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Goodmrkt live!

goodMRKT Live! - The Story of goodMRKT with Harry Cunningham

Posted by Adam Lambert on

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"I TRULY BELIEVE THAT THE GREATEST GIFT WE HAVE IN LIFE IS THE ABILITY TO DO GOOD."

- Harry Cunningham, goodMRKT

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Welcome back to goodMRKT Live!

This week is a special edition of goodMRKT Live! Here at goodMRKT, we believe in the power of great storytelling. The incredible stories of brands doing good around the world, is at the core of everything we do. To help showcase that love of storytelling we decided to interview the “authors” who helped write the goodMRKT story, Mary Beth Trypus and Harry Cunningham. 

This week, I caught up with goodMRKT co-founder Harry Cunningham as he readied an empty Soho storefront in preparation for the goodMRKT’s first New York City location, to hear about how it all got started. 

We’re so happy to have you with us on the special episode of goodMRKT Live! As we share another amazing story from our community of creators dedicated to doing good.

 

LISTEN TO GOODMRKT LIVE! 

 

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PRODUCTS MENTIONED IN THE SHOW

Shop All GOODMRKT

Dedicated to Doing Good
goodMRKT is a connection. An embrace of shared purpose. It is a community where the makers and creators embrace the challenges of the world and dare to make a difference. Where products with a purpose promote our common bond. 

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READ THE TRANSCRIPT:

Adam:
So, yeah, we're here at what will soon be goodMRKT, Soho.

Harry:
Yep. Here we are.

Adam:
How are you feeling?

Harry:
Crazy. [laughing]

Adam:
Yeah?

Harry:
It's sort of surreal, actually. It's a little bit crazy to think that in what are we, a couple of weeks away, this place is going to be brought to life again. And I think for me I've had the opportunity to work on a lot of really great spaces and create a lot of really great spaces. But the best ones, the ones that are most sort of filling to me, are always the ones that I feel like, have a soul. And I get to kind of bring that soul back to life.

Harry:
And, like, I felt it when I walked in the door today, here, I was like, this is right. This is this is 'Soho good.'

Adam:
Yeah!

Harry:
It just feels right. And I think that that's sort of been, probably--I've been excited about this store since we even talked about it a few months ago, but I don't know that it actually hit me until I pulled up today.

Adam:
Walked in?

Harry:
But I sort of got that same feeling today, when I walked in, that I got when the sign went up in Fort Wayne. It was like, 'I got it. I done this. I know what I'm doing.' Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then all of a sudden, something hit me differently. And then I walked in the door and I felt great. And then I went right back into my mode of like, 'Okay, what goes where? What do we do? How do we make this work? Yeah.

Adam:
It's the classic Harry.

Harry:
It's classic Harry. It's what we do.

Adam:
Thousand miles an hour. Yeah. I, mean, I didn't see this when it was a Vera Bradley store, but walking in here now, 'soul' is the right word for it. And it's sad to think that this has been sitting empty for however long--I guess almost a year?

Harry:
Little over a year, yeah. Over a year.

Adam:
So, I'm sure the space itself is excited to get goodMRKT in.

Harry:
I think so. I think it'll be happy we're here.

Adam:
I think so too. What I want to do with this one is really introduce you. And then I'll talk to Mary Beth a little later on. But introduce you, goodMRKT, and the goodMRKT Live! podcast.

Harry:
Cool.

Adam:
So, similar to what we will be doing with some of the founders. Just a quick rundown on, what got you here? Where are you from? What you did before and how it got started.

Harry:
I'd say first and foremost, it's weird to be on this side of the microphone. [laughing] Yeah, because it's not in my DNA to tell my story. I really like telling other people's stories, but my story is just my story or whatever, just like my life, like doing my job. But what got me here, I think, a lot of craziness--a mind that doesn't think in normal ways; a family of storytellers through education or whatever, because Southern people like to tell stories. Southerners are always good storytellers.

Harry:
And I think deep down in there, too, is this weird little part of me that is different than the rest of my family, whereby my grandfather at his little chain of local community dry-goods stores. And I nobody really talked about it much--it was in the 30's, 40s. And, somehow, I got a little bit of that gene in me of bringing communities together. So I think--that that was what he did with his store was all about--it was like the centric community. And for me, with goodMRKT, however, we landed on all of that.

