We started in this industry almost by accident.
It’s 2005, and my wife and I know these brothers, Dave and Chet, who are in a predicament.
They found themselves with a million-dollar business and a fulfillment house that wasn’t shipping their products.
In 2002 Dave wanted to use his parents’ parrots in his magic act. But the birds would bite. So the brothers decided they needed to learn how to train them.
At the time, there was hardly anything on the Internet about how to do it. They thought, “Let’s just film ourselves training these birds and create a VHS product, How to Train Your Pet Bird.” They did.
Within a year, Dave and Chet were swamped with sales, so they hired a fulfillment house in Southern California.
A few weeks later, they found out the company hadn’t shipped any of their products, and customer complaints were rolling in!
Dave is telling me about his predicament while it’s happening, and I have an epiphany….
Out of our little second-floor condo, which also becomes the warehouse, we start shipping out How to Train Your Bird VHS tapes, fulfilling a couple of hundred orders a day. The post office refuses to pick them up from our house, so we do trips up and down the stairs to our little Dodge pickup and then down to the post office.
That’s what we do for a couple of years. My wife, Janell, was hand typing every single address, keeping order records in three-ring binders, and generating reports. For her, it was a full-time job.
I was still selling insurance, something I’d done since I got out of the Marine Corps Reserve.
I was tired of my insurance job, and I wanted to turn our fulfillment service into a real business and see if we could pick up a few more customers.
I grew up in Sandpoint, Idaho, a lot smaller town than Coeur d’Alene. My mom was a stay-at-home mother, and my dad installed windows and doors. They gave me my values.
We are a company that believes in hard work, honesty, integrity, and fun! And we’ve always been about “people over profit,” whether it’s our employees or our customers.
If we make a mistake on a customer’s job, we own that mistake and pay for it to be fixed. Obviously, that impacts our bottom line, but taking care of people is more important to us than making sure that our bottom line is met.
This brings me to my next point….
There are certainly good reasons other companies charge higher fees, but we have been able to successfully run our business and fulfill our customers’ products for $1 per order for a decade now. We’re proud of that.