Our Foundation Principles

Not only was The Container Store built on great products, but it was structured around some very basic and fundamental business philosophies about treating employees, customers, vendors, shareholders and the community with respect and dignity. We call them our Foundation Principles™.

Click on a Foundation Principle below to learn more

Tap on a Foundation Principle below to learn more

Our Story

Our Foundation Principles were formalized in 1988, after 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, the store did more business than we ever anticipated, which became quite overwhelming to our Houston store 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 whom never had been exposed to our stores or our way of doing business, was quite a challenge.

Our Chairman, Kip, 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.

In a moment of inspiration, he referred back to a file he had started many years ago called his “philosophy epistle file” where he’d saved various anecdotes, musings and philosophical phrases that he admired or thought of himself beginning in high school, through college and up to this time in the business. He invited the entire Houston store staff over to their Manager’s home and chose many examples to communicate the message that no matter how big the company became, our guiding principles and values would stay the same. Kip was nervous to be sharing all of these ideas that were so near and dear to his heart – but to his surprise they were incredibly well-received by the team!

Over the years, the philosophies that Kip shared that night were condensed into what are now our Foundation Principles. By understanding and supporting these principles, we can all respond in unison to similar circumstances. In other words, we act as a unit, all working toward the same goal. Retail is far, far too situational to attempt to achieve anything 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, with all due humility, is to become the best retail store in America!


1 Great Person = 3 Good People®

“One great person is equal to three good people in terms of business productivity. We’re wild-eyed fanatics when it comes to hiring great people.”


Communication IS Leadership®

“They’re the same thing. Simply put, we want every single employee in our company to know absolutely everything. Every day we practice consistent, reliable, predictable, effective, thoughtful, compassionate, and yes, even courteous communication.”


Fill the other guy’s basket to the brim. Making money then becomes an easy proposition.®

“This is our business philosophy that allows us to craft mutually beneficial relationships with our vendors. Business is not a zero-sum game. Someone doesn’t have to lose for someone else to win.”


The Best Selection, Service & Price®

“These are not mutually exclusive. We work to offer a well-edited, carefully curated collection of 10,000 products, expert advice and service that customers delight in, and competitive prices.”


Intuition does not come to an unprepared mind. You need to train before it happens.®

“Our extensive training, coupled with our employees’ life experiences, allows them to intuitively solve all of our customers’ storage and organization challenges.”


Man in the Desert Selling®

“This is our selling philosophy and we use it to astonish our customers by anticipating their needs and exceeding their expectations.”


Air of Excitement!®

“Three steps in the door, you know if a place has it. It’s what makes employees and customers alike want to be in our stores.”