Harry:
And I know we've talked about that before, you and I have, and we can certainly talk more about it today--at the end of the day, I think in a rawest form, it really comes back, for me, that--like, we talked about soul, that kind of heart of storytelling, bringing people together. That's kind of what's been so exciting for me to kind of see this come to life. It's like I get to do all of that. And also, by the way, all of this amazing good stuff to help people, which is--and maybe even that's part of my Southern heritage, too, because I think in the South, it's a gracious population, the hospitable population.

Harry:
So, I'm bringing all that together. But the fact that we're here in New York City, which is literally like my second home, my home away from home, the place where my kids are born. It's pretty darn cool.

Adam:
And it's alive. People are out walking around--

Harry:
It's alive. People are there. People are happy--

Adam:
Weather's great--

Harry:
Well, it's going to be a little hot today, but that's okay.

Adam:
It's great, now...

Harry:
Take the hot with the cold. Take the hot with the cold.

Adam:
Yeah, I think--one of the things you mentioned about all the brands coming together, it is a community and that's definitely something that we've talked a lot about is the storytelling aspect. I know that's really important to you and Mary Beth, when you guys were formulating the idea of what this is going to be because--it's easy to bring a bunch of brands together and sell products. It's not easy to have a bunch of products that are telling great stories that you can bring together. And more often than not, a lot of brands will tell a story that they want to believe.

Adam:
Or, maybe they think it's the right thing, and just working with goodMRKT and the brands that we have--it's incredible to hear what's actually been done by these brands.

Harry:
Yeah, the story pieces is really mind blowing. And you know this phrase, really well, "good people, great products, exceptional causes." I feel like there had been--maybe even pre-pandemic, certainly pre-pandemic, but maybe it's a little bit during-pandemic--this belief that there was this kind of commerce world that was just about great product. Our approach is very, very different. That yes, the product is great, and we're very thoughtful in how we curate the product. But the great product--that doesn't stand alone. The great product starts with good people and finishes with exceptional causes. And pulling all that together really does round out the story.

Harry:
So I can tell you all day long about Product X about the quality of Product X. But when I actually get to tell you about the person that had the idea for Product X, and the person whose hands went into making Product X, and the person who is going to eat that night because you bought Product X, that's, like, literally give me goosebumps. That's a whole different thing. And I think you're right. Anybody can bring product together and anybody can create product. And I would never, by any means, say that I, or we, are the best curators products, of assortments.

Harry:
I think we do a pretty good job. I'm super pleased with what we have, but you're right that not everybody can place as much value, or does place as much value on telling the full 360-degree story. And I'm super proud of that and I love it. And I think that if we could accomplish something that would make other people start to tell stories more--that's sort of the icing on the proverbial cake, if you will.

Adam:
Yeah. You bring up a good point. So you work for Vera Bradley, and goodMRKT, is--I suppose the best way to say is, this start-up that's within Vera Bradley.

Harry:
Totally, yeah.

Adam:
But what you were saying about bringing together products with great stories and having the storytelling being the emphasis--that's not normal. It's not the way that retail companies generally--that's not the avenue--so, when you and Mary Beth were doing this. What was the internal conversations like?

Harry:
It's funny. There was never any disagreement about us telling the stories. That was all--literally from the beginning, that was what we wanted to do.

Adam:
And everyone was on board?

Harry:
And there's nobody to be on board. [laughing] It was like, me, Mary Beth, Rob. Just doing it. Yeah, just go figure it out. So it wasn't about even getting people on board.

Harry:
It was more--and I think it still is today, it's just like the right thing to do. And, you know, a lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into this. That's such a--maybe a bad comparison, but there are people's lives that are literally being changed, for the better, because of this product, because of the blanket, or because of the bib, or because of the bath bomb, or because of whatever, that it was never not a thing. And I think that maybe that comes from like I said earlier, I like to hear stories, personally.

Harry:
I don't like to read them. I have a hard time reading because I don't have the patience to sit and read, which is a bad thing. [laughing] Knowing you and I have got to be such good friends now, and I would love to read your book, but I'd rather have you just read it to me--

Adam:
I'll send you the SparkNotes.

Harry:
You could send me that. But I do think that hearing those stories was always a part of the DNA. And honestly, even with Vera Bradley, like the Vera Bradley story is such a beautiful one, too.

