Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 9/18/15

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Some of the best learning happens when you read stories about real people and real companies. Read them for ideas, for lessons, and inspiration. This week’s stories and strategies from real life are about Container Store, Duke Barber Co., IKEA, Jet, and Annies.

From Suzette Parmley: Container Store’s focus is on thinking inside the box

“At least 266 hours of training. That’s what a first-year, full-time sales employee at a Container Store goes through. Compare that with the retail industry average of seven to 10 hours of annual sales training.”

From Michael Hinkelman: A barber who treats his clients like old friends

“WILLIAM BROWN, 34, of Laverock, Montgomery County, owns the Duke Barber Co. He opened the first shop in 2009 in the Piazza at Schmidt’s, in Northern Liberties, and opened a second location Aug. 8 at Germantown and Willow Grove avenues, in Chestnut Hill. Brown’s grandfather and father both owned barbershops in the city, and he started working in a shop when he was 12, sweeping floors.”

From Lisa Brown: Entrepreneurs seek to capitalize on Ikea opening buzz

“Flummoxed by Allen wrenches or loath to circle parking lots, hunting for a space? The opening of the first Ikea store in St. Louis is still weeks away, but businesses and entrepreneurs in the region are already scrambling to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the new store.”

From Sarah Halzack: Good news for Jet: The e-commerce start-up is cultivating a loyal customer

“The July launch of was perhaps the most highly-anticipated debut on the retail scene this year. The new e-commerce site, founded by veteran Marc Lore, is among the most well-funded start-ups in history and has a real-time pricing model that is unlike that of any other retailer. A little more than a month after Jet began selling to the masses, software provider ChannelAdvisor has released data that offers some clues about what kind of traction the retailer has gotten so far.”

From Annie Gasparro: Annie’s Inc., Look How You’ve Grown

“In its first year under the ownership of General Mills Inc., natural foods maker Annie’s Inc. has experienced the advantages—and some of the hitches—of being part of an industry giant.”

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