This week the tables are turned on Up in Your Business when Wilson Kanaday interviews host Kerry McCoy!
Wilson Kanaday has been a good friend of Arkansas Flag & Banner for nearly a decade. He and Kerry McCoy became friends through Wilson's various roles working with the ecommerce team at FlagAndBanner.com. Wilson is passionate about the American Dream and loves hearing and telling the stories of people who have lived it. So, naturally Wilson and Kerry formed a bond.
Wilson cut his teeth on Internet Marketing and Technology during his two-year tenure at Stephens Inc. where he worked in Equity Research and Sales & Trading with a focus on the Digital Media industry. Since leaving Stephens, Wilson has worked with companies ranging from Dillard's, WESCO/Carlton Bates, Pandora Jewelry and the WWE along with numerous other small businesses to help them make more money through their websites.
Wilson happily lives in Prairie County with his big family where he thoroughly enjoys himself working in Excel spreadsheets and analyzing data to help businesses make more money. Before coming to Little Rock in 2002 he graduated from Hillsdale College, in Michigan, with Honors in Finance.
Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com
[0:00:03.2] TB: Welcome to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Stay tuned to hear how you can get a copy of this program and other helpful documents. Now, it’s time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.
[0:00:26.7] KM: Thank you Tim. Like Tim said, I’m Kerry McCoy and it’s time for me to get up in your business. Before we start, I want to introduce the people at the table. We have who you just heard from, Tim Bowen, our technician who will be taking your calls and pushing the buttons. Say “Hello”, Tim.
[0:00:38.2] TB: Hello Tim.
[0:00:39.1] KM: Recording our show to make a podcast available next week is our technician Jessie. Thank you Jessie.
[0:00:43.5] JESSIE: No problem.
[0:00:45.0] KM: This show, up in your business with Kerry McCoy began with entrepreneurs in mind, a platform for me, a small business owner and a guest to pay forward our experiential knowledge in a conversational way. As with all new endeavors, it has some unexpected outcomes like the show is not just for entrepreneurs and want to be entrepreneur but for everyone. We’re all inspired by everyday people’s American made stories of how they worked hard, made mistakes, took risks, and found their voice. Another is, that business is created, more so than I ever thought and last behind each of my successful guests is the heart of a teacher.
Joining me today is no exception, Mr. Wilson Kanaday. He teaches people about marketing on the Internet and boy, what a challenge that is Google ad words and google analytics. Have a vocabulary of their very own, making the learning curve extremely challenging. On top of that, he is raising and home schooling 10 — count them, 10 children and hope they’re all listening right now and I promise I’ll behave today, just for you.
If you're just tuning in for the first time, you may be asking yourself, “What’s this lady’s story and why does she have a radio show?” Well, Tim is here to tell you.
[0:02:03.2] TB: Thank you Kerry. Over 40 years ago, with only $400, Kerry McCoy founded Arkansas Flag and Banner, now flagandbanner.com. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed dramatically from door to door sales, to telemarketing, to mail order and catalog sales and now, Flag and Banner relies heavily on the Internet, including our newest feature, live chatting.
Each decade required a change in sales strategy and procedures. Her business and leadership knowledge grew with the time and experience, as well as confidence to branch out into multimedia marketing that began with our nonprofit, Dreamland Ballroom, as well as our in house publication, Brave Magazine, and this very radio show you’re listening to now.
Each week on this show, you’ll hear candid conversations between her and our guest about real world experiences on a variety of business and topics that I hope you’ll find interesting. Kerry says that many business rules like treat your employees well, know your profit margin, and have a succession plan can be applied across most industries. What I find encouraging is her example that hard work pays off.
Did you know that for nine years while starting Flag and Banner, she supplemented her income with many part time jobs? That just shows that her persistence, perseverance and patience, prevailed. Today, Flag and Banner has 10 departments and I have 25 coworkers. It reminds us all that small businesses really are the fuel of our country’s economic engine and they really do empower people’s lives.
If you would like to ask Kerry a question or share your experience or story, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[0:03:47.9] KM: Why, thank you Tim. I know I said this last week, which was that show was not going to be like any other show and it wasn’t. Last week, after a year and a half of being on the air, we had our first returning guest, Maxi Dominguez of — I’m going to say it right, Raiz Apparel.
[0:04:07.1] TB: Raiz, you got it.
[0:04:08.9] KM: I did it, I wish I had done it when he was on the show. He came back last week, Maxi did, and gave us an insightful monologue about his past year’s entrepreneurial journey. I think that guy’s an old soul. Y’all think that?
[0:04:22.2] TB: Absolutely.
[0:04:23.4] KM: I do too. People, if you didn’t hear this young man or if you’re at a fork in the road in your career and contemplating taking another path, you should go and listen to Maxi Dominguez of Raiz Apparel. Our episode number 77 and hear what he has to say. It was really insightful. There are lots of ways you can do that, you can go to flagandbanner.com and click on the radio show or you can subscribe through iTunes, sound cloud or your favorite podcast app by searching for flagandbanner.com.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I’m going to say it again, today’s show is not going to be like any other show. If you signed up for our UIYB e-blast at upyourbusiness.org then you already know today, I am the interviewee. My friend and coworker Wilson Kanaday is here and he is going to be the interviewer.
[0:05:17.6] WK: Hi folks.
[0:05:19.7] KM: This all came about one day while he and I were yacking it up in the office and having a gay old time of it. Someone, I think it was you Wilson, said, “Kerry, we should interview you on the radio show,” and boom, that’s how today’s episode was hatched. Before we start, I want to tell our listeners a little bit about you Wilson. He’s mad about this.
All right listeners, I’m going to paint you a picture on the radio. I have never seen Wilson in anything but blue jeans, he has a full head of what used to be red hair that will never see because he always wears a baseball cap on backwards. He is smart, crazy smart with numbers and he’s an Excel spreadsheet guru. He’s a graduate from the uber conservative, Hillsdale College in Michigan with Honors in Finance. For about two years, he worked as an analyst for Stevens Inc. in Little Rock, Arkansas but couldn’t conform to the daily grind of corporate America and went on his own. Imagine that.
From his home on the Arkansas Prairie, he freelances from numerous small businesses such as mine and for some really big ones like Dillards, West Co. Carlton Bates, Pandora Jewelry and the WWE. His specialty is navigating a monster platform for Google AdWords and Analytics to help his clients make more money from their website.
I said, Wilson was crazy smart but he’s also just plain old crazy. Listen to this part of his life. Hh is a homesteader, Bordering on a prepper. I never knew what a prepper was until I met you. Tell everybody what a prepper is?
[0:06:59.4] WK: I’m not sure how I define it right now. People who are prepared for the worst or prepared for different situations.
[0:07:06.9] KM: Lives out in the woods, prepping for the end.
[0:07:10.2] WK: You know what’s better than a good neighbor?
[0:07:11.8] KM: What?
[0:07:12.2] WK: No neighbor.
[0:07:15.5] KM: He’s a cynic too. I didn’t put that in there but I should.
[0:07:18.7] WK: It’ll show up.
[0:07:20.2] KM: He has two or three beautiful children from his saintly wife that he sired and together, they adopted, in an effort to keep the brothers and sisters together, get ready, he adopted a family of seven children with the oldest being 14 at the time I think when you adopted them.
