In this exclusive Black Friday interview, the CEO of the world’s largest vertically integrated multinational toy maker and distributor tells WND why he will never outsource his operation to China. With the frenzy of Christmas shopping bargain hunting upon us, the philosophy of this visionary executive is eye opening. Be warned: Like other leaders of multinational corporations, he has a habit of referring to himself in the third person.
How did you get to be the largest toy maker and distributor in the world?
I didn’t get to be Santa Claus by chance. I had a vision, and I stuck to it.
Are you going to move your operation to China? It seems everyone else has.
People keep asking me, “Will Santa Claus ever shut down his North Pole Workshop and outsource his toy-making to China?” I say, “Ho, ho, ho! The answer is No!”
There are several good reasons, and I think anyone with a heart will agree with me.
First, Santa’s Workshop is a family business. I started it with Mrs. Claus, and we think of our elves as family. Would you outsource your family? Of course, as a privately held operation, we don’t have to answer to the gnomes of Zurich, the Gekkos of Wall Street or any of the bean counters and trolls who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. The only people Santa answers to are the children. It may look to you like I’m in charge at Santa’s Workshop, but the way I see it, I’m working for the children. That’s who we all work for at the North Pole, and that’s the way it will be as long as I’m driving this sleigh.
Is there also a quality-control issue involved?
Santa likes to laugh, but he takes responsibility for quality control very seriously. Parents have to feel good about every toy we put in a child’s hand.
Each toy from Santa’s Workshop is crafted by elves who have been with the company for centuries. They are the best team in the world, why, in the entire universe! They can take the imagination of some little girl or boy and make it a reality. Santa’s elves are proud of the toys they make and care about the smallest detail in each and every one. You can’t say that about a toy made by a child working in a factory in China. Santa believes God gave children hands to play with toys, not manufacture them.
What’s the secret to your success?
It’s important to Santa that his workshop is a happy place. Our elves are curious and playful, with a smile on their face and a twinkle in their eye when they work. And that’s essential, because the elves actually build their smiles and excitement into the toys they make. That’s why the toys give smiles and wonder to the children who play with them – and to the parents and grandparents who watch their children play.
Do you have a “secret sauce” that makes your toys special?
Yes, you could definitely say Santa has something special that makes the toys from his workshop different from just any doll, train or bicycle. We put it into everything we make, and it’s the most precious thing in the universe. We guard it carefully, though it can’t be stolen, because the more of it you give away, the more you have.
The secret ingredient that goes into each gift from Santa’s Workshop is called love. Without it, a toy becomes just a scrap of cloth or a lump of plastic that a child quickly forgets. But with its magic, even a block of wood or bundle of string is filled with joy and laughter and memories that last a lifetime.
The luxury market is booming. Do you have plans to expand in that area?
Here’s a secret my competitors don’t want you to know: It doesn’t matter how much a gift costs, how big it is, or whether it’s made of straw or gold, because the real gift you’re giving is love. That’s something that can’t be bought – it can only be given. Without it, all the gifts, no matter how much they cost, won’t make you happy.
Cost cutting is another business strategy that’s all the rage. Any plans in that department?
I don’t look to make things cheaper because at the end of the day, Santa has to answer the tough questions. When a toddler sits on my lap and asks, “Santa, where do toys come from?” I can say with pride, joy and Christmas cheer, “Why, they come from the hearts and hands of our happy elves. They put love into everything they do, and that’s why everything they touch makes children everywhere happy.” You can’t put a price on that.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Santa has some advice: Whether you’re naughty or nice, if you have any kind of workshop, you better watch out. Whatever you make, what’s important is how you make it. There’s no substitute for the love you and your team put into it. That’s something that can’t be outsourced.”
With that, Santa then ended the interview with, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”