Editor's Note - The following story is not fiction. It is a recital of facts - the things one photographer believes and practices in his business. You may not agree with some of the things he says - you may not be able to apply all of his ideas to your business. But because he is successful the thing to which he attributes his success is worth thinking about.

"WHAT do you consider the most important factor in your success?"

I have asked that question many times, of many photographers. Most recently I asked it of a man whose success is of national proportions. He has a large studio, employs many people, does beautiful work, and loves what he does.

This is what he told me, in answer.

"Esprit de corps is the most valuable factor in the success of any man whose business gets beyond the ability of his own hands to do, his own eyes to see. Loyalty to the employer, willingness to work for the sake of the work as well as for the wage, belief in the need of success for the establishment to promote personal success; these are the things which one must have, if he employs many and would be successful.

"Mind you, when I say 'loyalty', I mean loyalty, not self-service. No sensible employee of any business will fail to render eight hours service for eight hours pay. The time-stealer soon gets fired. To work faithfully is not loyalty; it's decency. Loyalty is something else entirely.

"Let me illustrate. If I offer my reception room girls a premium on all the business they do in a day or a week over a certain amount, the immediate result is to cause them to try to boost the total sales in dollars. They try to make the woman who wants half a dozen pictures, order a dozen. They try to persuade the man who wants cabinets to order eight-tens. Their end and aim is more money on the books at the end of the day or week, because of that percentage which they get. They are being intensely loyal to themselves and their own interests; and to do so, they are frightening customers away.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Miss Peggy Stewart Canandaigua. N. Y.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Miss Peggy Stewart Canandaigua. N. Y.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Miss Peggy Stewart Canandaigua, N. Y.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Miss Peggy Stewart Canandaigua, N. Y.

"Now, all interest, and all loyalty, is in the end, intelligent self-interest. It is to my interest to promote loyalty to me among my employees. I claim no credit for it; I do claim credit for seeing that the way to get my employees interested in me and my business is to make them feel that our interests are mutual. And nothing so cheap as an extra commission on extra orders will do that; not to mention the fact that while a good receptionist gets more and better orders than a poor one, the best order-getter is not the best receptionist by any means. I don't want my front room girls to sell any customer more than she ought to buy; I want my customers to come back.

"So I try to secure loyalty by making every employee in my establishment realize that they have a part of it, a part in it, belong to it and that it belongs to them. I play no favorites, and my people know it. They know that salary raises do not depend upon whim of mind. No man or woman ever spent a year with me without either getting a raise or a reason why they didn't get it. And after the reason why is explained to them, they either get it in another six months or they are out of a job. As a matter of fact, I have never had but three employees who staid with me a year without getting their raise. I try to pick good ones in the beginning.

"All my employees know that this is an establishment of human beings. We have no time clocks. My employees are not required even to report at a certain hour. Oh, they do. But if a train is late or if the alarm clock didn't go off, or they had to stop and pay a bill or something, they don't walk in fifteen minutes late as if they expected to be discharged. And they don't form the habit of being late.

"I believe in vacations. I prefer my people to take a week in the spring and two weeks in the summer, but they can have three weeks, with pay, if they want it, all at once. They arrange among themselves the schedule of vaca-liniis, so that I am not undermanned at rush periods.

"I hesitate to speak of another factor; perhaps the greatest factor in loyalty promotion, because it looks like tooting my own horn: just remember that I said that getting loyalty from one's employees was intelligent self-interest. When any of my people or their families are sick or in trouble, they come to me for help. I have never failed one of them. I have never made a bargain about it, either, and I have never failed in getting paid back not only all I spent in money, but in such a return in loyalty and enthusiastic co-operation as money cannot buy. My head printer had hard luck last year; he lost a wife and a baby at the same time. There was a big hospital bill. I paid it; he couldn't. There would have been no hospital bill had I not said to take her there. Now, he feels that all that was possible was done. He is paying me, as he pleases, not as I please. I would rather he paid it slower. I think he would let me kick him around for a football if I wanted.

Any employee of this business who has been with me a year and tells me he or she expects to stay another year, can buy part of this business for himself. I have never had to solve the problem of what I would do if they wanted to buy more than I cared to sell, because it has never happened. Of course, I will never part with enough stock to allow complete control of the business to pass from my hands. As it is, two thirds of my employees do own stock in the business, and of course, get their profits on what the business makes, in proportion to what they own, exactly as I do.

"Thus, they feel they are working for the good of the business as a whole; thus they feel that as they make money for me they are making it for themselves.

"A week ago my retoucher showed me a letter from a rival offering her ten dollars a week more than I was paying her. 'If you think it is to your interest to take it, by all means go,' I told her. 'I cannot meet the price, because you are not yet worth it.'

"I wouldn't leave if they offered double what I am getting,' she assured us. 'I just showed it to you because I am pleased, others besides my friends here think my work good.'

"That's loyalty - the kind that can't be bought - and that is the kind of spirit which makes my place a success. In other words, I can teach any intelligent person anything photographic he has to know. But loyalty and esprit de corps have to be conjured up out of the human heart; succeed in that, and you can't help succeed in your business."

One fairly good-sized picture in your display case will attract more attention than a dozen, equally good, small pictures - Try it.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Miss Peggy Stewart Canandaigua, N. Y.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Miss Peggy Stewart Canandaigua, N. Y.