[0:07:36.7] WK: It’s all fuzzy.
[0:07:38.1] KM: It has been a while.
[0:07:38.5] WK: Yeah.
[0:07:38.5] KM: I am pleased to say, it all worked out, they are happy, healthy and of course, home schooled because that’s what he does. From the stories he tells me, they are also lucky to have each other. But I’m not a Pollyanna, I know it’s not paradise out there with kids, I have four myself. It is a pleasure to welcome to the table, my polar opposite on all social views. You and I might not even go to vote because we just –
[0:08:09.8] WK: Cancel each other out.
[0:08:10.4] KM: Thank you.
[0:08:10.9] WK: Yes.
[0:08:11.6] KM: A contributing American citizen who is not just running his mouth but doing something about it. My coworker, my friend and today’s interviewer, Mr. Wilson Kanaday.
[0:08:22.0] WK: Thank you for the introduction, that was great.
[0:08:24.3] KM: You want to change chairs since you’re interviewing me and I’m interviewing you?
[0:08:27.6] WK: We’ll theoretically change chairs.
[0:08:30.4] KM: I just like to make Tim and Jesse jump around and try to have to go test, test, one, two.
[0:08:35.1] TB: It would be difficult to do live.
[0:08:36.9] KM: I know, it would be difficult to do live, we’d have to make all of our listeners kind of — torture…
[0:08:42.8] WK: They can pretend we –
[0:08:44.6] KM: All right, shuffle around. We just changed chairs. Okay, what’s your first question Wilson?
[0:08:50.8] WK: So, I got everything we’re doing cleared with legal. I think we’re good.
[0:08:53.7] KM: That legal means your children?
[0:08:55.2] WK: We’re not getting in trouble for what happens here today.
[0:08:57.3] KM: Who’s your legal counsel?
[0:08:59.2] WK: Don’t worry about that.
[0:08:59.9] KM: 10 children?
[0:09:00.6] WK: Yes, pretty much. Pretty much. You are on speaker when I was on the phone with you this morning by the way. So it’s not like you have to edit anything just for them.
[0:09:09.1] KM: I don’t even know what we said. All right, good.
[0:09:11.4] WK: We won’t repeat it here. This is awesome, I’m just thrilled to be here, thrilled to get your story out. I want that to be the focus of everything we’re doing today. Let’s go back to the very beginning. You’ve got all the boiler plate that we hear at the beginning of every show, people are familiar with, so I want to dive in sort of at a different level. It’s 1975, how old are you?
[0:09:32.4] KM: 20 years old?
[0:09:33.8] WK: 20 years old. You start with a single product, just the basic American flag. Am I right?
[0:09:40.3] KM: Correct.
[0:09:40.5] WK: Why that?
[0:09:41.4] KM: Well, I’d been working for a company in Dallas, Texas called Betsy Ross Flag Girls. I ended up working for them, well, you know, it kind of really started in high school, I wasn’t very good in high school so I graduated, barely, from high school because I missed so many days because I skipped a lot of school.
[0:10:03.1] WK: I’m a high school dropout.
[0:10:05.1] KM: Oh, I know that about you. Why are entrepreneurs, a lot of us high school dropouts? I don’t know, I hear that a lot. Did you know that Jenifer Lawrence, the movie star actress, doesn’t even have a GED?
[0:10:17.5] WK: Man, I’m ahead of her.
[0:10:18.8] KM: She quit in 10th grade and went to Hollywood.
[0:10:21.6] WK: Man, I wish somebody told me about it in the sixth grade. It would have saved a lot of people a lot of heartache.
[0:10:26.5] KM: Shh, don’t say that. Already, it’s bad. Get your education, you need an education. All right. My brother and sister, I’m the youngest of three and my brother and sister went off to school. They went off to college and my sister was an accountant. One of the — a female accountant back then, which is very rare because my mother kind of told me when I went off to college, she said, “You can be a secretary, a nurse, or teacher.”
I don’t know how my sister ended up an accountant. They just all sounded awful but I picked secretary and I went to college for a semester and I was just terrible at it just like I was in high school. It was just kind of just continued – so I came home and I became a telephone operator for Southwestern Bell when I was 18 years old and you are tethered to a switch board just like they see in the old movies, you know? With those cables.
I did that for about six months and thought, “I’m going to kill myself if I have to do this the rest of my life.”
[0:11:21.2] WK: You were actually working the cables.
[0:11:22.6] KM: I was pulling those cords. I know, isn’t that a long time ago?
[0:11:26.0] WK: Yeah.
[0:11:28.8] KM: You couldn’t even get up from your desk without raising your hand and somebody had to come and plug into your port and I mean, you couldn’t move. We worked in four hour shifts and I thought, “I’m going to die.” It was the best paying job with the best benefits and the best union and everybody was like, “You’ve got a great job, you need to keep it,” and I just couldn’t do it.
So I came home really upset again and my mother — I loved clothes all my life so my mother said, in the back of your 17 Magazine, there’s a school, a vot tech school, kind of before vo tech schools were popular and said, “Why don’t you go to the school in Dallas, Texas? It’s one year and their focus is on fashion merchandising.” I was scared to death go to another school but I said, “Okay.” So I packed up and I went to Dallas and I lived in these apartments with girls and we took a bus over to the Apparel Mart and we went to school actually in the Apparel Because it was a vo tech school, it moved really slow. Because it was for 18 — for kids that have graduated from high school, we had a lot of college courses. But instead of doing them in three months, we took a year to do it. So I took accounting 101 but we did it over 12 months. I learned it, we did everything in the class room instead of having to go home and read it and do it out of the classroom, which I was not good at reading. I mean, I guess I’m dyslexic or something.Then we took first year of law, you know, first year marketing, we took all this first year stuff and I graduated straight A’s. I thought, “Oh, awesome, I’m pretty smart,” and I was working two jobs there and so I thought, well, when I graduate, I’ll just go to work for Neiman Marcus since I was already working for Neiman Marcus and Sanger-Harris. Two department stores, really big and I thought, “I’ll go there and be buyer.” Well the recession of 1974 hit and gas lines were around the corner and you couldn’t get – people were not eating out, people were not buying clothes.
[0:13:22.3] WK: People have no imagination for this now.
[0:13:24.4] KM: What do you mean?
[0:13:25.1] WK: Like gas lines and nobody eating out. Has it ever been like that? Have you seen it like that since?
[0:13:32.1] KM: No, I have never seen – because there’s no way we would have been getting hair extensions and fake fingernails if we were poor back then. I mean, you see poor people with fake fingernails and hair extensions and new jeans and, you know? I don’t know. We don’t really know what it’s like to really not have stuff. To really not have stuff, you know? I’m not giving up my hair appointments myself either, I know. It ain’t happening. I mean –
[0:14:01.0] WK: You’re cutting the food budget way before that.
[0:14:02.2] KM: I cut the food budget before I won’t go get my hair appointment, I’m sorry. Anyway.
[0:14:10.9] WK: You’re in that time and you’re looking around, the economy sort of tanking, you thought you were going to be a buyer in the market.
[0:14:17.4] KM: I’m not going home. I’m not going back to Little Rock. I am not going back home again, I’ve already done that after college, I’m like, “I am not going to be that person that keeps running back home.” So I got to Snelling and Snelling and employment agency and get me a job selling flags for this man called Betsy Ross Flag girl, that’s still in existence today, Jack Casey, and I went there and I’m scared to death and I was probably 19 now or maybe just barely 20.
