Softline Home Fashions, Inc – a Carr Brother’s Million Dollar Success Story
It’s not just an American Dream, these Canadian born and raised boys are living a family legacy of entrepreneurship.
Jason and Rodney Carr built Softline Home Fashions, Inc from a start up to a $50 million dollar business in 10 years – before either of them reached the age of 40. Softline is an importer and distributor of ready made curtains, decorative fabrics and pillows with multiple international offices, including headquarters in California.
The Family Legacy of Entrepreneurship.
Their father and his partner ran owned and ran a company for 32 years. The Carr brothers and their sister grew up in an atmosphere of entrepreneurship.
Both parents were business executives and provided mentorship for the brothers as they worked in all aspects (including warehouses, shipping, and management) of the family business.
Jason and Rodney were close and always wanted to be entrepreneurs, but they longed to be out on their own.
When their father sold his business, the boys wanted to continue working together so they transitioned out of the roles they had performed in their father’s business and started Softline Home Fashions, Inc in 2001.
When asked what it was like for the Carr’s growing up in a family with it’s own business their PR agent relayed the response:
“While they were grateful for the opportunities afforded to them, it felt as though they were always in his shadow. They took what they could out of the experience – contributed to their business, learned a lot, and despite the environment that could become claustrophobic and stressful at times, they very much appreciated having family involved in business. It was hard; however, to separate the idea of their father as family patriarch and as a boss. While they worked in the warehouses and factory, they were treated as employees – just like anyone else.”
The experience couldn’t have been all bad because their father remains involved with them in Softline in an advisory role; and the brothers plan to involve any future children they may have in their own business.
Their tips on working with family in a business include:
“As co-owners and working as partners, it is imperative that you respect one another and know where the other individual stands. Jason and Rodney have their own separate responsibilities that they fulfill and they do not interfere with each other’s duties. Instead, they complement each other, and working in tandem has been one of the secrets to their success.”
The Million Dollar Difference – What Changed With the Money?
Being millionaires provided financial freedom to the brothers, but it also “affected their lives in negative ways with regard to finding out who their real friends were.” Per Janthina Fong of the Eileen Koch & Company Inc. “Jason admits that he is old school and keeps many of his old friends and feels it is harder to develop new real friends. Rodney has a good core group of long-lasting friends – some of whom are from Montreal and are now living in Los Angeles.”
They also found that making money quickly heightens the importance of figuring out what you want vs what you need.
Even though success has come, both Rodney and Jason still put in long hours at the office and in traveling the world to make business deals. However, they do enjoy pursuing simple things such as taking long walks before starting work, going on vacation, working out while listening to iTunes, playing tennis or pursuing a hobby.
Now that they are successful and making lots of money, business deals tend to come to them instead of them having to ferret the deals out. “ Everyone wants to work with you and offer some kind of deal.”
Potential investments, for which they always watch, can be financed easier now that they are successful. They are also able to hire more experienced employees, when they need additional associates.
Advice on Becoming a Millionaire.
“Focus on your company and being great at what you do. After that, money will come. You cannot become a millionaire without a plan to follow.”
Jason and Rodney believe that just having the goal of getting to a million dollars is a recipe for failure. Money was not their key driver, being a success and getting positive responses from their customers is what kept them going while building the business. Their focus was on building a name and getting exposure at trade shows.
To help your children become entrepreneurs, they suggest that you should teach them a good work ethic; let them find something that they really love; hold open discussions with them to discover where they excel and then motivate them.
The New Carr Legacy.
When asked what legacy they wanted to leave, Janthina Fong responded that:
“The Carrs built a great company and have been good leaders and bosses. They are generous to their employees whom they have come to treat like family. It is a very special quality of their company that they would like to be remembered for.”
Giving back – to both family and society – is also important to the brothers. The Softline website lists multiple charities to which the company contributes, including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, Chinese Children Adoption International and others.
Softline Home Fashions, Inc.
For more information on Softline Home Fashions, Inc. please visit their website at http://www.softlineonline.com/
Written interview with Janthina Fong of the Eileen Koch & Company Inc – relaying answers from Jason and Rodney Carr