Over the years, I’ve had the honor of experiencing the many benefits of being part of a successful family-owned business (Wildlife Trading Company). One of those benefits was being able to spend two weeks in the bush in Zimbabwe last year with my father, Gerry. We share a passion for wildlife and wildlife photography and I’ve joined him in Africa a few times since I was a teenager. This year’s trip felt even more special – and more important than ever before.
Wildlife Trading Company has experienced amazing growth in recent years and we’re now operating some of the finest attraction gift shops in 10 countries. The time away from the office with my dad, on the other side of the world, allowed us to disconnect from the daily minutiae and discuss strategy and the future of the business. Even more importantly, I listened to my father tell many stories about his experiences starting the company, what he had to deal with, and why he did it. These conversations at a waterhole or around the camp fire helped me gain clarity that for Wildlife Trading Company to continue its growth and foster long-lasting partnerships, we must never lose sights on why we do what we do.
- We love the artistry in designing creative, engaging one-of-a-kind shopping experiences
- We love collaborating, which is why we use the term partners instead of clients
- We love discovering high quality, imaginative, realistic and authentic products for our shops
- We love doing what we can to educate children and adults about science, nature and wildlife and supporting our partners in their conservation and fundraising efforts
Although Wildlife Trading Company has grown well beyond “Mom and Pop Shop” status, it is important to me to make sure we never grow too much or too fast to stop caring and never lose sight of what we love to do.
I’ve entered 2017 with renewed pride and clarity and the lessons learned while with my father in Africa will guide me as I lead the company into the future.