Since Kevin Plank founded Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) in 1996, the outspoken CEO has seemed to embrace the role of the underdog.
That role has certainly served him well. Since its IPO in 2005, the young performance apparel company has managed to increase annual revenue from just $281.1 million to a staggering $1.835 billion in 2012.
Let’s take a look, then, at five quotes from Plank in an effort to see what makes both he and his company tick:
On starting a business
“There’s an entrepreneur right now, scared to death, making excuses, saying, ‘It’s not the right time just yet.’ There’s no such thing as a good time.”
And Plank would know. He started Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) out of his grandmother’s basement with $40,000 in credit card debt — an admittedly risky move — and $17,000 in seed money from a flower business he ran in college. Still, his “no excuses” attitude gave him the guts to pursue what he rightly believed was a yet-to-be-filled niche in moisture-wicking athletic gear, and that move paid off in a big way.
On pursuing sustainable growth
“One of our first customers asked me how big we want to be. I said I want to be really big. Later, it bothered me that I answered that way. Now I say I just want to be a great company.”
It’s safe to say Plank is well on the way to achieving his goal of making Under Amour really big; last quarter marked Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA)’s 14th consecutive quarter of maintaining at least 20% top-line growth in its flagship apparel sales and the 12th consecutive quarter of more than 20% year-over-year growth in total revenue. What’s more, the company has maintained its goals of sustaining this 20% annual revenue growth for the foreseeable future.
The second part of that quote, however, is far more important to Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) investors. After all, it’s a great feeling to know Plank recognizes that growth for the sake of growth can be toxic over the long run if he doesn’t build a great business to back it up.
On diversifying revenue streams
“As we’ve grown to where compression was only 14% of our business in 2012, we’ve continued to move away from dependence on cold weather with more focus on providing a broad range of fabrication, and we even decided that cotton didn’t have to be the enemy.”