I only worked there six months and this lady taught me all about the flag business and then after about two weeks of you know, learning about American flags and state flags and the different fabrics and the different sizes, she just turned around to a map on the wall and pointed to it and said, “All right, go out to Irving, Texas, this part of Dallas and drive around every time you see a flag pole, go in and tell them, ask them if they want a flag.” Because flags wear out every six months to a year. So I just drove out there in my little Camaro and started selling flags door to door and I was so frigging scared. I can’t even tell you how scared I was. I mean, I’m walking in.
[0:15:22.7] WK: Well, that’s not secretary or teacher or any of the things that your mother outlined for you. That’s sales, that’s getting out and –
[0:15:30.6] KM: I think a lot of sales people might be dyslexic or something because we have to learn to make money another way because we can’t sit at a desk. If I could have been those other things, I absolutely would have taken that safer route. I mean, if I could have been a great secretary and typed like my girlfriend 110 words a minute, I’d have done that in a New York minute. I just couldn’t. You just had to, and I wasn’t going to ask my mother and dad for money. I mean, you just didn’t do that, you know?
[0:15:54.7] WK: So you felt necessity. Like, “This has to work.”
[0:15:57.7] KM: Yes, because my mother and father were not rich and they – you know, mother was going to give me money then that means she was not going to not get a new pair of shoes, you know? So I wasn’t going to do all that. I was going to have to make it work and so I just started going door to door and back then, you had purchasing agents. Everybody had a purchasing agent and you didn’t call them up back then, you didn’t email them back then, you walked in the front door.
So you got to see all these purchasing agents, you just walk into the secretary because we actually had secretary – receptionist rather, that answer the front and you said, “I’m here,” I was Kerry Krause back then. “I’m Kerry Krause, with Betsy Ross Flag Girls and I sell flags for a living. Is your purchasing agent here? I saw yours were worn out outside.” She said, “Oh just about.” So she’d call me in there and he’d come out and he’d ask me in the back room and pin me against the wall and I’d run out the back door. No, I’m just kidding.
[0:16:50.5] WK: No, we’re going to come back to that. That’s a layer section there. I think that was a shoot comment right there.
[0:16:58.5] KM: You know, I look back now, I got to see a lot of male purchasing agents because I was cute and young and naïve and it was fine. I sold a lot of flags but after about six months, I was like, my roommate I was living with, she was moving home and what else? I don’t know, you know, the rose had fallen off the bloom, is that it? Is that the way you say that?
[0:17:25.7] WK: Yeah. Good one.
[0:17:26.7] KM: I just didn’t have anybody left in Dallas. Everybody from school had gone different directions and so I thought, “Well I’m going to go home.” I ended up going home with my tail between my legs after all, when I got there, I said to my mother, “Mother, what am I going to do?” She said, “Kerry,” – no, actually, I went home to see my brother get married and when I was home, I was kind of down in the mouth and she said, “Why don’t you move home?” I said, “I can’t do that.” She said, “Come on!” I said, “What would I do?” She said, “We'll start a flag company here,” and I said, “Could we do that?” My mother and father were small business owners. My dad was a bill collector and my father owned A1 Ambulance in North Little Rock, which is a whole other story. But anyway, they knew a little bit about small businesses and so mother said –
[0:18:09.9] WK: So you kind of had an example? You didn’t think you needed to be a corporate career type because of your parents?
[0:18:15.4] KM: You know, they would have liked for me to.
[0:18:16.7] WK: Yeah.
[0:18:17.5] KM: You know, being a small business owner, dad had good years and bad years, and good years and bad years. You know how that is?
[0:18:22.1] WK: Yes.
[0:18:22.5] KM: Preach. You know how that is.
[0:18:24.8] WK: We’re all tied on that.
[0:18:25.8] KM: Mom said, “Well just – while you’re home, why don’t you call the secretary of state’s office and call the school board and find out where they’re buying flags?” So I did, I called around and they said, “From California.” I told mother and she said, “Well, you go back and find out where to buy flags from and come back here and start your own flag company,” and I said, “Can I do that?” She said, “It cost $50 to get a license at the city of Little Rock to start a business, that’s all you need.” I had $400 in the savings and I said, “Okay.”
So I went back and did that and when I came back, I called, she said, “You need to call this business woman in North Little Rock, Irma Dumas who owned Irma Dumas Dress Shop.” She said, “Ask her – ask her for advice,” and so I called her up and I told her who I was and told her I was wanting to start a business and did she have any advice and I had no idea what she said.
It was the first time I ever picked up the phone and really made a good cold call. That was another huge leap, to pick up the phone and make a good cold call. Walking in cold off the street, learning to use the phone to make cold calls, those were important things.
[0:19:29.0] WK: You used to be intimidated to do these kinds of things?
[0:19:34.6] KM: Everybody’s intimidated.
[0:19:35.9] WK: No, no, no people who meet you now can’t fathom it.
[0:19:40.7] KM: I almost didn’t graduate from high school because I couldn’t stand up and make a speech in speech class. The first time I had to stand up in a business room and say to people, they were like, “Go around the room and everybody stand up and tell who they are,” and I was like, “Oh my god!” My hands are sweating so bad and my arm pits were so wet, I stood up here as I said, “I’m Kerry McCoy and I own Arkansas Flag and Banner.” It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done.
[0:20:06.0] WK: I’m kind of rocked back a little bit right now. I’m dead serious.
[0:20:10.6] KM: Oh my gosh.
[0:20:11.4] WK: So I’m going to have to come off script because here’s this like girl who can’t do anything.
[0:20:17.6] KM: I could do something.
[0:20:18.4] WK: Yeah, you could do something but like you couldn’t, you were scared to call and show up.
[0:20:23.3] KM: Everybody is scared to do that when they’re young. Everybody.
[0:20:26.1] WK: When we see people like you now, we think it’s natural and it’s been that way all their life. So how on earth did you get from that girl there, did your personality change?
[0:20:37.0] KM: Everybody’s personality changes every 10 years. I was a mother for one decade, I was a 20 year old have a good time girl for one decade.
[0:20:46.9] WK: We’re going to avoid those stories.
[0:20:48.8] KM: I was a 30 year old mother of four and a 40 actually have my last kid at 40-ish. In 40’s. Business woman, everybody changes all the time. I mean, now, I’m the matriarch. When you’re 20, did you ever think you were going to be a matriarch of a family and now I’m a matriarch of a family. They called me up and ask me questions and I’m like, “Oh my god. Somebody wants my advice?” I used to do that to my mother but she’s gone now.
[0:21:17.2] WK: So your mother basically said, “Hey, it’s $50.” You felt like she believed in you when she said that?
[0:21:23.6] KM: My mom and dad always believed in all their kids.
[0:21:26.8] WK: Because you have certain people who are sort of having a chip on their shoulder. Like, “I’m going to show them.” Then you have other people who seemed to be motivated by, “Well, I’ve got great support and so I can just let it rip.” You’re more in the great support, let it rip category?
[0:21:40.5] KM: No, mother never went to one PTA meeting, she never darkened the door of one school I was ever at.
[0:21:46.8] WK: But she believed in you on this business side?
