Okay, that story started some talking. Let me tell another. I talked with Sam's business manager, Roz. She was pretty open and told me this story - remember, this is in her words:
"Sam hired me when he was about 80. One of the first things I did was to look at the backlog of work - he had about a three year backlog. To me, that did not make sense with Sam being 80. What we needed was a one year backlog. So I raised the price of his work, especially his rockers. But at the end of the year, he still had a three year backlog. So I raised the prices again. Still a three year backlog. No matter how much I raised the prices, he still had a three year backlog."
Sam once commented: "They pay me whatever I ask for my chairs."
And just a comment about Sam - he was a VERY likable guy. Everybody who met him liked him. I think this really helped him because people wanted to help him succeed. He was a very good craftsman but he was also a designer and was able to find designs that resonated with critics, collectors, and ordinary people. And once he had those designs, he was able to let his staff do most of the building of the furniture. Sam did something on every piece of furniture, but his employees did the majority of the work.
And while he had a backlog of work when he died, the value of a"Maloof chair" made by his employees plummeted when Sam could no longer sign the chairs.
[When Sam was in his high 70's, he bought a Porsche 911. He told a funny story about getting stopped by one of the local cops for speeding. But that's a story for another time.]
Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.