Last week, Simon Cowell’s new show, X-Factor, called one of my companies, Mount Olympus Awards asking if we could outfit the varsity jackets for Marcus Canty’s performance of Bobby Brown’s hit “Every Little Step I Take” on tonight’s live show.
Most of the time, letterman jackets with custom chenilles take 4 to 6 weeks, but Mount Olympus Awards is among, if not the, fastest large scale companies in the industry with a 2-4 week average. We have a special media department that handles high priority orders such as our regular business with Saturday Night Live, film studios, television shows, Broadway productions, and print magazines. We’ve done it all – Maxim, GQ, Disney channel, Ralph Lauren. We’re the best. It’s that simple. We are the best. As the best, we don’t do product placement. Every one of our customers pays for their order.
The producers needed twenty (20) finished varsity jackets with custom chenille varsity letters. It was Friday night. The entire order was shipped Saturday morning. I don’t believe anyone else in the world can handle that kind of production schedule.
It’s part of our business model. Does it cost capital? Yes. I’ll invest whatever it takes to make the company successful and management is obsessed with finding newer, better, faster, and more efficient ways to make our customers happy, even if it means testing oddball theories such as investing a couple hundred grand at retail in a pilot program involving 800 varsity jackets.
We have the liquidity, production capability, relationships, and network to pull off this sort of thing. When good opportunities come along to strengthen the varsity jacket business, I can take capital from one of our other companies in an unrelated industry and put it to work, accelerating the growth. When opportunities are slow, I can take money out in the form of dividends and reinvest it in marketable securities or other intelligent uses. The Kennon & Green business model works given my talents, temperaments, and near obsessive love of excelling in my vocation, to the point if I had needed to learn to operate machinery to get that order filled, I would have broken into the factory and done it myself.
The best part? Our scale is so great that we can sell letterman jackets for less than most firms can manufacture them and still make a profit. Nobody can compete on price when talking about a comparable quality varsity jacket.
It makes me so happy that it all began in a college apartment what seems like a few short years ago. Now, it’s just one of the spokes in the ever-expanding wheel that is my life work. Give me a few decades. We’ll see how far I can drive this thing. Even as the other companies pass the letterman jacket business in importance in relative size and profit, I’ll still look at the daily printouts of sales. It’s my baby. It was the first. I love it. It is not just the fact that when I’m watching the show, the profit is now sitting in the corporate treasury, which I control and mostly own as the largest individual shareholder of the firm. It’s that we did it fairly, honestly, and by solving their problem. We met their need. We provided value to society and, in return, were given claim checks. Those jackets were Made in the USA, those varsity letters were Made in the USA. It’s a virtuous cycle.
What is the lesson in all of this? Success is when past preparation meets momentary opportunity. When the call came, we were ready. That’s why we won. Never forget that and you can drastically increase the odds of success in your own life.