“The contentedness, that ability to sort of focus on what really matters in life, friends and family and good times in a career – versus having some feeling of being on a treadmill or a really challenging uphill battle – gives our city [Chicago] a sort of pleasant contentedness and satisfaction with life. I find that really appealing about both the city and also our customer base.”
-Brian Spaly, Founder of Trunk Club
Here’s a CEO who has his priorities. He’s running a major company. While his primary focus is to build value and drive results, he does so concurrently with his values. He lives his ethics, and it’s reflected in his business thinking.
Trunk Club is a company which helps men by finding the right clothes that make them look good. But it is also about making men feel good. So when they wear Trunk Club’s clothes, men can walk with a quiet confidence and joy that they are “on it.” Additionally, Spaly’s life mission is to help men enjoy the process. So he listens to your needs, sends you a box which meets your specifications, and you choose. Brian took the pain out of going to the mall, and even shopping online.
When it comes to values, pressure first came to go to clothing meccas such as LA or New York. Here is Brian’s response about why he based the company in Chicago:
I think that Chicago for me has never had a major ego on the national scene. When I think about the Trunk Club customer, he’s successful and noteworthy and maybe a top-5, top-10 player in his field, but not too fussed about becoming number one or number two. Ambitious, thoughtful, competitive, but not desperate. One thing that distinguishes New Yorkers is fierce competition to make more money than the next guy, to trade up to a higher lifestyle. One of the things you hear about L.A. is that everyone is trying to make it. Everyone is an actor and a waiter or a server, something like that.
We can learn from this. How important it is to follow our values in all that we do. And if we do, then our business turns out well. Equally important, our lives turn out to be joy filled, positive, and with a confident yet humble sense of purpose. Here’s a favorite that Brian states: clothing is “substance and form together, versus form and flash… We’re not going to force you not just one look or one persona, and we’re never going to put you in something that’s going to make you look like you’re trying too hard. I think that’s a really redeeming quality of Chicago.”
Let’s not push ourselves to become what the world thinks is the “best.” We need to follow our internal values which tell us our best pathway. That makes for a “true-filled” life. It’s a truth follows your values, hard work, joy and down-to-earth success. So CEO Brian Spaly’s life is happy, peaceful, and productive, as well as his business for her just sold it to Nordstrom’s.
Knowing Brian, it’s not his pinnacle. It’s doing the right thing, following his calling, and helping men feel great about themselves. In Chicago. Around hardworking, down-to-earth people, with good motives, and with joy.
Find your calling, dear Reader. Don’t deter off… and you will find a life filled with good, clean, calm, enthusiastic joy such as Brian has.
Brian Spaly founded Trunk Club Inc. and has been its Chief Executive Officer since 2009. Prior to leading Trunk Club, Mr. Spaly founded Bonobos, Inc. He served as an Associate of Parthenon Capital Partners since joining in April 2002. Previously, he worked with Bain & Company as an Associate Consultant. After a stint at The Bridgespan Group, his nonprofit spin-off, he moved on to private equity at Parthenon Capital, working both in Boston and later back in San Francisco.