We shall try to round off our picture of the entrepreneur . . . by analysing the characteristic motive of his conduct. . . .There is the joy of creating, of getting things done, or of simply exercising one’s energy and ingenuity. −Joseph A. Schumpeter, The Theory of Economic Development (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1934).
American entrepreneurship is alive and well in Nina Myers McCammon. This year, McCammon marshaled the skills, experience and contacts she picked up as a journalist—she is a contributing editor at Country Living and a former Market Editor at Esquire—and launched an online publication (“blog” just doesn’t do it justice) on the best of American-made consumer goods. 50 States of Style covers fashion and accessories, home decor, gardening, travel, life and lifestyle; it is a delight to read, beautifully designed and photographed, and informative.
Take, for example, McCammon’s recent interview with Gale Epstein, Hanky Panky’s President and Creative Director. I learned some new things about the company I love to work for, including the role our co-founder and CEO, Lida Orzeck, played in the company’s inception (Lida, a true Shero, took Gale’s prototypes around to stores to get orders for Gale to sew). But McCammon also captured several things that sit at the heart of Hanky Panky’s success and are familiar to every person who works here, including our founders’ commitment to local manufacturing, unorthodox management style and business philosophy, which eschews the temptations of quick profit in favor of slow and steady growth based on design innovation and best-quality production.
We like to say that entrepreneurship is as American as apple pie, but it was the Austro-Hungarian-born economist, Joseph Schumpeter, who hit the nail on the head in 1934 when he identified entrepreneurs as one of the fundamental drivers of national economic growth. Schumpeter’s entrepreneurs are those people who have the magic mix of skill, temperament and character to put a new idea into practice, be it “a new product, production process, supply source, market or type of organization” (Sylvia Nasar, Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, p.190 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011). Under the right conditions, namely available credit and government policy that fosters a reasonably favorable business environment, entrepreneurs can catapult economies through innovation.
So hat’s off to Gale and Lida of Hanky Panky, Ms. McCammon of 50StatesofStyle.com, America’s many other entrepreneurs, and the country that provided the conditions in which they could grow. Happy belated 4th!