[0:21:48.9] KM: My mother — what’s those people that are scared to go out of their house called?
[0:21:50.9] WK: I don’t know.
[0:21:51.6] TB: Agoraphobic.
[0:21:52.6] KM: My mother was an agoraphobic. He does do that, he thinks of words for me all the time. That was Tim, y’all. My mother was agoraphobic and actually in her 60’s had to take that drug pixel or something to go out of the house. So I think my mother pushed me out in front of her a lot because my mother was agoraphobic, maybe.
She never pushed us kids to really do anything. They never really told us we were great, ever. It was just, every day, we just got up and did whatever we had to do. I guess there was this sense of responsibility in our family where I look at other people’s parents sometimes and I’m like, “Wow, I had really just nice, normal parents. They weren’t any way — there’s not one word to describe any of them other than just good people. They weren’t anything.” We’ve got to take a break.
[0:22:39.2] WK: Awesome.
[0:22:40.3] KM: All right, Tim, do you want to take a break and come –
[0:22:42.7] TB: I believe we should.
[0:22:44.7] KM: All right, let me tell everybody who we are. We’ll continue our conversation with me, Kerry McCoy, President and Founder of Arkansas Flag and Banner and Wilson Kanaday, a self-made man and a freelance Google Analyst Expert, who is interviewing me and at the bottom of the hour, which is like five minutes away, we’ll take calls so listen and get your questions ready.
[0:23:02.8] TB: You’re listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. If you miss any part of the show or you want to learn more about Up In Your Business. Go to flagandbanner.com, and click “radio show”. Or subscribe through YouTube, iTunes, SoundCloud or your favorite podcast step, simply by searching flagandbanner.com. Lots of listening options, we’ll be right back.
[0:23:26.8] AM: Arkansas Flag and Banner is proud to underwrite Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. McCoy began this broadcast a year and a half ago with the intention of offering a mentoring platform for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Through candid conversation and interesting interviews with business and community minded Arkansans, listeners gain insight into starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk taking, and the commonalities of successful people.
Kerry McCoy, Founder and President of Arkansas Flag and Banner, believes in paying knowledge and experience forward and developed this radio show as a means of doing so. The biographies, life experiences, and wisdom of her guests would likely go unheard if not for this venue. Rarely do people open up for an hour to an audience about their life, mistakes, triumphs, and pitfalls. This unique radio show allows the listener intimate access into the stories of prominent leaders in our state.
I am Adrienne McNally, Manager of the Arkansas Flag and Banner Showroom and Gift Shop, located on the first floor of the historic Taborian Hall on the corner of 9th and State streets in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. In business for 43 years, we offer an old school shopping experience with front door parking, clerks to help you, and department store variety. Open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 to 5:30 and Saturday, 10 to 4.
[0:24:53.2] KM: You’re listening to up in your business with me Kerry McCoy. I’m speaking today with Wilson Kanaday, a self-made man and a freelance Google Analyst Expert. Today, we flipped the format of this show and my guest Wilson is interviewing me, Kerry McCoy, Founder and President of Arkansas Flag and Banner, AKA flagandbanner.com.
Wilson, we haven’t even gotten to 20 yet. I got 40 more years to go.
[0:25:12.7] WK: I know, we’re going to have cover some serious ground.
[0:25:14.2] KM: I’m sorry. I’m just a talker.
[0:25:16.7] WK: I know. I’m going to have to cut you off.
[0:25:19.6] KM: That’s bad news.
[0:25:21.8] WK: Okay, let’s just – you’re selling flags in Little Rock.
[0:25:24.9] KM: I’ve moved back.
[0:25:26.3] WK: When did you realize you had something? When did this go from, “Hey, I can pay the bills,” to, “Hey, I should build a business.”
[0:25:30.3] KM: Nine years after the business was in business. After the business was in business for nine years. I came back and got my city permit and started selling flags door to door in the day and then at night, I got a waitress job and I started waiting tables. My father and mother had this little, had a new business that they had gotten.
It was called Radar Sonics and they were making depth finders for boats. So they had this, kind of an assembly line and I would bring home parts and they would let me work on parts and they would pay me piece meal work. So I had a cocktail waitress, a piece meal job, and then I started cooking and catering out of my house and selling my food to people that were catering and stuff so that I could make more money.
[0:26:12.5] WK: Nine years, we get to the mid-80’s?
[0:26:15.4] KM: Well, my daughter was born in 79. Yeah. I’m doing all this when she’s born, we’re doing all of that. Well, actually, when we first started the business, I rented out of my father’s shop. He had a secretary at the front door and so he told me I could keep the last line, there were three lines coming in and he said — and I still have the number today that he gave me 375-7633.
It was the last line on his three lines, push button lines that he had and if a number rolled over. So if you could have three phone calls, it would roll over to that line. If someone just called in on that line, his secretary would answer the phone and say, “Arkansas Flag and Banner,” and then he’d say, “She’s out selling right now. I’ll have her call you back.” So I actually did that with him for years. Then, when my daughter was born in '79, I moved it into my house and they invented the year my daughter was born, they invented those answering machines.
[0:27:09.5] WK: Oh yeah, tapes.
[0:27:12.2] KM: Tapes, and I had one of the very first answering machine I think ever sold in Little Rock, probably. I did. Or one of them. I ran down and got that sucker and put that on and I could, you know.
[0:27:24.0] WK: The world is so much different now?
[0:27:26.6] KM: Oh my gosh, and changes every 10 years so much.
[0:27:30.5] WK: But socially, here you are, you’re a young woman and you’re starting a business. Arkansas is not at the cutting edge of progressive culture. Were there advantages to being in Arkansas and trying to do this and were there disadvantages to being in Arkansas and being a woman trying to start a business?
[0:27:51.7] KM: The advantage of being in Arkansas is it really is the land of opportunity. You’re a big fish in a small pond. So it’s easier to make mistakes and to grow and to fill niches that are not filled. I mean, you couldn’t go to New York and try to sell flags because there would be five companies already up there doing it, that had years of experience.
So it was really great that it was a wide open clean slate for me to start doing that, to start selling flags. Then, it was also in the 70’s. So I was a quota. Females, women’s lib was big and females were – people were having to meet quotas. So I was a woman-owned business.
[0:28:32.9] WK: People almost had to buy from you?
[0:28:34.3] KM: Well, they didn’t have to but they loved it. There was nowhere else to buy in Arkansas anyway and then they get to check the woman owned box that, “Hey, Kent Robinson is buying flags from a woman owned business. I get to check that box.” All these government entities were like, “This is a good — she’s a good quota, she’s one of my quotas.”
Then the other thing is, I got to buy a house when I was in my very early 20’s like 21 and single. I got to buy a house, a single woman got to buy a house because I met a quota and they were trying to have single women buy houses because I don’t really think women really could much before that. So in a lot of ways, the timing was perfect, being a female was perfect, and when I sent out letters I didn’t realize this but my name, Kerry, is a boy’s spelling for that name and I didn’t know that and so a lot of people would think I was a man if I worked with letters and we worked with letters back then.
[0:29:29.1] WK: So you kind of get some benefit of the doubt and then you got a different benefit of the doubt.
[0:29:33.1] KM: I just played the angle which every way I needed to.
