Rowland Hussey Macy was an American businessman and founder of the popular departmental store chain RH Macy and Company. In 2015, Macy’s became the largest U.S. department store company by retail sales. Before starting Macy’s, RH Macy began seven different businesses, all of which failed. Even though it seemed almost impossible to succeed in the business world during those days, RH Macy’s determination and hard work helped him achieve success. Here’s his success story.
Early life and failures
Rowland Hussey Macy was born on August 30, 1822, on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, America. He was the fourth of six children. At fifteen, he worked on the whaling ship, the Emily Morgan. While working on the boat, Macy got a red star tattooed on his hand that became a part of the store’s logo. Macy and his brother, Charles, opened a dry goods store in Marysville, California, shortly after the city was founded in 1850. Unfortunately, the store failed, and Rowland moved to the east. From 1843 to 1855, Macy opened four retail stores. These stores focused on selling dry goods. This included the original Macy’s store in Massachusetts in 1851. He established this store to serve the mill industry employees of the area. Even though every one of these stores failed, Rowland Macy learned from his mistakes and did not give up.
He continued to work hard and finally moved to New York City in 1858. He then opened his first retail store in New York, “R.H Macy Dry Goods.” Macy’s store was located significantly north of other dry goods stores of the time. On the company’s first day of business on October 28, 1858, sales totaled $11.08, equal to $330.82 today.
Macy expanded into neighboring buildings as his business grew and opened up more departments. In addition, he also used publicity to promote his store, such as Santa Claus, themed exhibits, and illuminated window displays to attract customers. In 2017, the company employed 30,000 employees and earned annual revenue of $24.8 billion. The company has nearly 900 stores worldwide across all brands.
On March 29, 1877, Rowland Macy died of Bright’s disease in Paris. Even after failing several times, Macy did lose hope and continued to pursue his dreams. After several tries, he finally created a successful business. Today, Macy’s is a household name in the United States of America. The retail magnate’s life story is very inspiring.
Lessons we can learn from Macy’s story.
Before achieving success, RH Macy failed several times. He did not give up and learned from his mistakes. He set up his first store with hard work and determination, and the rest is history. We should always try to learn from our mistakes. Life is full of obstacles and hardships. Just believe in yourself and keep going. There is no shortcut to success. Hard work is the only way of achieving it. Secondly, staying positive in the phase of all obstacles is the fundamental key to ultimate success.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, Macy’s store had reported a fall in foot traffic by 50%. Later, in 2020, foot traffic continued to decrease due to the quarantine and stay-at-home guidelines. However, in the post-pandemic era, Macy’s has recovered successfully. But it is failing to attract the pre-pandemic foot traffic. Due to inflation and constant changes in fashion trends, people are hesitant to spend money on luxurious items. Macy’s chief executive, Mr. Jeff Gennette, has said that the company is tracking the current inflation trends and aims to attract new customers soon. Moreover, in 2021, Macy’s enhanced the customer shopping experience by adding a 900-feet-tall commercial tower to its Herald Square store.
When did RH Macy establish his first Macy's store?
He founded it in 1858.
Where is the Macy's flagship store located?
The store is located in the Manhattan borough of New York City.