Entrepreneurship runs in my blood. My grandfather escaped from the Russian pogroms and conscription into the Russian Army, fled to America in the early 1900s and wound up in the Midwest, buying a horse pulled truck, peddling wares. My Father, already at the age of 9, sped to the best corner in the early morning to sell newspapers and keep a sharp eye and ear as to what was going on in the business world. In his twenties, he was already a self-made man and on to greatness. Growing up, there was only one choice; get up early, rise to the top and be excellent. What can I say, that was a mantra for us baby boomers. Luckily, I had an inbred laser focus, always searching for innovative solutions and challenging beliefs. Thus, the only path for me was to be my own boss, not an easy task for women in the '60s.
Being a teacher was one of the few important jobs open to women, then, but one in which I could be the captain of the ship. As an upper school Language Arts teacher, I found myself in the center of a revolution in education with a dedicated group of young teachers who gathered together and pioneered an alternative school within the public school system. We wanted to address the diverse learning styles that existed in the classroom, teach the "whole child" in an open classroom to engender vigorous interaction with student directed learning. An interactive, caring community would enhance educational and personal success. This school still thrives today as a testament to passion, innovation, and idealism.
Moving on with my life to a whole new adventure, but one that has been in my family forever, food and good stuff! Being in business and being in charge have been the hallmarks of my heritage and I remember going to my Dad's business early on Sunday mornings to make sure all the equipment was running correctly, nothing was spoiling, and all the money was collected. His personal care, exuberance, and perseverance infected my work ethic. My Dad's first business was a big warehouse of fresh produce and goods, which was my one stop shopping store, my Walmart, before there was such a thing.
One day in Kindergarten, at Show and Tell, I brought a round, red pomegranate and broke open the ruby jewels as everyone in the class was surprised but excited to taste this new fruit! Even then, I was energized by sharing new things. So no wonder my next venture was in the food business! Before the word "artisanal" was ever coined, I designed and operated one of the first gourmet specialty stores, dedicated to freshly prepared food and baked goods, all made with the best ingredients. The Parkway Market was a true food emporium, setting the standard for many of today's food stops. More food places followed.
Always on the lookout for a new venture to explore, the modern wave of shopping on the Internet was just swelling and I saw a niche that had not been claimed, window treatments. Since my family also owned and operated a string of hotels across the Midwest, covering windows and working with decorators, window treatment dealers and manufacturers was another part of my background. The mystery of window coverings confused many people, but the Internet would allow me an open playing field to help customers learn about this arcane design element and buy beautiful, but practical, window treatments at affordable prices.
In addition, with new technology and stunning new fabrics and materials, a virtual showroom could be artfully displayed. Measuring could be simplified, fabric samples could be offered, and everyone could become a decorator. A unique and custom made product could now be accessible to everyone. Internet, here I come. Blindsgalore was launched in 1998 as the first online window seller of custom made window treatments.
What intrigues me today is still the possibility of handmade products, personally created for a window, styled by you for you. In this day of mass-produced, flimsy fall-apart-things, window coverings are still made in a workroom by real people, making a unique fashion for your windows. I am constantly inspired by this, as Blindsgalore enhances and expands its design collection for today's popular home dÃ©cor market. As the DIY trend continues to flourish and more people realize that window treatments can create value and offer a dramatic effect to a home, Blindsgalore will be here to make sure you love your windows!
Although I have been in involved in many diverse ventures, all my ideals have been grounded in personal attention and dedicated to quality, beauty, and perfection; all values that have guided my family for generations. I love the intersection of history from a peddler's wagon, creeping down a dusty road, slowly and methodically taking care of people, to the immediate delivery of all things imaginable through the global cloud. Even in this fast paced world of ours, success for me is helping to create a more serene and content life, whether in the comfort of an exciting classroom, a delicious and lively dinner with your family, or a beautiful and bright home.
I've found myself with my hands in various honeypots ranging from founding a niche association, writing scripts for Fortune 500 executives, captaining a field hockey team, collecting music for avant-garde Hollywood movie soundtracks, drafting court briefs, to leading instrument-less musical groups.
I've always felt there's no other way to learn about something than diving directly into its pool. I've always said to myself, "Okay, it's time to learn this thing. Now, go do it." I really didn't know that there were other ways to exist except with assertion and retrieving whatever I happened to seek, all the while speaking my mind. These are attributes I absorbed from my mother.
Lucky for me, my mother invited me to join her in a business where I could feel at home with her guiding intensity, her parallel work ethic, and her self-professed obligation to have anything she created be simply, or not so simply, the best. Also lucky for me, she invited me into a profession cosmically perfect for what called to me.
I'm part of the first generation to grow up with computers in the home. Although the Internet is still quite young, and ecommerce even younger, I was instantly hooked on the concept of buying something online-even when the only choices were an mp3 music file or a novel and the way to go about it was sketchy, at best clunky. Regardless, I knew there was a sea change forming in the consumer landscape. Ecommerce was its future.
What drew me in quickly to Blindsgalore was the intricacy of our product. At Blindsgalore, we craft an ultra-custom product. Not only is it exactly what the customer wants from the particular hue down to the percentage of light permitted to pass through, but it is also quite literally custom. Every single product is built exactly for that one customer, and in turn, for that customer's one window. That's because every single window in this world is uniquely shaped with its own dimensions, right down to the eighth of an inch. Even windows that appear to be made in pairs are not exactly the same. To be wistful, they are somewhat like children, in that way.
What the every-window-is-unique rule also means is that nothing at Blindsgalore sits on a shelf. The minute we get our customers' design requests, we get to work building something entirely unique in this world, just for them. There aren't very many businesses out there, even less in ecommerce that can say they build a 100% custom product, from scratch to finish.
We also take customization one step further. Since our storefront is online, we guide our patrons to customize their shopping experiences. They are empowered to shop how they desire. To me, that is the prize of ecommerce. Like I said, I've been an online buyer for as long as I was able. I love to shop on my terms, with me at the wheel, any time that I please, from the comfort of any location I choose. What can I say, I'm a millennial, and I shamelessly want to build my surroundings. I want to take part in crafting what I acquire; I want ownership of it. I know that our customers want that, too.
Another part of my appreciation for what we do here comes in the fusing of the old and the new in our business. We operate solely in the online marketplace, where virtually everything occurs in cyberspace -the new frontier- the Wild West of retail. Yet, we're selling something that is deeply rooted in human history, relating back to the ancient satisfaction of our basic tangible need for shelter. We first know of windows depicted in Egyptian wall paintings and Assyrian reliefs. Some of the first window coverings were constructed from animal hides. It's safe to say we've been covering our windows for quite some time. To mind that gap of history and novelty is impressive.
Yet perhaps my deepest appreciation comes from the contribution we make to homes. Our homes are our havens. So are our offices, hotels, and any other rooms out there with light waiting to be harnessed. What we put on our windows aren't just blinds or shades. They become part of our surrounding, the ambience, a mood, an experience. They affect our behavior, composure, and well being. So for me, I'm honored that everyday hundreds of customers let us into their homes and so that we can help them make it a better space.