[0:29:35.9] WK: So you never took it as a negative. You’re like, “Oh this is harder because I’m a woman.”
[0:29:42.0] KM: Never.
[0:29:43.4] WK: Never.
[0:29:44.1] KM: It never crossed my mind. It never crossed my mind.
[0:29:48.3] WK: That’s astounding. I mean, I’m not saying that’s astounding about you in general but just the –
[0:29:53.2] KM: I never found any – the only real handicap I ever had in my whole life was my inability to do school well and I am fine with that now. That, you know —
[0:30:06.6] WK: But let’s talk about that. I mean look at where you are now and some of the stories you told earlier, what value do you put on college?
[0:30:13.9] KM: Well, I tried to get all my kids to go do a year of college before they – I mean a year of work before they went to college and, you know, and all you’ve got to do is say that and they’ll do the opposite. So they all went straight into college and all graduated and did really good. If I had said, “You have to go to college,” then none of them would have gone.
[0:30:32.8] WK: Yeah they’d still be backpacking through Europe.
[0:30:34.4] KM: They’d still, I know. But I was like, “Why don’t you take a year off and figure out who you are and then go to college?” They’re like, “Nope got to go straight into college.” So no, I love college. I think college is fine, but I don’t like it when you want to be 30 years old and you keep going back to school and you keep going back to school and then you go in and you try to apply for a job and they say, “What’s your experience?” and you say, “Well I’m a professional student. I’ve been a student my whole life.”
You know give us some experience. I want some experiential knowledge that you’ve gained. There is just some things you cannot learn in the classroom. So after my daughter was born, I moved it into my house and right about that time the Lillian Vernon Catalog became popular.
[0:31:12.7] WK: Gotcha. Well, I hate to skip ahead, but we’ve got limited time.
[0:31:14.4] KM: Oh okay. All right, all right.
[0:31:16.7] WK: 1995.
[0:31:18.4] KM: 1995.
[0:31:19.7] WK: The way I understand it you go to a luncheon that is hosted by Aristotle.
[0:31:23.1] KM: No, it’s hosted by the college, University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
[0:31:26.4] WK: Okay, it was hosted by the University. Who stood up and talked about the Internet there?
[0:31:30.2] KM: I don’t remember but I was in a round table sitting next to Marla Johnson from Aristotle and she started telling me about this crazy thing called the Internet and I knew –
[0:31:41.2] WK: She might have even said like information super highway or something ridiculous.
[0:31:44.4] KM: I’m sure she did.
[0:31:47.1] WK: I mean, you know, World Wide Web.
[0:31:45.4] KM: Well it was back then.
[0:31:47.1] WK: I know, remember when it used to be like the fibers did the graphics like the road and the little data pieces where the car is going down. I mean, it was all hokey but we didn’t know what we were talking about, so it worked. So 1995 you get this idea of the Internet. What was said to you in ’95 where you’re like, “Oh this is what I got to do”? Because it was not what everybody was doing at the time. There were still Yellow Pages.
[0:32:09.9] KM: She just start talking or we all started talking, somebody else at the table was talking about how people would just go onto your computer and they will type in these things they want and search for it and then up it will pop and I was like, I was already doing $11,000 a year in Yellow Page ads. Flags and banners are flags. So flags are a specialty item. You cannot walk in anywhere to a store and go, “I think I’ll buy a flag.” I mean you can now at Walmart. But back then a little bit only around the 4th of July.
But if you want a flag, you have to search for it. So at the time everybody was searching for the – was using the Yellow Pages. So we were in Yellow Pages all over the United States, everywhere we could afford to put up our name, we were doing that. Part of the reason we named Arkansas Flag and Banner “Arkansas Flag and Banner” with an A is –
[0:33:04.2] WK: Because it moves you to the front.
[0:33:06.0] KM: Because it moves you to the top and my mother said, “You want to try to have a name that starts with an A.”
[0:33:11.8] WK: Yeah, triple A flags, I mean that’s what people would do back in the Yellow Pages.
[0:33:16.4] KM: That’s exactly right. So I was Arkansas Flag and Banner, it moved me to the top of the page whenever I ran a Yellow Page ad and when she said – I’d already figured out that people search for my product then they find it and I defined it as a specialty product and then when she said they’re going to search this computer, their computers to find flags, to find anything I was like, “This is the next way I am going to reach customers.”
So I went back and I called her and she originally named – she named Arkansas Flag and Banner, she taught me so much stuff. I was like, “What’s the difference between email?” I mean she’s like you trying to explain to people Google AdWords language. She was trying to explain to me Internet language in 1995. I couldn’t even understand it.
[0:34:04.8] WK: Well, there were naysayers too. Like in ’95 there are people who said, “This is a fad and it’s going to go away and it’s a stupid investment.”
[0:34:11.1] KM: There were? There were people that said, “No one will ever shop one because it because they’ll never have security.”
[0:34:15.4] WK: Yeah, “I will never give a credit card. Absolutely not.”
[0:34:17.2] KM: Well, the very first website we did was just a Yellow Page ad. There was no shopping cart on it. She named the company “Flag-Banner” it costs $20,000 in 1995 to put up a Yellow Page ad basically four to five pages and their company did the whole thing. I couldn’t even fathom what I was supposed to do. I know I wanted to do something, she named it “Flag-Banner” she took my catalog and she made a beautiful landing page and back then you make these landing pages that were this entry level pages. You know, you didn’t have any content on it. It was just a pretty graphic and you clicked on which department you want to go to. Like, “I want to go to the flags,” and then you went to the flag’s page and you read the content.
[0:35:02.8] WK: But $20 grand, how big of a risk is that?
[0:35:05.1] KM: Oh my god, it damn near bankrupted me and nobody was buying and then we did another one within a year with a shopping cart and couldn’t get that to work worth a crap and then we did another. I mean probably all the way until about 1998 I think I put a second mortgage on my house actually. Or no, no I think I went to the bank and took a mortgage on the Arkansas – I don’t remember what I did. It’s been so long ago.
But anyway I had to go, we almost bankrupted trying to figure the Internet out and trying for the users to catch up to us because they were not – just like the naysayers were saying, they were not ready for this and I was ready, Marla was ready. We had done probably three renditions of the website, you know, frames and Java, I don’t even remember.
[0:35:51.2] WK: Yeah but all the mess, yeah.
[0:35:53.2] KM: All that, they loaded wherein and it was all done in frames one time and then we put the shopping carts on and the shopping carts are not good and they won’t link to your accounting package so you have to go retype every dadgum order that came in.
[0:36:07.3] WK: Yeah but luckily you weren’t getting any so that’s not much of a problem. Don’t solve problems you don’t have, you know?
[0:36:13.0] KM: I’d like to. I remember the day we sold $200. I remember Wendy Ross was working for me, she ran and she goes, “We’ve sold $200! We sold $200 on the shopping cart.” It’s like –
[0:36:21.0] WK: Yeah, great that means I can pay you for like three months ago, you know? Check’s on the way, don’t worry.
[0:36:27.0] KM: I really thought we’d hit the jackpot though.
[0:36:29.0] WK: But you have – okay, you have this gut feel and how did you manage a lot on your gut feel?
[0:36:35.8] KM: Yes, this radio show is a gut feel. I love this radio show. You heard this story about this radio show and how it came about?
