Supply Chain Now Episode 430

Although Marshall Field had a tremendous work ethic, he was a man of very few words. In fact, he earned the nickname “Silent Marsh,” but chattiness has never been a requirement to be successful in business.”

-Scott Luton on Marshall Field, born on August 18, 1834

The ‘This Week in Business History’ Series on Supply Chain Now shares some of the most relevant business and global supply chain events from years past. It will shine a light on some of the most significant leaders, companies, innovations, and even lessons learned from our collective business history.  This week’s episode touches on Marshall Field, Coco Chanel, The Gap, Barry Gordy Jr., and more!

Scott Luton (00:11):


Scott Luton (00:12):

Good morning, Scott Luton here with you on this edition of this week in business history. Welcome to today’s show on this program, which is part of the supply chain. Now family of programming. We take a look back at the upcoming week, and then we share some of the most relevant events and milestones from years past, of course, mostly business focused with a little dab global supply chain. And occasionally we might just throw in a good story outside of our primary realm. So I invite you to join me on this. Look back in history to identify some of the most significant leaders, companies, innovations, and perhaps lessons learned in our collective business journey. Now let’s dive in to this week in business history.

Scott Luton (01:14):

Hello, and thanks for joining us. I’m your host Scott Luton. And today we are focused on the week of August 17th, but let’s pause for one quick programming it this week in business history is appearing on supply chain. Now it’s main channel today. However, we’ll be back on our own independent podcast channel. Next week, we publish a new episode each Monday. We invite you to join us by searching for this week in business history, wherever you get your podcasts and click subscribe. So you don’t miss a single thing. And for that, we are greatly appreciative. Thanks so much for listening. Now back to the week of August 17th in business history today, we’re going to share a variety of monumental things that took place this week in history across the business world, but especially focusing on retail and radio. That’s what we’ll focus on today. On this week in business history, powered by our team here at supply chain.

Scott Luton (02:12):

Now let’s start with some big news in the world of retail. On August 18th, 1834 Marshall field would be born in Conway. Massachusetts Conway was and still is a small inviting town of a couple thousand residents. It’s located about two hours West of Boston while still a Massachusetts Marshall field would work in a retail store, a dry goods store for the first time, but his life would change dramatically. As adventure was calling Marshall field’s name, he was called to Chicago where one of his brothers had lived Marshall field would gain employment at one of the largest dry goods stores in Chicago. At the time it was called Cooley Wadsworth and company in an interesting turn that would undoubtedly impact Marshall field’s perspective. He arranged to live and sleep in the store later in his career. I’m sure he’d be determined just how to get customers to want to live and sleep in his stores.

Scott Luton (03:15):

Although Marshall field had a tremendous work ethic, he was a man of very few words. In fact, he earned the nickname silent Marsh, but chattiness has never been a requirement to be successful in business in 1865 Marshall field and a business partner named Levi Leiter were invited to join a dry goods establishment that would be renamed field Palmer, lighter and company in less than 20 years, Marshall field would buy out both of the business partners and he changed the name to Marshall field and company, which would incorporate in 1901 customer experience at Marshall fields was very unique for this point in retail history, it was Marshall field who would coin the phrase. The customer is always right, and it was put into practice. For example, customers could return purchases and get their money back. For any reason, Marshall field was an innovation machine. He’d be the first department store to open a cafe.

Scott Luton (04:16):

So customers didn’t have to leave for meals. He was amongst the first retailers to showcase merchandise in the front display windows, free gift wrapping for purchases and the creation of a bargain basement, all hits with the customers and the sensational shopping experience at Marshall fields would drive revenues sky high by the time of Marshall field’s death in 1906 store revenues were some $68 million. And Marshall fields was well known for being very active in the Chicago community, driving a variety of community growth and being very generous with his fortune. After Marshall field passed away, the store expanded and had 24 locations by 1990, when then it was purchased by Dayton Hudson corporation, which would be known as target shortly thereafter. Marshall fields was a game changer that didn’t buy into business as usual. And he was well ahead of his time. Let’s continue in the retail industry.

