Find yourself: Stormy Kromer CEO
HOUGHTON — Figure yourself out and build on what you have.
That was the simple message Bob Jacquart, the CEO of Jacquart Fabric Products, had for aspiring entrepreneurs. The owner of the legendary Stormy Kromer brand built his family’s business to sell products all around the world.
Jacquart shared what he learned on the journey last week at Finlandia University’s Business Professionals of America (BPA) Day, hoping to encourage other locals to learn from his experiences.
“What I want you to start thinking about is, who am I as a person? When you’re in your car all by yourself or you’re in your room and you’ve got your headphones on, who is that person? And start trying to figure out who that person is so that you can find a job that matches that person,” Jacquart said.
By working out this question Jacquart created a job to match who he was and his abilities.
Now he never wants to retire.
“Everything I do is with passion and fun and love because this whole thing kind of matched up for me,” he said.
He hopes other U.P. entrepreneurs will be able to do the same thing.
Jacquart had a humble upbringing, working in the family sewing shop near Ironwood.
“I went to a party when I was 16 or 17 years old at a rich girl’s house and was told weeks later by her uncle that I really shouldn’t come to parties at that house because I wasn’t from the right money class,” Jacquart said. “I had no one really successful in business around me and I really didn’t understand it.”
He knew a few things though, he could sew, he enjoyed it and he was a hard worker.
Jacquart began to make connections through his work creating boat covers for wealthy businessmen. Impressed by his work and his desire to learn these customers turned to mentors.
“I’m showing up really good on their radar screen because I show up on time and I do what I say,” Jacquart said. “Think about how easy that is.”
Slowly building on what he had Jacquart was soon growing the company, adding new customers and purchasing a down on its luck Stormy Kromer to build into what it is today.
Jacquart is still learning, picking the brains of experts who he can learn from to continue growing. Something he recommends entrepreneurs do themselves through a simple offer of lunch.
“You think you want to do something, step it up a little,” Jacquart challenged. “Set your vision a little further than I did.”