[0:36:43.9] WK: Yes, I know and I have been in the background talking to your staff the whole time telling them, “I think this is nuts, but here I am.”
[0:36:50.3] KM: This radio show?
[0:36:51.4] WK: Yes, I am one of your naysayers. I was, I was. Obviously I am here now.
[0:36:55.4] KM: You? Why does everybody naysay everything I do?
[0:37:00.1] WK: Why do you do everything you do? I mean, there needs to be some balance. There needs to be dadgum anchor somewhere with this sales, you know? You know I am being sort of flippant, but you have this gut feelings and you follow them and you are not destitute. How’s that?
[0:37:14.2] KM: They don’t all work. I tried to open up a restaurant one time called Splatter Platters when everybody used to be splattering everything with paint, and they were going in and they were splattering plates and splattering walls and splattering tables and I wanted to open up a restaurant called Splatters and I made up a menu where you could serve —
[0:37:32.2] WK: What year was this?
[0:37:33.0] KM: — splatter platters and we were going to –
[0:37:34.6] WK: What year? Give me some context.
[0:37:37.7] KM: Okay.
[0:37:38.5] WK: 2014?
[0:37:39.5] KM: Shit, no.
[0:37:46.9] WK: So when was Splatter Platters coming along?
[0:37:49.2] KM: Well, it was before I bought the Taborian Hall downtown, which everybody thought I had gone bonkers to buy the Taborian Hall downtown and that damn near bankrupted me too, but it didn’t in the long run.
[0:37:59.6] WK: How many near bankruptcy stories do you have? Because you have mentioned three in the last 45 seconds.
[0:38:03.5] KM: I have three that I can think of right off the bat so that means probably four. I can think of three. I’ve refinanced my house twice, I refinanced the Taborian Hall once and I have borrowed money from my mother once.
[0:38:15.4] WK: People don’t understand that. Everybody looks at people who are in positions like you are, they see the building, they see the advertisements, I mean I am not exactly sure what you drive but they see the car and you just think it all —
[0:38:26.5] KM: I just drive a Chrysler.
[0:38:27.4] WK: But you think it all works.
[0:38:29.6] KM: Oh I know. That’s why you need this radio show, so that people can hear that it is a struggle forever but it’s worth it. It’s so worth it.
[0:38:39.1] WK: Why is it worth it? So one of my favorite quotes is Friedrich Nietzsche and I am going to butcher it because I’m live, “He who has a why can endure any how.”
[0:38:49.6] KM: I don’t even know what that means.
[0:38:51.3] WK: If you have a reason why you’re going to do something, you can endure any how that it has to be. Like if you have this goal and I tell you you’ve got to run a marathon to get to it, you’ll go run the doggone marathon. Whereas if it just like, “Go run a marathon,” you’re like, “I’m not going to do that.”
[0:39:04.9] KM: That is too deep for me.
[0:39:06.2] WK: But, what was your why? Why did you do this? Why didn’t you just fold up and go home?
[0:39:10.5] KM: I don’t think that a lot of entrepreneurs think about the why’s as much as they are creative. I think it has to do with creativity and I didn’t realize that until about two years ago, actually until we started this radio show and I found out that these people that are creative cannot stop creating stuff and that business is creative and you create businesses and creating businesses is fun.
[0:39:30.3] WK: Creative people fail all the time and create garbage too.
[0:39:34.0] KM: Well, they need to listen to me and call me and I’ll tell them what to do.
[0:39:38.3] WK: No doubt. No doubt.
[0:39:41.2] KM: In fact, I was getting acupuncture yesterday from Michelle Joplin who was on here not too long ago. She said, “Kerry, you got to help me,” and she started asking me all these question and I am laying there with the thing over my eyes and she’s sticking the needles in my feet and legs and she had this simple – her solution to her problem was so incredibly simple. Raise your prices $5. Do you know how many entrepreneurs including myself never raise their prices over 10 years and I did that for 10 years, I never raised my prices for 10 years.
[0:40:13.6] WK: Because you didn’t think about it, or you didn’t have the nerve?
[0:40:15.6] KM: I didn’t have the nerve and somebody came in, a mentor came in and said, “You are losing money every year. Your sales maybe going up but you are losing your profit because everything has gone up around you and you are not keeping up with inflation,” and I said, “Nobody will buy from me if I raise prices.” He said, “That is in your head. You are crazy,” and I raised my prices and it changed my life. It changed the company’s life. Not just my life, it changed everybody’s life.
[0:40:41.7] WK: How many years ago?
[0:40:42.7] KM: Probably 20 years ago. I’ve been in business for 40 years so probably 20 years ago. He was a mentor of mine. I recommend everybody to find a breakfast club or something with business mentors over them. The Small Business Development Center, who’s also been on here, put together a breakfast club for a bunch of us people that wanted to. We met once a month at breakfast and there were some older people in there that had been in business for 40 years.
And then there were younger people and they’re like me that would come in there with their problems and they would just answer them, answer them, answer them. They had done it all. They had the answers. They were just like, “Well, you need to this. You need to do this,” and I even when it was somebody else at the table with a problem, I heard the solution because all businesses have the same problems. Hiring issues, training issues, money issues, sales issues, they’re all the same.
[0:41:37.5] WK: When I ask your employees, they tell me you can look at a resume and tell me what personal problems that person has.
[0:41:43.6] KM: Me?
[0:4144.5] WK: Yeah.
[0:41:45.6] KM: Yeah I can.
[0:41:46.1] WK: Off a sheet of paper.
[0:41:46.5] KM: I can.
[0:41:46.9] WK: Once again, it is back to your gut feel.
[0:41:48.4] KM: No, it’s not. You can read it in the room. I can look at a resume and go, “Oh that’s why they haven’t been able to keep a job.” Of course Tim, you came in. Did you bring in a resume too?
[0:42:00.9] TB: I did. I had Nathan give it to you.
[0:42:02.9] KM: What did I say to you?
[0:42:04.2] TB: You said I had weird shoes.
[0:42:08.4] KM: He did and still does. No, he doesn’t either.
[0:42:10.9] WK: So how do you know when you are listening to your gut and you should do it and when you’re just believe in your own garbage and you’re putting yourself at risk?
[0:42:16.9] KM: I have no idea. No, no if I think about that I might know. Well, I do know the answer to that. Is it coming from your ego?
[0:42:25.8] WK: Oh wow.
[0:42:26.8] KM: If it’s coming from an ego it is not a good one. If it’s coming from creativity or a need. A need is the absolute best reason to do anything because you’ve got a need. I’d have never started Arkansas Flag and Banner if I didn’t have a need for money and I needed an income. I’d have never worked all those jobs out of my home if I didn’t need an income and I didn’t need to stay at home with my daughter. Everything that’s ever happened has come from a need. You start doing stuff out of ego, which you can hear my employees say, “Now check my ego on this, is this for real or you know?” Because ego’s are never a good place to work.
[0:43:04.3] WK: What’s a decision that you made from your ego that didn’t work out?
[0:43:07.2] KM: I’m sure there’s one. I tried to block that stuff. You know, I have the best ability to forget stuff, shit like that. Nobody ever — I don’t ever remember anybody being angry at anybody. I don’t remember any bad things that employees do or anything like that.
[0:43:27.5] WK: And it allows you to stay optimistic.
[0:43:29.2] KM: It does.