Harry:
So it was part of what was already there. And I think from the beginning, when we said that we wanted to bring brands together that were doing good, it was because of the purpose-driven foundation of Vera Bradley and the cause driven foundation of Pura Vida, that were already part of our corporation. And at the same time, we were able to take that commerce-piece and pair it together with the personal-piece of us liking to tell stories and liking to hear stories and like, to know things.

Harry:
So it was never up for discussion--it's literally price of entry. And, probably, what's been really fulfilling for me as of late, as we've been adding new brands--and remember, we started with 34, and then we added a couple more, and then we've added a couple more, and now we've added, I don't know, 15 more and five or ten more coming, all the time. It always goes back to--when you talk to those founders and you tell them that you want to tell their story, it becomes much more special for them.

Harry:
They realized that the reason they were doing it, it's never to get rich, right?

Adam:
Right.

Harry:
At least financially rich. But it's absolutely to to support something that they believe in, to support something that means something to them. They found their purpose, whatever that be. And I think about, you know, Michelle at Bella Tunno, like finding her purpose, at a great point in her life--she had a tragedy, she found her life's purpose, as a result of it. I mean--I have an interesting story to tell. I like my own personal story.

Harry:
So there's--all those things that it's ever been a topic of conversation other than this is what we do, period. Full stop.

Adam:
It's interesting, too, because the stories are so varied--speaking from a couple of the founders that we've talked with--there's certain things that run, but no two stories are alike, just the same way that no two people are alike. And seeing the way--whether it was someone wanted to build a legacy like Michelle or somebody wanted to just do something great and help it cause, like, Bob and Sackcloth & Ashes, or if somebody, you know--here's a product that I can make really well, MudLOVE is a great example.

Adam:
And now it's like, I can use this product that I make really well to make a bigger impact. And rather than just selling product, I can impact the world.

Harry:
And I think--Adam it's funny, that's part of what the "AHA moment" was for me is--what I do is design spaces and create environments and I like to think that I know how to find good products. What I've been able to do is use all of that skill to help all of these people do exactly what you're talking about, in an even better way. We're just a catalyst, that's all. We're just the ones that give them a little bit more juice to go.

Adam:
Yeah. To be fair, I think what goodMRKT is doing is also very unique in the sense that all of these brands have a purpose and are doing things on their own. But, when they come together--and I think we really noticed that at the opening in Fort Wayne, on Impact Day, where different founders were talking to different founders, and it was, 'Oh, how are you handling, like, Instagram marketing or what are you thinking about this strategy for business' and then also having the full-weight of Vera Bradley coming in and saying, here are some doors that we can open, here's some resources that we can offer to help make what you're doing even more impactful.

Harry:
I think it's interesting that you bring that up. And I say, I think a lot. So it's because I do think a lot--maybe too much. Sometimes there are a couple of things that happened all around that time. That told me we were doing the right thing. Some of them, super simple, some of them, people didn't even think about, others that maybe were a little bit deeper. You touched on one where we can bring these brands together in ways that we never anticipated. I remember the first dinner we had, there were three or four or five the brands there.

Harry:
It was like, hardcore COVID times. We didn't know how people were going to respond. They were like, 'yeah, we're in. We're coming.' And four and a half hours after we started, we're still there talking. And I realized that these people that didn't know each other were coming together and sharing ideas, just like what you mentioned. I think all of that was a good one. And we've done a lot to be able to kind of keep building on that. As you mentioned, this is a startup. It doesn't come with massive budgets.

Harry:
It comes with no budget. We're just figuring stuff out. And I remember--you and Megan have been there from the beginning with me working on all this stuff. And I wanted you guys to be there. And I was like, love you to be here. We can't even afford to buy you a ticket from it. [laughing]

Adam:
Right. [laughing]

Harry:
And you guys, like, 'Screw it. We're coming anyway.' Didn't Matter. We're gonna figure it out. We're gonna get there. I remember a lady that communicated with us on grand opening day, and she found us through Instagram.

Harry:
And who knows how she even found us to Instagram. And she was five-and-a-half, 6 hours away and she sent us a message on that first night, and she said, "Hey, you guys going to be open on Saturday? We want to come down." And I wrote back, "yeah, we're open. We're open every day." And she goes, "Great, we're driving down."

