Magazine article CRM Magazine

Kip Tindell's Uncontainable Secrets for Building a Business: Why Foundation Principles, Not Rules and Policies, Are the Way to Go

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Kip Tindell's Uncontainable Secrets for Building a Business: Why Foundation Principles, Not Rules and Policies, Are the Way to Go

Article excerpt

Selling empty boxes may not sound like a lucrative business opportunity, but Kip Tindell, CEO of The Container Store, knows firsthand that the value of a product is much greater than its worth. With more than 5,000 employees across its 67 locations, The Container Store has seen long-term success thanks to what Tindell calls "its yummy culture." In his new book, Uncontainable, Tindell reveals the business philosophy behind his brainchild and provides tips for starting--and running--a thriving company. He shared his insight with Associate Editor Maria Minsker.

CRM: The Container Store has been around for more than 30 years. What made you want to write this book now?

Tindell: Over the years, many people have asked me, "Kip, when are you going to write a book?" I'm always flattered that people find our story inspiring enough to suggest such a thing, but I've always resisted the idea. I've never been the kind of person who helps a little old lady across the street and then shouts about it from the rooftops. But ... I've gained some perspective and have come to realize that we're not helping anybody by keeping our business strategy--our magic, our yummy recipe--a secret. Our employees wanted me to do it. They are so proud of our culture and our story. We hope that Uncontainable will inspire other businesses and show them that it's possible and joyful to create a business where everyone associated with it thrives.

CRM: What makes The Container Store unique? To what do you attribute its success?

Tindell: We created a segment of the housewares industry--storage and organization--when we opened our first store in Dallas in 1978. Since then, we've been working to delight and inspire our customers with a differentiated, high-service shopping experience. We sell solutions, not products. We sell space, but more importantly time. It's about the promise of an organized life. But it's our employee-first culture that fuels all of that. Treating your employees with affection and respect is not only the right thing to do, it also happens to be the fastest road to success.

CRM: What's the significance of having Foundation Principles rather than strict rules or guidelines at the heart of your business?

Tindell: At The Container Store, every step we take is a reflection of our Foundation Principles. …

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