Scott Luton (05:17):

Here’s we look at this week in business history on August 19th, 1883, Gabrielle Coco Chanel was born into poverty at a charity hospital in France, her mother Jean dye when Coco was 11. So we’re traveling salesman and street peddler father would send Chanel to an orphanage despite the start challenging experience. It was in the orphanage where Coco Chanel would learn to sub in her late teens Chanel would obtain work as a seamstress and would also perform at a local cabaret in 1908. Coco Chanel would meet and begin a longterm relationship with captain Arthur, Edward Capell, which would be an important figure in her life. Over the next few years, Chanel would first enter the world of fashion and design via military, which is also known as hat making. In fact, Coco Chanel would open a small military shop in Deville, France with the financial assistance of Arthur Capell.

Scott Luton (06:21):

She would eventually expand her wares and also offer jackets, sweaters, blouses, and the like Chanel’s designs and unique use of materials would begin to turn heads. In fact, the comfort that her stylist designs offered were unusual in that era, Coco Chanel would coin the phrase, quote, luxury must be comfortable. Otherwise it is not luxury in quote that would certainly be evident in her products. She would soon open a second boutique and Brits a city on the Bay of Biscay in Southwestern France. This new store would be extremely successful and would put Coco Chanel on the math to being the fashion icon and business legend that she is today in 1921, Coco Chanel would launch a new perfume as she was developing the perfume with mr. Earnest Bo it’s been reported that Coco Chanel was presented with a variety of sample since each numbered, one to five and others numbered 20 to 24.

Scott Luton (07:22):

She chose sent number five and allegedly told her master perfumer, mr. Bo, that quote, I present my dress collections on the 5th of May, the fifth month of the year. And so we will let the sample number five, keep the name. It has already, it will bring good luck in quote and bring good luck. It did as Chenelle. Number five in its stylish bottle was a home run and has been for a hundred years. According to NPR, get this one bottle is sold. Every 30 seconds. Coco Chanel would become the first major fashion designer to offer perfume. By the late 1920s, Chanel’s growing enterprise included a textile mill, a jewelry workshop, a perfume laboratory, and her her house employing more than 2000 people at the time across the enterprise and worth millions of dollars already. But with success came a few bad habits. Co-coach note become a habitual drug user by 1935.

Scott Luton (08:26):

In fact, one of her personal favorites was morphine, which she’d use daily until the day she died in 1939 with the outbreak of world war II Chanel would close her couture house, Coco Chanel, stirred controversy during and right after the war with her associations with Nazi, Germany much has been published in recent years that have documented Coco Chanel’s activities and sentiments. In fact, it’s been said that once in Churchill, personally, in order to prevent Chanel from being prosecuted for her activities during world war II, she wouldn’t get back into fashion after the war until 1954, Coco Chanel would pass away in 1971 at the age of 87. But her Mark on fashion had long been made from Jersey fabric to the Chanel suit, to that little black dress and the Chanel bag, all part of Coco Chanel’s legacy. And that legacy lives on as Chanel is a private company with over 300 locations, worldwide and revenue in 2018 of some 11 billion us dollars.

Scott Luton (09:36):

One more quick note on retail on this week in business history, the gap opened its first store on August 21st, 1969 in San Francisco, California currently led by one of the few female CEOs in the fortune 500 Sanya Seagal. The gap has grown into a leading global brand with thousands of locations around the world. Now we’re going to move from retail to radio on August 20th, 1920, one of the first commercial radio stations would begin operations in Detroit. It was called eight M K or the Detroit news radio phone. It carried the news of the day along with vocal performances by various artists, the daily programming, which was pretty much limited to about an hour in the evenings would continue to evolve sooner enough. Sports coverage would make its way into the programming, including the 1920 world series featuring Cleveland and Brooklyn. The station eight MK then was assigned the call letters WBL, but listeners couldn’t make that call sign out clearly.

Scott Luton (10:42):

So the Detroit news newspaper company, the owners of the radio station would petition to the regional radio inspector at the time. Yep. Back in the 1920s, the U S government employed radio inspectors, the Detroit news wanted a new call sign and WW. Jay was born in 1922 after world war II. As the golden age of radio came to an end and television began to soar radio stations had to adopt to the new landscape in 1973. WWJ dropped music altogether as FM radio was gaining in popularity almost 100 years since its first broadcast. WWJ 9:50 AM is now all news and sports serving greater Detroit, AKA the motor city. The station has been quite the pioneer in the world of radio. As some claim. It is the first radio station to broadcast regular news reports. WWJ also was the first to feature regularly scheduled religious broadcasts. And that sports programming that I mentioned earlier will some claim that radio play by play started at WWJ.

