it all? And how can we achieve similar successes?

That’s what we’ll explore in this tri-weekly series. We’ll break down fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s achievements and look at how his accomplishments can serve as practical applications to others in business and life.

How Nygard Got It Right From The Start

What does it take to go from rags to riches? A number of things. For one, getting it right from the very start. Fashion mogul Peter Nygard invested $8,000 in his current business, which was struggling fifty years ago. When it was suddenly left to him to run on his own less than a year later, he came up with an approach that paid off in spades.

So how did he get it right?

When asked—in a 50th Anniversary television interview—what he saw fifty years ago that made him approach the business differently from industry professionals, here’s what he told Jones Communication Network’s (JCN) CEO, Wendall Jones:

“One of my best assets has been that I have always been very visionary and could see the future.  I saw in the 60s the advent of women wearing pants.  She was wearing skirts—very little pants.  I saw her wearing more pants.  

“So, I did a survey to find out what kind of pants she would like to wear.  I made the first pull on pants in the world out of double-knit wool and then for spring I made the first polyester pants, and they took off like wild fire.  Women wanted to start wearing pants.  No one was really doing that.  

“When I came into the industry, I didn’t know anything about it, so I tried to figure it out.  I saw the need for pants, and I decided to dominate the world with pants, and I have been doing it for 50 years.”

For Peter Nygard it was a risky move to give up a great job to accept less money and lower position at a new company, but it was obviously a risk worth taking. He explains what was happening at the time.

“[Initially] We were making suits and jackets, skirt suits and dresses, very little pants.  So, I took that over. The gentleman that I worked with for a very brief period wanted to start introducing jeans because the jean market was growing at the time.  I actually joined him as the sales manager for his whole new jean line called Tiger Jeans.  

“There were zero sales.  Zero sales for a whole new concept and I bought into it.  I gave up a big job where I was a golden-hairedboy.  I took this big gamble on this crazy scheme about the fact that this pant called a jean pant would actually become the biggest thing in the history of the world and it did.  I just had an intuition about it.”

It’s not enough to simply come up with a new idea and run with it. You have to make sure that everything that is required for its success is aligned with it. Here’s Nygard’s perspective:

“I revamped the business completely.  Some of the most famous things that I did was in my hang-tag I included a questionnaire to find out what the customer really wanted.  No one was really asking the customer what they wanted.  

“Everyone thinks that the buyer tells you what they want, as if the buyers know.  But I went ahead and asked the customer.  The big response was, ‘thank you for asking because no one really seems to care what we want.  I cannot find what I want in the department stores.’

“There was a new era like now with the new young generation and everything had to be young with the short skirts and six packs showing, but 90 percent of the population don’t have six packs.  At the time they said Mr. Nygard, we would like to have a skirt below the knee.”

Jones asked, “So you were actually giving people what they wanted?  Giving the consumer what they wanted?”

Nygard responded, “Yes, giving the ultimate consumer what they wanted.  I wasn’t just giving the buyer what she wanted, I was giving her customer what she wanted.  So all of a sudden, from day one, I knew more than the buyer.  It was amazing.  I had just started this business.”

And that’s how Peter Nygard got it right, right out of the gate. He was visionary in his thinking and practical in his approach. He set a foundation that would lead to millions and massive success with a customer following that still can’t get enough of his designs even fifty years later.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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