Adam:
Which is also great that you're the one responding to the Instagram DMs. [laughing]

Harry:
[laughing] Yeah, that's how scrappy were, like. At the time Danae wasn't with us, but they were like, we didn't have this robust team of people, right?

Adam:
There's no, like, corporate strategy. [laughing]

Harry:
[laughing] Whoever, like, somebody gotta respond. And then she showed up on Saturday, and it was like 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and I was like, 'Holy Moly.' This lady drove her family five-and-a-half hours to come and see what this was that we were putting together--and she shopped and turned around a drove back home! I don't know that there's--maybe, ice cream could get me to drive five-and-a-half-hours, but I'm staying overnight.

Adam:
Right. And it'd have to be very good ice cream. [laughing]

Harry:
Really, really good ice cream. So, it's like that's--all of those things, those are all really special moments, to me, that have said, 'we're doing the right thing. Just keep going. Just keep going.' And we get--there days that you're like, how am I going to ever get done what I need to get done today? How am I going to return ten phone calls? And how am I going to get to kiss my kids before they go to sleep? And how am I going to get to have dinner?

Harry:
My wife's been cooking, and I can't call and tell her, 'hey, I can't come home and eat.' And not that she--I don't expect her to cook by any means. I don't want that to be taken the wrong way. God bless her. Like that's one of the things she's really, really one of the many things she's really good at. And it's like, how do you keep doing all that stuff? You just keep going because you know that those things are there and people are counting on you to keep doing it for them.

Adam:
Yeah.

Harry:
I don't know if that answered your question, but--

Adam:
It does and you also out of another really great point is about the support systems that--obviously we have as people working on the project, but it's also--and this touches on one of the things that has really been impressed upon me about being a part of goodMRKT is, how much 'good' is actually happening. So, yes, there are brands that are 'doing good', and we can run the list of how much-- what the impact is and how the support is happening. But also talking to some of the founders its--their children are seeing the way that they're doing it.

Harry:
Yeah.

Adam:
That they're handling themselves with the business. And so they're seeing a world in which it's not business, profit first, it's philanthropy and making sure that things are better than the way that we found them. And so it's a whole new generation that seeing this world, but then at the same time--and I know we've talked about this--it's people like you and Mary Beth and Rob, who have the experience in this world, that can come and explain some of the nuances of how to do things the right way in.

Harry:
Well, at least "a" way. [laughing] Maybe, the right way. We tried for the right way. We hope for the best, but, yeah.

Adam:
And it's these inter-generational growth patterns that are changing things and, you know--that it's vertical and horizontal. I mean, even working on this project has changed my life, immeasurably. It's been amazing. And Megan, who's helped with all the creative, is one of my good friends, and so it's been really special to share what we're doing with all of our friends and our family and spreading that out. So, it's just been a really unbelievable process of 'good.' That's being spread around.

Harry:
It's kind of crazy. I think it's funny, you talk about inter-generational cross-generational--I didn't realize, even personally, how it was impacting my family, but I had a mental health tragedy early in my life. My dad had some mental health challenges and took his own life when I was eight. And it's something I couldn't talk about for a long time. I was embarrassed by it, and all that kind of stuff that, hopefully, even some of the work that we're doing today is something people not feel that way.

Harry:
But I think, what I think that my wife and I have very much taught our children is that something like mental health, is an okay thing. Mental health is just a chemical imbalance, like any other problems that people might have. And like, a week ago, I was talking to my son and he said, "You know what, dad?"--he's like this kid that is hyper-athlete, which clearly he didn't get from me, he wants to be either a soccer commentator--so he likes a good microphone, which is cool--or, he wants to be in politics somehow; Senator, something. Whatever, great. You should--

Adam:
Ambitious--

Harry:
--Go do that-- Ambitious. I love it. But he said, "You know, dad, when I get older, I want to do something to help make people aware of mental health. And I want to do it in honor of your Dad." Like that's freaking cool to me. Like I never dreamed through what started now, probably a year ago, to where we are today, I never dreamed that--like, my kids know what I do, they've been around what I do, they've been a part of the windows that I've created at Saks.

Harry:
They know they've grown up around all this. I never dreamed, through this entire goodMRKT process, that it was impacting them in such a dynamic way. I knew my daughter loved it. She was there helping us set up. And my wife and I are very open with them about we tell them what's going on. We tell them what I'm working on, what she's doing. We're a very conversational family--

Adam:
Sure.

