by Phil Robertson with Mark Schlabach
In 2005, Kay and I sold majority interest of Duck Commander to Korie and Willie, and Willie became the company’s CEO. I have to admit he took Duck Commander way past anything I could have done with it. They purchased a thirty thousand-square-foot warehouse in West Monroe, which was previously the storage space of Howard Books, which Korie’s family also owned. They moved Duck Commander’s operations from my house to the warehouse. They also simplified and computerized the company’s bookkeeping and accounting, which Kay had handled for years, and made it more efficient.
Willie also gets credit for making flowing, untrimmed beards the standard appearance for Duck Commander employees. In a lot of ways, he became the new face of the company. I couldn’t be prouder of him. He’s taken the company where I never thought to go. He’s a great businessman, and he’s a heck of a hard worker. He’s a visionary, and he had a vision for what Duck Commander could be. I call him Donald Trump II because he’s a dealmaker and knows how to network in the hunting industry.
With Willie in charge, it was easy for me to walk away from Duck Commander. When Willie and Korie took over the company, I told them, “Y’all take care of the company and send me my check every month. As long as the checks keep coming, I’ll know y’all are doing well. I’ll stay in the woods, and as long as a check comes in the mailbox every month, you won’t hear anything from me.” I don’t go to the Duck Commander warehouse very much anymore. I’m not often up there sticking my nose into their business. A lot of old guys who start businesses and then turn them over to their children want to hang around and can’t let them go. Not me. When I told them to take it over and run with it, I meant it and have left them alone.
The thing that has probably pleased me the most about Duck Commander since Willie took over is that it’s still a family business, just like when I started the company. Heck, you basically have to have Robertson blood in your veins to get a job there! Jase, Jep, Willie, and Si are still very involved in the day-to-day operations of Duck Commander, and now Alan is back in the fold, too. Now all of my boys have come home to where it started.
Through all of our trials and tribulations, Kay and I have realized that raising a family is about love and forgiveness. Our boys weren’t perfect growing up, but they always had an anchor—our faith in Jesus Christ—and that helped us get through our struggles. As it says in Proverbs 22:6 (KJV): “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it.” My boys might have strayed from God’s path for them at times, but they always had their faith to fall back on. If you don’t have faith, there’s nowhere to turn. My boys always knew where to go when they ran into trouble.
Excerpt from Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson with Mark Schlabach