Scott Luton (11:53):

But to be fair, there is quite a friendly but serious rivalry between WWJ in Detroit and Katie K a and Pittsburgh, and it centers around who precisely was the first commercial radio station. In fact, even KCBS in San Francisco has thrown their hat in the ring as being the first radio station in an operation, regardless of who is right rest assured that WWJ was a true radio pioneer and has made an impact on the industry. And like lastly, for today in a development also tied to the great American city of Detroit on August 21st, 1961 Motown records would release please, mr. Postman by the Marvelettes, which would become Motown’s first. Number one hit in the U S it’d be the first of about 180 number one hits for the iconic brand. But more than the musical success alone Motown would help a country make progress from a racial and civic standpoint on January 12th, 1959, Barry Gordy jr.

Scott Luton (13:01):

Borrowed $800 from his family and established Motown records corporation and immensely talented individual. Barry was a visionary who at an early age had already established himself as one of the greatest songwriters of his day. Also in 1959, Motown would establish its first headquarters. Hitsville USA located at 26 48 West grand Boulevard in Detroit. It would serve as a fledgling record labels, first recording studio, and it’d be open 22 hours a day. It had to be closed for maintenance from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM each day. Barry Gordy also had an incredible eye and ear for talent in its earliest days, Motown would sign and record some of history’s most talented artists. Smokey Robinson led miracles would be the companies first signing the Supremes, the temptations. In fact, in less than 10 years, Motown’s headquarters would grow considerably due to all the success. The company would have over 450 employees and millions of dollars in revenue Gordy’s experience in the automotive industry.

Scott Luton (14:11):

As strange as that sounds was one of the ingredients in his recipe for success earlier in his career, he had worked on the assembly line at Detroit’s Lincoln mercury automotive plant Gordy said quote, every day I watched how a bare metal frame girling down the line would come off the other end, a spanking brand new car. What a great idea. Maybe I could do the same thing with my music, create a place where a kid off the street could walk in one door and unknown, go through a process and come out the other door. A star in quote, quality control as a staple of the automotive industry and Gordy would quality control to Motown records at Motown Gordy’s quality control involved meetings. Every Friday morning, all the record labels producers would submit their records for consideration. And they’d take a vote to determine which records would be released, ought to be a fly on the wall.

Scott Luton (15:09):

And these Frank passionate weekly discussions, Barry Gordy has said that the quality control via these Friday morning meetings were a big driver of the company’s overall growth and success beyond the music Barry Gordy and Motown would make its important. Mark in other areas, consider this from Danielle ransom at BT quote, the music started out as music for young America, with a primary focus on white America. It was also a leverage for black artists to be seen and heard in an image they had control over during a time where non white representation was nonexistent and black music was vilified in quote and in the 1960s, when the U S was in during one of its most challenging times in its history, the Motown sound was a beautiful unifying element. Barry Gordy would eventually sell his ownership in Motown to MCA in 1988 for $61 million. MCA would sell Motown to Polygram just five years later in 1993 for over $300 million, despite who owns what Motown’s legacy is alive and well, its impact in the music business is arguably not even its greatest contribution to American society.

Scott Luton (16:29):

I like how Barry Gordy himself puts it quote, despite the hostility and racism we faced, we knew we were bringing joy to people. The audiences were segregated. The venues had a rope down the middle of the audience separating blacks from whites, but soon the rope was gone and black kids and white kids were dancing together to the same music. It created a bond that echoed throughout the world in quote, we’ll put mr. Gordy and well done. And that wraps up our look at the week ahead from a business history standpoint, these stories in retail and radio were a few items that stood out our team. There were certainly no shortage of big stories during the week of August 17th and business history. But what stands out to you tell us she just note to We’re here to listen. Ope, you’ve enjoyed our latest edition of this week.

Scott Luton (17:24):

In business history. You can find this program wherever you get your podcasts from be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a single thing. And on that note, be sure to also check out a wide variety of industry thought leadership at supply chain. Now on behalf of them, our team here at this week in business history and supply chain. Now this is Scott Luton wishing all of our listeners, nothing but the best do good give forward and be the that’s needed on that note. We’ll see. Next time here on this week in business history.

Scott Luton (17:54):

Thanks your buddy.

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here:


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