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Nygard’s Golden Jubilee Review- The Risk That Paid Off Big

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.

The Risk That Paid Off Big

A calculated risk can be the catalyst for setting your business on a path to inevitable success. That’s what happened for fashion mogul Peter Nygard with the business risk he took.

After Nygard bought into his current business fifty years ago, his mentor had passed within six months leaving it to him to run the business.  There are several factors that contributed to Nygard’s early success.

As we discussed previously, he started with the right approach, which is essential to business success. 

Not knowing very much about the business, he thought it made the most sense to find out the desires and preferences of the customers as opposed to simply doing what had always been done.

What he discovered was that the company was missing the mark. But what should he do? Here was this twenty-something-year-old, who knew nothing about the industry needing to tell the stakeholders they were wrong about what they were doing.

The customers, on the other hand, were happy to be asked what they wanted. And what they wanted in this instance were longer skirts. 

However, the buyers for the stores that Nygard’s company supplied products to had a different opinion. The challenge was to convince the buyers to go along with the changes he wanted to make.

In a JCN (Jones Communications Network, Nassau, Bahamas) interview about his 50th Anniversary in business, Nygard explained what unfolded:

“I could not sell a skirt below the knees to the buyer. So I had to lie to them, even though I didn’t like doing it.  They asked, ‘how long is that skirt going to be young man?’  I said, ‘of course it is going to be short; I will make it right for you.’  

“When I shipped them, I had to ship them at thigh length or at what I believed to be right.  I shipped them long.  My heart was in my throat because I did not want them to be returned.  

“These skirts flew out of the stores.  They phoned me and asked, ‘what did you do with those skirts?’ I said that I made them the way the customer asked.  They said, ‘congratulations you’ve got the hottest skirts.’

“I really went right to the consumer at the end of the day.  I did not buy into the buyers’ old philosophy, etc.  In that market I found out immediately that I had to deal directly with the consumer.”

As a result of the big risk Nygard was prepared to make, his success grew exponentially.

“We gained positions on the retail floors and very quickly we became the number one supplier for every major retailer in Canada.  What gave me the credibility was that one example and a couple of other ones. I happened to be right.  

“Once you’re right, people start believing you.  There is nothing like being right to be believed.  So after that when we saw that this fashion is in, or that fashion is in, we were able to sell them.”

Nygard didn’t buy into the way things had always been done. Even though it was a big risk to ignore the buyers and send them a product they hadn’t bought into, he knew he had to take the chance because it was what the customers wanted.

He may not have had any experience in the industry, but he had enough smarts to follow his own path to make the business work.

Risk is always a scary proposition especially in business, but look at the way it paid off for Peter Nygard. He developed such a reputation for ‘getting it right’ that everything he wanted to try going forward was readily accepted.

If Nygard didn’t follow his instincts and make the decisions he did, would he be celebrating 50 years of exponential success? We’ll never know.

What we do know is that taking that first risk opened doors for him and set him on a path toward success.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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