The Container Store

The True Meaning of Love in Business

The True Meaning of Love in Business

*This post is part of Chairman and Co-Founder Kip Tindell’s Thoughts on Thriving Blog Series. Read other posts in the series here.

From the moment we first opened our doors in 1978, I have been drawn to building relationships; from our employee-first culture, to our true partnerships with our vendors, I have found joy in the unique business philosophies that we have built at The Container Store. For me, those philosophies and relationships all boil down to one thing—love.

That word—love—often creates confusion in a business context. That’s because the English language, as lovely as it is, is surprisingly limited when it comes to talking about love. We often end up using one word to describe many different kinds of affection.

As the noted scientist and author Paul Zak pointed out during a wonderful presentation he delivered to our company a few years ago, the ancient Greeks distinguished between four types of love:

  • Eros—romantic, sensual love
  • Storge—the love of parents for their children
  • Agape—later used by Christians to mean love of God
  • Philia—brotherly love, or love of humanity/community

When we talk about love at The Container Store, of course, we’re talking about the last one—philia. That’s the feeling that infuses every company that follows the principles of Conscious Capitalism, and I would submit that no business can reach its full potential unless it takes advantage of the boundless human capacity for such love in every decision it makes. Philia.

The True Meaning of Love in Business

Contrary to the popular view of business, we don’t seek profit for its own sake. Our Foundation Principles wouldn’t work without a higher purpose. To borrow from Aesop, that would kill the goose that laid the golden egg. On the other hand, creating profits with a powerful purpose creates an incredibly powerful force for good. Our company doesn’t exist to make a profit; it makes a profit so it can exist. And it exists to bring happiness and prosperity to every life we touch. That way, in the end, everybody wins.

*This post is part of Chairman and Co-Founder Kip Tindell’s Thoughts on Thriving Blog Series. Read other posts in the series here.