JOYCE CLYDE HALL was born in 1891 in David City, Nebraska. He did not like his name, so he changed it to
JC Hall. He overcame both poverty and a lack of formal education and became a wealthy man, but profit was never foremost in his thoughts.
JC’s three famous qualities include:
1) He focused on quality – in his autobiography, he wrote, “If a man goes onto business with only the idea of making a lot of money, chances are he won’t. But if he puts service and quality first, the money will take care of itself. Producing a first-class product that is a real need is a stronger motivation for success than getting rich!”
JC was always hands-on, until he stepped aside as CEO. No greeting card ever reached the market without his “OK.” His creed was, “good taste is good business” and this quality in their service and their product is what set Hallmark cards apart from their competition. He used to say, “I’m hell-bent on quality!”
2) He made things happen – in the early 1900′s no one else had stepped forward with a downtown renewal plan for Kansas City, where he had moved to start his business. So JC developed one. He said, “I just don’t like to sit around and wait for something to happen, it is more fun making it happen!” This attitude is what led Hallmark to invent modern wrapping paper, later branch into a television network and E-Cards and constantly grow and change their business. Hallmark’s business grew even during the Great Depression, which the company survived without laying off a single worker. This was because Hallmark employees agreed to take a pay cut so that no one would lose their job.
3) He demanded excellence of himself and others – JC considered himself a man who had achieved success primarily because he had worked harder than others. From the age of eight JC had many jobs, most in sales, including selling perfume to neighbors and clerking in his older brother’s bookstore after school. At 16, JC and his two older brothers pooled their money and opened the Norfolk Post card Company. He dropped out of school at 18. He filled two shoeboxes full of post cards, left his family behind and boarded a train for Kansas City, Missouri. After 11 years of hard work in Kansas City, his brothers who had eventually moved there to join him, formed Hall Brothers, Inc. Eventually it became today’s Hallmark.
JC’s entrepreneurial qualities turned his company into the world’s largest greeting card company today.
One other interesting fact: JC Hall retired in 1966 and spent his retirement in efforts to revitalize the Kansas City downtown area. One of the results was the Crown Center, a combination of business/shopping district surrounding the Hallmark International Corporate Headquarters. He died in 1989 in Kansas City at the age of 91.
What a great story, as presented by Lisa von Marschall at the YES941 Social Network Meeting.