Silver Fox Luncheon -“The Single Most Important Reason Why Home Depot Bought Blinds.com”

I felt a wee bit like a schoolboy this morning as I drove to attend a Lunch & Learn hosted by the Silver Fox Advisers at the Houston Racquet club. Typically on the last Thursday of month, I would be driving downtown to Brennan’s, where I would be attending the IABC Chapter Luncheon. I had two compelling reasons to play hooky from my pals in IABC: I would get to visit some of my amigos who are Silver Fox Advisers and I’d get the hear the real scoop from Jay Steinfeld, Blinds.com’s Founder & CEO regarding the sale of his company to the massive industry leading purveyor of all things for home improvement – The Home Depot.

As I arrived, I saw my long time friend Dr Harlene Anderson and we walked in together. Harlene is a Silver Fox Advisor and introduced me around to several of the Silver Foxes, including the president this year James Griffing, . I also ran into Coach & Mentor, Butch Madrazo, Texas PR Heavyweight, Phil Morabito, top selling Residential Realtor Betty Bezemer and many others.

We talked and mingled while in line for the delicious and healthy Buffett offering which included a Caesar salad, steamed asparagus, with califlower, rice, and some type of fabulous stuffed chicken. It wasn’t a seated lunch at Bremen’s; but it was very nice.

When everyone was seated James Giffing took the podium and made some accouchements and then introduced Phil Morabito who in turn introduced Mr. Steifeid.

Jay Steinfeld’s message was not your typical Luncheon spiel or quasi sale pitch or marketing strategy ploy,. He has no need for that as he successfully negotiated a sale to The Home Depot last year . . . and THEY approached him. His talk was from the heart . . . sharing his story from the humble beginning when, from his garage, he launched an online blinds store with a $1,500 investment to “test the waters’ of the then nascent, World Wide Web. The years prior to that he had run a retail window treatment business with his wife.

Jay very openly and honestly shared many of the typical entrepreneurial issues, such as early on, making ends meet financially week to week, while trying to support his wife and three daughters . . .Working with credit card companies who also were new to internet sales process and didn’t have a method for peeps to purchase products without a signature.

Without any budget for marketing or advertising he had to think way outside the box to position and attempt to brand his original URL – nobrainerblinds.com. One of his many clever ideas – His office was in his West University home and he got permission from his neighborhood post office to list his business address as “One Brainer Tower” to sound bigger than he was.

The core of Jay’s message was sharing his belief of doing what makes him happy. After the untimely death of wife Laura, in 2002 .. he admitted that his world was rocked. He was alone . left to raise his daughters by himself with the precarious revenue from an unproved business model.   So . . .he turned to self help books, books on happiness, books on success, books on Joy and internalized much of , if not all of the written word on those subjects, morphed it into his unique thought process and work flow. He then intergrated that into his life . . .his business, his thought process   and his very spirt and soul.

He applied his new perspective into his original direct marketing company . . . nobrainerblinds.com, which today redirects to blinds.com . . . which is now a subsidiary of The Home Depot, Inc.

All in all a very enjoyable and sincere presentation. Thank you Jay and thank you Silver Fox Advisors, for providing a warm welcoming environment, Great food, excellent fellowship, and some great networking.

Can’t wait to play hooky again. . .