Robert Pasin : When Family Goes Global

Casey Gordon | May 12, 2016

“Thank you for your business.”

Max Chopovsky is showing Robert Pasin a picture of his daughter on her 4-in-1 Tricycle. The look of gratitude on the Chief Wagon Officer’s face is so earnest you’d think Max just bought a whole pitcher of lemonade from a stand run by one of Robert’s own four children.

Robert wouldn’t have it any other way. Radio Flyer may be a global institution, but at the end of the day it is a family business.

The little red wagon has certainly come a long way since Robert’s grandfather Antonio fashioned his first wooden “Liberty Coaster” in a one-room workshop in 1917: the iconic children’s brand will soon be releasing its Tesla Model S for Kids, a fully featured replica of its adult-sized counterpart.

At the same time Radio Flyer has never left home, remaining headquartered in its original location on Chicago’s west side for some eighty years and counting.

This deep sense of community and family is integral to Radio Flyer’s seemingly inexhaustible ability to roll out what they affectionately call “awesome kids’ products.” Just as Robert and his employees look to their own children for inspiration, Radio Flyer looks to its consumers to create emotionally charged moments with their products and share them with the world.

Who knows, maybe in another eighty years one of Robert’s grandchildren will find themselves at the helm of Radio Flyer, partnering with SpaceX to create a Falcon 9 for Kids.

If and when that happens, rest assured that Radio Flyer will find a way to ensure those little red spaceships, even from the stratosphere, will evoke the understated wonder of a childhood backyard, or a familiar patch of sidewalk.

Robert shares 5 ways Radio Flyer keeps both employees and consumers emotionally attached to their family brand:

1. Remember the origin story. Antonio Pasin built the first wagon with just his imagination and secondhand tools. Stay true and stay humble.

2. Follow the Little Red Rule: every time we touch people’s lives, they should feel great about Radio Flyer.

3. Encourage consumers to tell their stories. Share images of families and children enjoying Radio Flyer with employees and the world.

4. Create with the mind of a child. If a child wouldn’t imagine it, don’t build it.

5. Inspire play, don’t just be played with. Create products that foster growth and form connections between generations.

Read our interview with Radio Flyer’s VP of Human Resources Amy Bastuga

FIVEinSIXTY is our interview series with leading CEOs, founders, and other executives about building amazing company culture, designing creative offices, and creating compelling employer brands.

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