Playing With The Big Boys

A Legend In Your Time

Today, is established, but in the beginning, there were numerous winter days when Testa and Christian stood outside "freezing our--well, you know" and did business on cordless phones while, inside, the dog barked and the washing machine hummed.

About the same time, Walker had left a $60,000 job as a consultant for Computer Sciences Corp., a Fortune 500 firm, to start Ian Alliott and, for three months, was obliged to work in men's fragrances at Dayton's department store. "I'd have meetings with CEOs, then at 6 p.m. show up for my evening shift," recalls Walker, who during the Christmas season saw many of his former co-workers. "Um, Jason, I think you made a mistake," they would say.

"There were some freaking sad times," says Testa of his start, "but you look back and say `Hey, this is where we were a year ago.' It's almost like company lore. It was the worst possible conditions, but it makes the situation right now that much better."

Every company should have some lore. And maybe someday, as your company's sales quadruple, there'll be clubs across the country devoted to studying you. Perhaps a town will erect a statue in your honor. You may never be Bigfoot, but that doesn't mean you can't be big.

Geoff Williams has written for numerous publications, including Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, LIFE and Entertainment Weekly. He also is the author of Living Well with Bad Credit.

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This article was originally published in the July 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Playing With The Big Boys.

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