Harry:
But I have never said to either one of them, "hey, you should learn from these people. Or hey,"--so, literally, the fact that he just picked that up--

Adam:
It's just exposure.

Harry:
--just through exposure. Like, amazing. Like, now we're actually are changing--and, you know, there's a--I won't mention the name--but there's a speaker that I heard speak a few years ago who said that, "my children's generation,"--the generation. And I would argue, maybe is the generation behind you, right?--"the generation behind us will be the first generation that will be not as wealthy as their parents." And, while, financially, that might be true, I actually think, emotionally, it's the total opposite.

Harry:
And so while we're impacting that generation and giving them exposure, I hope to help their generation is helping my generation open their eyes to the good that can happen in the world and the good that is really inside people.

Adam:
Definitely.

Harry:
This inclusivity that we're, that we're really growing and nurturing. If we can keep that inclusivity going, that's the good. There's so much more, you know?

Adam:
Yeah. We don't even know what we can accomplish. That hasn't been the way that things have gone before. So I agree with you. It's easy to be pessimistic, but I'm very optimistic about the generations that are coming up, and coming after us.

Harry:
Me, too. Sorry for the background noise we're in New York--

Adam:
We are in New York--

Harry:
--people backing up. There's always the one truck backing up no matter what you're going to hear it.

Adam:
Yeah, well, you're also getting the space reading.

Harry:
Yeah, you're getting the space trading.

Adam:
How are you feeling about it?

Harry:
I mean, it's weird, like we talked a little bit beginning about this soul. It's funny to me that I remember when we built this out as a Vera Bradley store--it's that same feeling, magnified. I remember then it was exciting and fun to be creating a new retail space, but this is like, 'Okay. Yeah, we're doing a new retail space, at a whole different--maybe in a whole different ballpark, if you will. So it's funny that I can already picture it in my head. I can see the product. That's only half the story sitting on the shelves.

Harry:
And I can see the barista standing behind the upcoming cafe making hot chocolate. I know that stuff is already--it's like, I don't know how that happens, but it's like I can already see it; I can already feel it; I can already feel the good energy. I mean, you asked about WiFi. No, the WiFi is not here. But it's like music is already playing in my head.

Adam:
Yeah.

Harry:
The crowd is here.

Adam:
It's going to be fantastic.

Harry:
I hope so.

Adam:
I'm just really excited to be able to show it off in New York. [laughing]

Harry:
Me too. I'm happy for you guys. You can come and shop now. But, I mean, it's exciting for me to know that--it's funny to hear you say that you and Megan have been able to tell the story to your friends, but it's exciting for me to know that now you can bring in here and show them what it is, in real life. It's not just something living out on the interweb, right?

Adam:
It's not just Megan and I clacking away--

Harry:
And you guys, like, making up stuff. Blah, blah, blah. It actually is a real thing. And it's funny--just graphics being up on the window, that whole SoHo good thing. I don't know--that was one of those weird things that hit me, like a freight truck. It's like, "Oh, it's so good. No, it's actually SoHo good." And then it showed up on this super mega-followed Instagrammers her feed--

Adam:
Unreal--

Harry:
She liked the graphic. Great! It's cool. There's nothing. It's just some letters on the glass, so, yeah, it's fun. I'm excited that we're going to have it here and we get to introduce you to so many more people.

Adam:
Well, I know you got a lot going on the store, and the website, and some other things going on, but what does goodMRKT look like next year?

Harry:
[laughing]

Adam:
Five years from now? Do you think about it?

Harry:
Yeah, all the time. I think about it all the time. In the most perfect world, I think it looks like something that can be in, in all the right communities, not just in the country, but maybe even around the world. I think we're impacting people around the world, already. Why can't we take these stories around the world? Doing 'good' is not limited to just people within our 50 States. People want to do 'good' everywhere. And I believe that there is good in everybody. People are taught to be bullies. They're not. They're not taught to do good. That's inherent.

Adam:
Yeah.

