What They’re Thinking: Jack Wayman
There’s nothing about the industry I don’t like, but who in the hell said that we should have retail mark-ups of 20 to 25 percent? With furniture, it’s 100 to 200 percent, women’s clothing close to 500 percent. Who wrote the book that we should be hanging around the 25s and 30s? Who started that and why can’t we stop it? We’ve already underestimated the value and pure pleasure our products give to the consumer. They’re products that really change your lifestyle.
We started having a media spokesperson way back with public services announcements done by Roy Clark and Donna Summers in the ’60s to hype the industry. Then we hired Frank Blair, who used to be on the Today show, a newsman, very erudite guy. We needed a celebrity to get access on the air with a product. In 1987, I said, let me try this. I went out on the road myself.
I’d go to 50 markets each year. I did that for 10 years until (current CEA Spokesman) Jim Barry took over. I got tired of running through airports.
My day now is geared down. I told them, ‘Let me carve out the Rockies. That’s where the wealthy are. I know it by heart.’ I go out three times a year:
Aspen, Vail, Steamboat, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Moab and the top of Sedona. In New York, it’s 28 million people in a 200-mile radius. I do the Greater New York area—western Mass., lower Connecticut, wherever Jim doesn’t go.”