[0:43:29.8] WK: Can you teach that to somebody or is it a personality trait?
[0:43:31.8] KM: Yes, I learned that. I don’t know, it might be a personality trait? But it also can be taught.
[0:43:39.1] WK: How?
[0:43:39.8] KM: Because there is a serenity prayer and my first husband was a raging alcoholic and drug addict and it was probably the worst year of my adult life been married to him and having a baby and getting off drugs and almost loosing Arkansas Flag and Banner not because of bad decisions but because of negligence and just a time in my life that was so full of personal growth that was actually brought on by my first husband and it sent me to Al-Anon and I learned so much at 24 years old at Al-Anon that I just want to write my ex-husband thank you notes all the time, who is actually wonderful now and got sober at 40 years old and became a Continental Airline Pilot. So don’t fly Continental. No I am just kidding. He’s retired now.
[0:44:34.3] WK: Yeah, totally safe to fly Continental now.
[0:44:35.7] KM: Now it’s safe. But, you know, going to Al-Anon taught me this prayer that you can use for any single, solitary problem in your life that I use every day in my management skills. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Can you change your employee?
[0:44:56.5] WK: No, you can’t change the squat. Well, you can change the employee out but you can’t change them. Only they can change them.
[0:45:02.8] KM: What do you have the courage to change? You have the courage to change procedures. You have the courage to fire them. You have the courage to accept them the way they are. You have the courage to train them. So you could do that with every single solitary problem.
[0:45:17.6] WK: Is the strength to Flag and Banner how you manage your relationships within the company?
[0:45:23.1] KM: Yes, exactly. Exactly.
[0:45:25.7] WK: I mean if the rest of it procedural whatever other people do.
[0:45:29.9] KM: Arkansas Flag and Banner is my first born child and I treat her like that. I gave somebody a promotion yesterday and somebody else said, “What did I do to make you mad? Why didn’t I get that promotion?” I said I made a decision for Arkansas Flag and Banner and it was the best decision for them, you know? It was, again, based on the wisdom to know the difference about the courage to change the things you can and to change them without your ego. No ego, or you could get in trouble. A lot of wars are started over egos, just think about that. That is a scary thought.
[0:46:07.5] WK: No I think that –
[0:46:07.8] KM: That’s too deep. Let’s do something else.
[0:46:09.2] WK: Okay, let’s move — we’re going kind of stay deep because, okay so it’s 1975, you start selling flags, you are 19 years old. Now it’s 2018, a 19 year old girl comes to say and says, “What do I do?”
[0:46:24.3] KM: They come to me all the time.
[0:46:25.7] WK: What do you tell them?
[0:46:26.9] KM: I tell them, “You’ve got to have sales first.”
[0:46:28.7] WK: Sales first.
[0:46:30.9] KM: Everybody’s first place starts off with, “I am going to buy a store and then I am going to put some stuff in it and then I am going to get some sales,” and it’s exactly backwards. You need to get your sales figure it out in your house, get your sales, get your clientele, make your mistakes. If you can, live in a place that you are going to start your business unless someone’s giving you pocket full of money then, you know, who cares? Do whatever you want.
But if you are starting on your own dime, start it in your home if you can. Start it in your garage because those are expenses you would have anyway. Don’t start with expenses and then after your sales get up then you could move it out if you think so. But moving Arkansas Flag and Banner out of my house, when my daughter started school and we moved Arkansas Flag and Banner out of my house, I had a culture shock. I was working in my house in my robe. It was nice, cooking lunch.
[0:47:28.0] WK: I know people like that now.
[0:47:29.7] KM: You? I’m jealous. When we moved it out to a store front, I was like — I had to be at work at 8 o’clock. I have to get my face on at 8 o’clock.
[0:47:39.5] WK: That garbage is for the birds.
[0:47:40.7] KM: It was tough, it’s a culture shock. So don’t start fanaticizing with your ego again like, “I am going to be all these things and move out here and have this beautiful life.” Go ahead and do the work. Do the grunt work and work a part time job so that you can reinvest your money back into your business, you know?
[0:47:59.7] WK: Yeah, I know. I do. I totally.
[0:48:01.4] KM: Work a part time job to pay your bills and reinvest the money you make in your business back in your business. Grow your inventory.
[0:48:07.3] WK: Man that’s not exciting. That is not the flash and the flare that people are looking for out of the gate at 25 years old. But once again that goes back to ego.
[0:48:17.0] KM: Well, that’s true. There you go yeah.
[0:48:18.8] WK: I think that’s the gold nugget. I don’t think you’re going to beat that in the time we have left.
[0:48:23.5] KM: Well, you know, I have been reading a lot about egos lately. I don’t know what I have been reading but I have been reading a lot about egos. Oh I know what it is, no I know what it was. It’s The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. You know that book?
[0:48:34.1] WK: Oh yeah.
[0:48:35.1] KM: It is all about your ego and that voice that talks to you and is it the right voice talking to you, is it the wrong voice talking to you?
[0:48:42.0] WK: Oh don’t get me started.
[0:48:42.8] KM: Go ahead and start.
[0:48:43.6] WK: No, I am going to say things I shouldn’t say on the air. I’m going to offend like half of your listeners. So yeah, we’re not going to do that. So in ’75 being a man in the business world and being a young woman in the business world were two different things, right?
[0:48:58.5] KM: Not to me.
[0:48:59.0] WK: Not to you. But that is the narrative today, is that fair?
[0:49:02.2] KM: No, I do not think that is fair. I do not think.
[0:49:06.0] WK: The fact that it’s the narrative. Like women in the workplace versus men in the workplace.
[0:49:10.4] KM: You know that’s the media. They’re only going to jump on if it bleeds it leads. That’s all they’re going to do because that’s what humans want to hear about and I was at a women’s luminous weekend a few weeks ago on a retreat and the woman said the reason why other people, why humans like to hear the bad news was a defense mechanism. I don’t know if it is true or not? But she said it was a defense mechanism. Because if you were living in the woods and sitting around the campfire and you heard a rustling in the bush you’d be always listening for the bad news and that is how you save yourself and protected yourself and isn’t that interesting? I’ve never heard that before.
[0:49:49.6] WK: So it is like evolutionary.
[0:49:50.2] KM: It is evolutionary. They were always looking for the bad news. It’s just now that it is a modern way of doing it with all this TV.
[0:49:56.5] WK: Yeah because we’re still us. You still hear the snake rustle in the grass even though we’re sitting inside. Those things that fire off in our brain keep firing even though there’s no –
[0:50:05.5] KM: So that’s why you hear that on the news and that’s pretty much why I’ve quit watching the news.
[0:50:09.1] WK: Man I love that.
[0:50:09.9] KM: Ain’t that good? You know that is why I keep watching the news it’s because it’s not beneficial. It kind of stirs out stuff that doesn’t need to be stirred up. I don’t think it is good for women’s lib to keep beating the same horn, beating the same old drum that was beaten 40 years ago. You know, we have a saying at Flag and Banner, “So what? What now?” I don’t want to hear that so and so messed up that order. Okay the order is messed up, so what? What now?
I don’t want to keep beating up on the guy that messed the order up. I don’t want to keep beating up on the customer that’s an idiot. I want to go, “Okay so what? What now?” I don’t want to keep beating up on what we did back in 1900. I don’t want to keep beating up on what we did in 1960. I don’t even want to beat up on what we did in 2010.
