10 Great Entrepreneurs Talk about their Start-up Days

crate and barrel, gordon segal
Joshua Kessler
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Gordon Segal on Salesmanship

When Gordon Segal appeared in Inc. in 1985, the founder of the furniture retailer Crate and Barrel was literally running around his store, dashing from associate to associate, preaching they were in the business of selling, not distribution. “This is a business built on personality. Personality and imaginative merchandising,” he told his floor staff. “You’re selling a candlelit dinner by poolside, not a piece of wax on a stick. You’re selling romance, not flatware.” Segal knew getting consumers to buy your plates or wine glasses would take a lot of persuasion, which demands passion and panache from everyone in the company.