Harry:
Right? And so I think that--none of this is, nothing tomorrow is for sure, right? A year, five years, ten years from now, if we are doing 'good' all over the world and the world is responding by changing the way that it produces product, and changing the way that it hires labor, and changing the way that it feeds children, what more could we ask for? We don't need to have the biggest, fanciest, most stores ever. Great if we do; that's fantastic. What we need to do is tell more stories to make more people aware of what they can do.

Harry:
And so, at the heart of it all, I want people to learn more. And a year from now, I want a million more people to know the good stories. In five years from now, I want 5 million more people know the good stories. And I mean that--I don't know, that's that. That's what it looks like to me: more people, more awareness, more good.

Adam:
I can see where your son gets his ambition. I love it. The sound of that is amazing. And definitely one of the things that--I know you mentioned before that doing this, is a step, but it also shows people that's possible and that people can find, you know, products that are made ethically or more sustainably or made with recycled products--thing that they want.

Harry:
Yeah--

Adam:
It doesn't have to be a sacrifice. It doesn't have to be something that you're giving up. It can be an active choice to make these changes in the world.

Harry:
And you know what? It shouldn't cost more to do things the right way.

Adam:
Right.

Harry:
So when we can start to swing that pendulum, so that it doesn't cost more to use recycled fabric, and it doesn't cost more to eat organically--that's a massive aspiration. And it may not happen in my lifetime, but,--I promise that somebody knocking at the door--that's good, right? Like there's so much. There's just so much room--

Adam:
I agree. Excited to see it happen.

Harry:
We're going, we're going.

Adam:
So before we sign off.

Harry:
Yes, sir.

Adam:
There's something that we have that are called the goodBYE questions--

Harry:
Yes, they're painful-- [laughing]

Adam:
--which you've seen before, which is different from what we normally do. And I actually don't have them in front of me, but I think I remember them.

Harry:
That's good. I'll help you. If you don't remember, I'll ask you, then you can answer.

Adam:
So the first one is: "What does doing good mean to you?"

Harry:
It means a fulfilled heart, to me. I think--it's just part of who I am. And look, I like to have a good time, just like the rest of them. But if I can see people thriving and living their best lives and all that stuff, that's what it really means at the end of the day. I don't wish bad on anyone, and I really impart that same feeling, hopefully, to everyone that's around me. So 'doing good', for me, like, it's--I guess the feeling is that it fills my heart--but the vision is that I see people surviving and thriving and succeeding.

Adam:
I'm--it's definitely showcased here. Next question: "What one word describes what you're doing at goodMRKT?"

Harry:
Awareness?

Adam:
How so?

Harry:
I think bringing awareness to, not just the stories, and it doesn't even sound right to say 'not just' because those stories are amazing, but bringing awareness to how much opportunity there is out there, to make things better. I've been super fortunate in my life, and I've had--just like everybody problems and challenges and hurdles and all that stuff--but, if I can let more people know how much good they can do--as simple as buying a cup of coffee, like everybody can be a part of it.

Harry:
If you want to spend a lot of money, you should spend a lot of money. If you want to spend a little money, you should spend a little money. If you don't want to spend any money, and just be aware and go use your own sweat and your own muscle to help somebody do something, that's awareness. Now, you're aware. Now, you know what you can do. I think that--it's funny, Bob Dalton and I have gotten to be good friends through the course of this, and he says a lot a lot of times, "There are people that want to do good. They just don't know how to do it."

Adam:
Yeah.

Harry:
And I think that's very true. And so if I can make people more aware of what they can do--this is an easy way, the story is an easy way. They can come in and they can see it. And whether or not they knew that they were walking into a space to interact with products that was 'doing good' before, when they leave, they certainly do. Now, they're more aware. That might be the only thing that they're ever able to do is just come in and shop. And that's helping people, great!

Harry:
But if they come in and find out that, you know, they could go somewhere, and work with women in the Dominican Republic that are making jewelry, or, use the skill that they have that they never even thought was as valuable as it actually is--I mean, all that is awareness.

Adam:
There's a lot of it that's coming through. It's amazing.

Harry:
Crazy.

Adam:
Next question: "If you could say one good thing to someone, what would it be and to whom would you say it?"

Harry:
I would, probably, say 'thank you', but I wouldn't--it wouldn't be to one person. It would be to everybody in my family--alive or not alive--that's supported me that believed in me growing up. Because I led a somewhat unconventional childhood; losing a parent early, leaving college with one semester to go. But I, personally, believed in what I was doing. And I was fortunate then, and I'm fortunate now, with my mom that's still living--my dad had passed away, my grandmother, that I was super close, to my aunt, my uncle, my other uncle--I've just, I've had so many people that have believed in me.

