Failure to Success: Macy and Schulz

Rowland Hussey Macy was a determined man who wouldn’t stop striving for what he wanted. He suffered seven failed businesses before his New York City Macy’s store became a success. He worked at his father’s shop until he was 15. His first failed business was a needle and thread store he set up after sailing with a whaling ship for four years. Macy opened up two dry goods stores a few years apart and they soon failed as well.

He went out west with the gold rush, not finding any luck there either. Macy moved to Massachusetts opening another dry goods store in Haverhill with his brother. That store became moderately profitable and soon after he moved to New York City. He opened his own fancy dry goods store, R.H. Macy & Co. The shop became very prosperous, bringing in $11.06, which was a lot of money back then, on the first day of business.

Macy expanded his store to occupy 11 adjacent buildings, starting what is now known as a department store. The famous red star symbol replaced a rooster, a tattoo Macy got on his forearm when he was sailing.

Charles Schulz is known for his iconic Peanuts comic strip, but he didn’t always have fame. His love of cartoons started when he was young and his dad read the comic section of the newspaper every Sunday. In high school, everyone of his cartoons were rejected by the yearbook staff.

Schulz enrolled in classes at the Federal School of Applied Cartooning. He worked strange jobs to pay for his education. His schooling was cut short when he was drafted in WWII in 1942. He trained as a machine gunner in Kentucky, then was shipped to Europe and helped lead the charge on Munchi and liberate the Dachau concentration camp. Charles was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge.

In 1947, his first cartoon was published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press entitled Li’l Folks. In 1948 the first of 17 of his comics were published in The Saturday Evening Post. Schulz had a breakthrough in 1950, when United Feature Syndicate purchased his strip. But there was a conflict with his title so he reluctantly changed it to Peanuts. A Charlie Brown Christmas was the first of many films made by Schulz. He died in 2000, the night before his final Peanuts cartoon was published.


About the Author

Anica Moran
Anica is a junior this year. She enjoys reading and listening to music in her spare time.