From the time I was four years old, I wanted to own the family business. I loved being there. It wasn’t even a hi-fi store then, just a store selling musical instruments and a couple of cameras. I loved retail. I loved being with my dad, great-uncle and grandfather. I just loved everything about it. I even liked sweeping the floors. I was 12 when I started working there.
I went to college at the University of Washington and earned a degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing. After graduating, I spent about a year with Procter & Gamble, selling Folgers coffee and Citrus Hill orange juice to the retail trade community in Los Angeles. At Proctor & Gamble, the most valuable thing I learned was to really understand the customers’ objections, to get to the root of the issue and to do it quickly.
I had 125 accounts. I was seeing 10 to 12 a day, and for each of those accounts, I had to get my whole pitch and make my sales call often in 2 or 3 minutes to someone who was stocking shelves and had little time to meet with me. That was really great training to get to the heart of the issue.