The Container Store’s IPO Shows the Value of Investing in Employees and Customer Experiences

November 3, 2013 — Leave a comment

On Friday, The Container Store went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Its first day share price doubled from $18 to $36. The Container Store is a great example of the long-term financial value of investing in your brand and your people. Many people mistakenly view brand investments as a short-term expense rather than a long-term investment in future value. Great brands are created by people focused on delivering great customer experiences.

The retailer of containers and other household items generated $828 million from the stock sale. At a current store count of 62, it believes it can expand to 300 stores. It would appear that The Container Store’s long term investments in branding and training were wise decisions.


The Container Store is a great example of a brand that has a customer focused purpose and strong core values. Their core values are called The Foundation Principles. The Container Store opened in 1978 in Dallas, Texas with a mix of product designed to simplify people’s lives. They started a new category in retail, that of storage and organization. The Texas-based retailer has been on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work FOR list for 13 consecutive years. The company has demonstrated a strong commitment to putting its employees first. This commitment to employees helps make the stores exciting places to shop. People enjoy shopping there and employees are excited to be working there.

The brand’s core purpose centers on customer service and employee relations. They believe that happy well trained employees help make customer’s experiences positive. Their Foundation Principles are great and well worth reading. I bring them to you courtesy of their website Brands and companies need to take the time to develop their purpose and core values. They need to ensure that their values are lived and practiced every day throughout the organization.

The Container Store’s Seven Foundation Principles are listed below:

1 Great person = 3 good people

We hire only about 3% of all who apply. If you indeed believe that with one great employee, you get three times the productivity of a good employee, you can afford to extensively train them and communicate to them, empower them and pay them 50 to 100% more than what other retailers might pay them.

Communication is Leadership

The Container Store knows the importance of executing every day, 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.

With this guiding sentiment , The Container Store has been successful in creatively crafting mutually beneficial relationships with vendors by doing everything possible to truly “fill their baskets to the brim.” We know that in return, our business and our bottom line will benefit as well.

The Best Selection, Service and Price

Conventional wisdom says that price is mutually exclusive of service and selection. It’s hard for most retailers to offer low pricing and provide exceptional service. A few great retailers have achieved a combination of the best selection and the best service. To add the best price to that equation is generally unheard of, but The Container Store diligently achieves all three simultaneously with this philosophy.

Intuition Does Not Come to An Unprepared Mind

We want our employees to use their intuition — to anticipate the needs of our customers and recommend product solutions… But we know that in order to help employees do this, we have to provide them with the information — the training — to know how best to apply their intuition.

Man in the Desert Selling

We don’t just stop with the obvious. Providing our customers with a complete solution through our Man in the Desert selling philosophy has been key to achieving one of our main goals of having our customers dancing in their organized closet, pantry, home office, etc., because they are so delighted and thrilled with the complete solution we provided them.

Air of Excitement

Three steps in the door and you can tell whether or not a retail store has it. And we know that The Container Store has it! “Air of Excitement” is our employees’ smiling faces and genuine concern for customers’ needs. It’s the bright, visual, innovative and conversation-provoking products we sell. It’s our clean, well-organized shelves. It’s music that is pleasant and speaks to our customers.

Great brands are built by employees inspired by a shared purpose to deliver memorable customers experiences. Wall Street is investing in brands that deliver great customer experiences.

Can you think of another brand or company that puts employees first?


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