Growth isn't central at all, because I'm trying to run this company as if it's going to be here a hundred years from now. And if you take where we are today and add 15% growth, like public companies need to have for their stock to stay up in value, I'd be a multi-trillion-dollar company in 40 years. Which is impossible, of course.
So all of these companies that are going for the big growth, if it continues for any length of time, will outlast their resources and outlast their customers and go belly-up. And that's why these huge companies have massive layoffs all the time.
Since I'm trying to run this company like it's going to be around a hundred years from now, we have to limit our growth and keep it to what we call "natural growth." In other words, I don't advertise on billboards in inner cities so that kids buy our black down jackets instead of The North Face's. In fact, we hardly advertise at all.
We grow by letting the customer tell us. So when the customer tells us that they're frustrated, that they just got their catalogue and we're already out of a product they wanted, then it tells me that we're not making enough. We let the customer tell us instead of creating an artificial demand for our products. Any time you're making products that people don't need, you're at the mercy of the economy, you're at the mercy of whatever is going on. So we tried to avoid that situation.