Not only was The Container Store built on great products, but it was structured around some very basic and fundamental values and business philosophies about treating employees, customers and vendors with respect and dignity — we call them our Foundation PrinciplesTM.
They were formalized in 1988, when we opened our Houston store. That store made us take a look at our business a little harder. From the day we opened the doors, we did three times more business than we had ever experienced at any of our other stores, which became quite overwhelming to our employees. We already had a 10-year-old company with strong values and culture; however, communicating this to an entire store of new employees, most who never had been exposed to our stores or our way of doing business, was quite a challenge.
Kip (Chairman and CEO) struggled with how to clearly communicate our culture so that all the employees in the Houston store would act and make decisions using the same set of values and knowledge as the employees in the rest of the company.
So Kip referred back to a file he had started many years ago called his “philosophy epistle file” where he’d put various anecdotes, musings and philosophical phrases that he admired. During his time in school, the things in the file were on a philosophical level and as he started college, they took more of a business slant. He chose many examples to communicate the message that no matter how big the company became, our guiding principles and values would stay the same and over the years these were condensed into our Foundation Principles™.
By understanding and supporting these principles and philosophical guidelines, we can all respond in unison to similar circumstances. In other words, we act as a unit, all working in the same direction toward the same goal. Retail is far, far too situational to attempt to achieve a concerted effort through inflexible rules and policies.
So, instead of using the typical phone-book-sized retail procedural manual to guide our decision making, we use these Foundation Principles™ to keep us on track, focused and fulfilled as employees. With this combination of values-driven business philosophies and a one-of-a-kind product selection, The Container Store’s goal is to become the best retail store in America.
Learn more about our Foundation Principles:
1 Great Person = 3 Good People
Communication IS Leadership
Fill the other guy’s basket to the brim. Making money then becomes an easy proposition.
The Best SELECTION, SERVICE & PRICE
Intuition does not come to an unprepared mind. You need to train before it happens.
Man In The Desert Selling
Air of Excitement