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Expanding to New Markets Without Alienating Your Existing Team

It’s refreshing when a business owner’s ego remains in check, even as his business grows. That’s exactly what we see with Hil Davis and Veeral Rathod, owners of J. Hilburn, luxury men’s clothing brand headquartered in Dallas. The fashion company was profiled in the New York Times recently.


Davis and Rathod were forthcoming about the mistakes they’ve made as entrepreneurs: They put too much trust in the Chinese factories that produce their shirts. They chose fabric suppliers who struggled to accommodate their small-batch orders.

What’s most astonishing is how willing Davis and Rathod are to shoulder responsibility for those early mistakes.

Today, though, the business is growing, thanks to the https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2013/07/selling-service-not-sales.html services. The firm grew from $1 million in sales in 2008 to $3.25 million in 2009 and $8 million in 2010, according to the New York Times. J. Hilburn now has 1,000 “style advisers” — direct sales reps who earn commissions on their sales.

Just as remarkable: J. Hilburn is looking out for the interests of those sales reps. While the firm would like to expand into online sales, style advisers are concerned the online sales model would cut into their earning potential. And Hilbrun is listening.

Will Hilbrun stick to the direct sales model it was built on, thus earning the loyalty of its sales team? Or will it go after the vast market potential of the Internet in a way that improves margins (Translation: cuts out style advisers)? Or is there a third option — a hybrid?

J. Hilburn’s next move remains to be seen. For now, the company’s mindfulness of the best interests of its human assets is a positive example for executives in all industries.

Does your team know that you have their back? Can they continue to have that confident security?