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Nygard’s Golden Jubilee Review – Going Against The Grain

Nygard’s Golden Jubilee Review

It’s 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.

Going Against The Grain 

What does it take to turn an $8,000 investment into hundreds of millions of dollars consistently over the years? Being an unconventional thinker.

Some people judge fashion mogul Peter Nygard harshly for being unconventional. Note that it has been unconventional thinkers who have made the greatest discoveries and achievements around the world.

The article “When business thinkers go against the grain” ( presents the following perspective on this point:

“Every generation has its share of unconventional, against-the-grain thinkers and leaders who refuse to listen to the naysayers and follow their own instincts. Often, they fail, but some break through, and when they do, it results in smarter solutions for all” (Joe McKendrick).

The article goes on to list a number of business individuals who were successful or made great achievements as a result of thinking unconventionally.

Like we previously mentioned, during his time, Christopher Columbus had unconventional views about the earth. During his time, Albert Einstein had unconventional views on then accepted facts: today they are both prized for their discoveries due to their unconventional thinking.

Here are two more individuals who can be added to that list and who are revered today but not so much during their time:

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was an Italian astronomer, scientist and philosopher. He made many significant scientific discoveries and is thought of as the father of modern science. However, during the time of his work and discoveries, his views were considered heretical and he was placed under house arrest up to the end of his life. 

Though famous Greek philosopher Socrates (469BC – 399BC) is now considered to be the father of Western philosophy, and a key figure in the development of Western civilization, he was not so well thought of during his time.

Socrates was tried, convicted and put to death in Athens in 399BC. The authorities found him guilty of ‘corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens’ and of ‘impiety’ for his unconventional thinking. In a biography written about Socrates it states this:

“He calmly accepted the verdict and rather than try and escape the death penalty – he accepted the hemlock poison. If Socrates had repudiated his beliefs, he could have been free; he could also have tried to escape, but as a philosopher, he felt it more important to stick to his beliefs” (

Thank goodness we no longer live in a time when your thinking and beliefs got you executed especially given that there is no escaping the gains the world has made from unconventional thinking individuals.

Almost anyone can achieve at least a modicum of success. Achieving great success requires one to be prepared to buck the system a little and ‘go their own way.’

And when you think about the fact that succeeding at standing above the competition requires you to be different, to be noticed, to grab attention, no good thing can come from playing it safe. 

Got an absurd idea? Don’t listen to the noise in the market; sometimes it pays to think unconventionally, to be a renegade.

Remember, Peter Nygard had one of his best years in business refusing to accept the 2008 recession that devastated other retailers and so many businesses. 

Also, Nygard experienced great success from bucking the system and insisting on making skirts that the customer said they wanted as opposed to what the buyers felt would sell.

Being a renegade of sorts, or thinking differently, is how we get the best discoveries and move forward as a people.

Peter Nygard became one of the biggest influencers in Canadian history by going against the thinking of his colleagues in the apparel industry during the 1980s; he felt free trade was the way to go and the Canadian government got him to help them figure out the way forward with it.

To achieve astounding success, consider going against the grain, being a renegade, embracing unconventional thinking; demonstrate your brilliance just like Peter Nygard.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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