Howard Schultz born in 1953, Howard Schultz is the famous American entrepreneur behind the wildly-successful coffee company, Starbucks. However, his early life, like many other famous people who failed at first, started off in extreme poverty, growing up in Canarsie Bay, part of the New York City Housing Projects. In 1975, he graduated with a Bachelor in Arts from the Northern Michigan University, which he attended on a sports scholarship.
After graduation, Schultz headed to Xerox Corporation and he was quickly promoted to become a full sales representative. After Xerox, in 1979, at the age of 24-years old, he headed to s Swedish coffeemaker called Hammerplast as the general manager in a small company comprising just 20 employees. However, it was the company’s client, Starbucks, that led him on the next leg of his journey in life.
In 1982, at the age of 29-years old, he joined Starbucks, after being so impressed with the company, as their Director of Marketing. The year later, in 1983, after a trip to Italy, Schultz, realizing the prevalence of the coffee culture there and the country’s 200,000 coffee bars, he convinced the owners of Starbucks to role out the concept across the company’s stores. Previously, they just sold coffee beans and not actual coffee drinks.
While the owners resisted at first, he was persistent and was allowed to open a coffee shop in one of the new stores in Seattle, which debuted in 1984. It was an instant success. But the owners didn’t want to continue with the concept. They didn’t want Starbucks to get too big. In 1985, Schultz left Starbucks to open his own coffee bar, naming it Il Giornale, Italian for ‘The Newspaper.’
However, the story clearly didn’t end there. After two years, Schultz had achieved great success with his coffee shop, but he was thinking even bigger. He proposed buying the Starbucks company, which at the time carried a hefty price tag, so he needed help with the transaction. Attempting to raise the capital to purchase the company, Schultz famously stated that he “was turned down by 217 of the 242 investors I initially talked to. You have to have a tremendous belief in what you’re doing and just persevere.”