Harry:
I'd say thank you to all of them for believing in me and giving me the courage to go do something; to not be scared of taking risk. So it's not one person. I think it even goes back to my wife and kids who I throw some crazy ideas at them all the time--

Adam:
I believe that. [laughing]

Harry:
I mean, they keep me honest. And they keep me in check, and it's even thanks to them, honestly, at the end of the day.

Adam:
Sure.

Harry:
So, yeah.

Adam:
I love that. :What is a good quote you think about a lot?"

Harry:
It's funny because I don't know if it's trademarked or not, but I love it. And I have a shirt that has it on it, and I wear it all the time--and it just reminded me of another one so I'm going to give you two. The first one is "do good." And there's a brand out there that puts that on their shirts. And I think it's super cool and I love it. And I think it's something that is close to me. And it means something to me. But it reminds me of--and I have a shirt that says it--but it reminds me of another shirt that I've had folded up for a long time that says, "Change is good."

Harry:
And I do think change is good. And, for some reason, as many times as I clean things out, gotten rid of stuff. I've never gotten rid of that shirt. And it was actually John F. Kennedy that said, "change is good." And there's a longer quote that it's part of. But I think that is--both of those quotes, at the end of the day, obviously, it's ironic that they have "good" in them, and goodMRKT, we didn't even talk about this kind of wackadoodle way that we came up with the name goodMRKT, which is also another great story--but for another time.

Harry:
You know, I never even realized that I had both of those shirts before this was even anything. So I mean, I leave it at that; "change is good" and "do good." Both good, both good things.

Adam:
Both great quotes. Easy to think, about hard to implement. Change is very scary sometimes.

Harry:
Changes very scary. But, you know what? more people should be less afraid of change. Change is scary because there's an unknown, but guess like we don't know what's going to happen when we walk out the door today, right?

Adam:
Yeah.

Harry:
That's unknown. We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Doesn't make us scared to wake up or it shouldn't. I believe there are people that are scared to wake up because of that, and hopefully even we can help them with that. Change is scary because it's unknown. But this was unknown. This isn't scary to me. Look, at the end of the day, if goodMRKT was gone tomorrow--and let's hope it never is--but if goodMRKT was gone tomorrow, we've still positively impacted countless people because of what we've done and what we are doing today.

Adam:
Because we went into the unknown.

Harry:
Because we went into the unknown, yeah. We went into the unknown. Look you and I wouldn't have ever met.

Adam:
No...

Harry:
And I live for our conversations. It's always fun.

Adam:
Fast friends--

Harry:
And I always learned something from you, which is super cool. And I've said that my whole life, 'learn something every day, don't go to sleep without learning something.' And I think that, you know, it just all ties together. I don't know.

Adam:
I love that. It's really great. It keeps you open.

Harry:
It should, for sure.

Adam:
The last one is one--

Harry:
--that you've asked me before. Hopefully I'll answer the same way. [laughing]

Adam:
Because storytelling is infinitely important to you, to goodMRKT, to what we're trying to accomplish with this. The question is: "if you can choose one person to tell your story, who would it be and why?"

Harry:
So before I answer, because you've got to ask me this before. You and I get to hear some really great answers to this question. And they are all over the board, and they're always inspirational. But what I've never heard is your answer to that same question.

Adam:
Mine?

Harry:
Yours. So I'm going to turn it around. I'm going to throw it back at you because you've had a pretty killer story. You're not that old.

Adam:
Umm, that's a really great question. [laughing]

Harry:
It's your own question. I think it was you that said the stories tell themselves. The question asked itself. [laughing]

Adam:
The first person that is that--the first person that talked into my mind was my mother. And, I think, it's because her and I always were the ones that shared that love of storytelling.

Harry:
That's cool.

Adam:
She's a teacher. She taught first grade for, I think, 20-some-odd years and then moved into an interventionist where she was helping basically all the children in the school. But she really instilled a love of storytelling. I remember the all the books we would read growing up, and she was always incredibly supportive of what I wanted to do with storytelling, whether that was building clamations--like in doing stop motion animation with Legos or claymation or drawing or making little comic books or or whatever it was.