I would like first to learn from our mistakes. I would like for us to go, “You know what? We don’t need to start another war. There has never been a good one ever except for maybe – well no, that wasn’t a good war either.” I can’t even ever think of a war that was probably like, “Yeah that’s a good idea. Let’s have a war. Just kill each other.”
[0:51:09.5] TB: The Revolutionary War, that’s the only one I would say.
[0:51:11.9] KM: You know. I guess so, I don’t know? I am not a historian. You are a lot more smart than I am in that area.
[0:51:18.6] TB: I just love America. That’s the only reason I said that.
[0:51:22.1] KM: Did Tim just say that? Did Tim just say he loves America?
[0:51:25.1] WK: Can you say that on the air now? Can we say that on the air? I mean we’re a flag store, right?
[0:51:29.4] TB: Yes, we love America.
[0:51:30.6] KM: Jesse’s got to get up.
[0:51:31.2] WK: I want to say that once too. I love America too.
[0:51:33.6] WK: I love America too.
[0:51:34.6] KM: Shut up you guys.
[0:51:35.9] WK: Oh, all the masculinity is out of control in the room all of these America loving.
[0:51:40.6] KM: "Oh say can you see.”
[0:51:41.8] WK: All right, so what’s the legacy for the business? What are we going to do?
[0:51:45.6] KM: Let me tell everybody who we’re talking to in case they don’t know who are we talking to. Who are we talking to, Tim?
[0:51:50.2] TB: Right now we are talking to Wilson and you.
[0:51:52.6] KM: There you go, you are listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I am speaking today with Wilson Kanaday, a self-made man and freelance Google Analyst expert. Today, we have flipped the format on this show and my guest Wilson is interviewing me, Kerry McCoy, Founder and President of Arkansas Flag and Banner a.k.a Flag and Banner.
Okay, we’re back. So let’s say that Wilson, you want me to ask you questions Wilson?
[0:52:18.0] WK: No, this is about you.
[0:52:19.8] KM: So we damn near bankrupt over the Internet and let me tell everybody how many changes that the businesses has been through. So in 1975 when I started it, it was door to door sales. In 1980 it was telemarketing sales because they deregulated my bill and it became Internet and it became telephone marketing and they invented and they made answering machines and then in 1990, Lilian Vernon started mailing out catalog sales and it became the information age and they began to learn how to data scrub and make mailing lists and Axion was probably born. I don’t know what year it was born. What year was Axion born in?
[0:53:00.4] WK: You know, I don’t know.
[0:53:01.4] KM: But anyway, it was in the late 20th century and so we began to buy mailing lists and we began to mail and I launched my first catalog and began to mail and then in 2000 the Internet was in full bloom and I called Marla and I said, “Marla take my flag-banner.com name,” which I am so tired of explaining to everybody. They’re like, “Dash, d-a-s-h?” No dash like the sign. So I called up Marla and I said, “Marla you’ve got to rename flag-banner.com to something else.”
And she said, “How about just flagandbanner.com?” I said, “Okay, that sounds fine to me.” We had no idea it was the premo number one best name on the planet for a Flag and Banner company. People always go, “How did you get that great name?” I’m like, “I don’t know, ask Marla how she got that name. I don’t even know.”
[0:53:49.3] WK: Yeah, I was here when the Internet started, that is how you got it.
[0:53:52.2] KM: And so now, we’re in the Internet, what do you think it is now? What do you think the next wave is? I know what I think it is.
[0:54:05.0] WK: When I was at Steven’s I told people, and this was years ago, I said, “The Internet is baseball game and we’re maybe on the top of the second inning,” and they said, “Why?” and I said, “Because when I travelled to Atlanta, I still don’t know where to buy the best cup of coffee,” and that is not actually a hard question to answer, and we’re getting better at that now. We’re not good at it but we are a lot better. But the social aspects of it are very, very real.
And so you know everything that’s come along where everybody said, “We can’t sell over that. You can’t sell over Google that’s stupid. You can’t sell over Facebook that’s just a bunch of kids that’s stupid.” The social interaction of how that kicks in, we’re seeing a lot of stuff on voice with things like Alexa and Google Home. I think that is going to be huge. But I mean I also have the investment track record to prove that I am really bad at seeing the future.
I would have kicked Starbucks out of my office if I was a venture capitalist. I would have kicked YouTube out. I think that’s an entirely stupid idea, you know? So I am not really the best person to ask because clairvoyance into the future isn’t really my gig.
[0:55:08.9] KM: I think radio and mailing and mail is coming back.
[0:55:11.8] WK: I’ll go with that because the eyeballs –
[0:55:14.6] KM: It’s my prediction, radio and mail.
[0:55:16.8] WK: Where the eyeball? No, but not radio but look at what’s happening on YouTube because the news is constrained by 30 minutes or an hour. Well, I can go to YouTube and run a podcast and we can talk for three hours and people will listen. I mean, there’s podcasts that go on for three hours and people blazing listen to it.
[0:55:32.2] KM: Gosh, I can’t imagine. But I’d rather listen to something than watch it because I can’t stand to watch those people’s faces while – I can’t even hear the words, I can’t listen and watch at the same time. I don’t know.
[0:55:43.5] WK: I appreciate seeing you too. Next time I’ll do that in a different room.
[0:55:47.5] TB: All right, we’ll wrap it up.
[0:55:48.0] KM: Oh my god, is it now over?
[0:55:49.6] WK: Yeah.
[0:55:50.2] KM: Oh Wilson I have a present for you, hold it.
[0:55:53.6] WK: Oh that’s so funny because I too have a present for you.
[0:55:56.5] KM: What is it? Here is yours, it is a flag set with Michigan where you went to school.
[0:56:00.2] WK: That is awesome.
[0:56:01.0] KM: Arkansas, United States and Michigan because you are such a crazy patriot.
[0:56:04.2] WK: Excellent, thank you.
[0:56:05.2] KM: You really do have a gift for me?
[0:56:06.7] WK: Well, it is from your staff for going through and putting yourself on the line this time rather than having someone else on the line.
[0:56:13.9] KM: What does that say?
[0:56:14.2] WK: They went and got you this.
[0:56:15.3] KM: Oh a massage?
[0:56:16.5] WK: Yes.
[0:56:17.0] KM: Oh my gosh do I need this. I have been thinking of this so much. I would love one.
[0:56:21.0] WK: Well, that’s what do you get the woman who has everything? But that one actually might do.
[0:56:24.2] KM: You get me this massage. Thank you listeners of flagandbanner.com.
[0:56:28.2] WK: Yeah but it turns out you don’t have a grill so that seems like a bad idea.
[0:56:30.7] KM: I don’t cook, not anymore. Those days are over. If you’ve got a great entrepreneurial story that you would like to share with me, I would love to hear from you. Send a brief bio to email@example.com.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:56:51.8] TB: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. If you’d like to hear this program again, next week a podcast will be made available at flagandbanner.com website. Click on the “radio show” tab or subscribe through iTunes, Sound Cloud or your favorite podcast avenue simply by searching flagandbanner.com. At flagandbanner.com you’ll find links to resources you hear discussed on today’s show. Kerry’s goal: to help you live the American Dream.