Adam:
But she was always incredibly supportive about that. And she's someone that has had a difficult life herself. And so I think she understands the nuances, and the hard edges that make a life important, that adds to the uniqueness of it. Yeah, I wasn't ready for that one. [laughing]

Harry:
[laughing]

Adam:
I suppose it's my mother, though.

Harry:
Moms are great people, aren't they?

Adam:
They are.

Harry:
My mom's, like, super cool. I mean, she's like--it's funny, and you'll appreciate this when the day comes that you will be a parent to, I don't think you can fully embrace and understand what a parents love for their child is until you're a parent yourself. And I love hearing you talk about your mom because there's no question that there is a love and an appreciation that it's so different from anything else. And you'll feel that fully when you become a parent, too, and you'll understand it.

Harry:
And I think for me that was sort of my "AHA moment", like I grew up. I lost my dad when I was eight, so it's like my mom and me, just figure it out. And it's super cool how that relationship with moms is there. And I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for mine. We don't always agree, which is part of the fun of it, especially around election time. [laughing] But that's for another day. But I will go back and I'll answer your story--or answer your questions about my story.

Harry:
And this is one that I've thought a lot about because you and I talked about the question a lot. It's one that we ask, you know, people when they're coming to join us. Storytellers when they're coming to join us at goodMRKT is like about that story. In my mind, my heart and my mind have changed a little bit. And I think that at the end of the day, I would want my dad to tell my story. And my dad never knew me past eight years old.

Harry:
And I have kids now that are going to be 13 in December. And I know what their stories are becoming, so he--there's so much that's happened from eight until now, in my life, that I believe that he has been a part of that. He is watched over. And regardless of your religious belief, I think that there is a spiritual nature to that that I know--he and I share a name which has always been super special to me because I felt like I've always had him with me, in a different way.

Harry:
There's something very special about a name, and and I believe he helped me get here. He struggled with depression and he struggled with anxiety. And I didn't know that until I was older--and I heard my entire life people told me I was just like him, and I was scared to death that that was going to be me. But then I was smart enough to go and talk to somebody and listen and hear and learn and realize that if that was me, 'that's okay.' There are solutions for it.

Adam:
Yeah.

Harry:
And I think that looking now at where we are back, I think he would do a kick ass job at telling my story because I think that he might have to learn something watching what I've done. And I just, I think, I hope, that he would be proud. I think he would be. And I don't know, I don't think there's anybody to tell it better.

Adam:
That's really great. Two really good answers. [laughing]

Harry:
[laughing]At least, we didn't cry. Usually, people cry. I can't say I wasn't close.

Adam:
I could have taken the mom story to the point--I'm probably going to go outside and call her right after this and start crying. Start dropping my g's--

Harry:
and you should.

Adam:
She's Southern, too.

Harry:
You talked about your grandmother, Memaw.

Adam:
Memaw. But, yeah, very excited to see, obviously what happens at the store. It looks gorgeous, now, I can't imagine what's going to look like we're a couple of weeks.

Harry:
We're lucky. We got amazing people that are helping us with this that are doing it because they believe in it, not because they're just getting paid to do it, but because they believe in it. And I absolutely count you among those people. People want to be a part of this because of their heart, first. And it's going to look amazing. But it's going to look amazing because of every single person that touches every part of it. The people that are working until 10-, 11-, 12-, 1-, 2-. And don't care, the people that are taking calls from their car, the people that are on vacation in Tulum and responding. [laughing]

Harry:
Just go have a good time. That's what's going to make this beautiful. And it goes back. It's funny to hear you say that, because it goes back to early on in my career before I spent my years at Saks when I was at Dillard's, Mr. Dillard, who founded that company, we're standing in front of a store that we had just opened--it was a big story and it was beautiful--and he said that he always believed that the only beautiful store was one that was full of people. And I believe that same thing, here.

Harry:
Physically, this is going to be a beautiful story. It's really going to be beautiful when it's full of people that are learning these stories, helping people do more stuff--that's what really makes it beautiful.

Adam:
I agree.

Harry:
Cool? Good stuff.

Adam:
Always talking to you, Harry.

Harry:
Great talk, man. You too.

Adam:
Thank you.

Harry:
Thank you.

 

#goodMRKT