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In the heart of Manhattan a quiet, peaceful, beautiful home decor store, Ben’s Garden, has been blooming. That is, until the past few years when the company began to lose some key wholesale clients. Owner Ben Busko started his company when he was 8 years old after discovering his passion and talent for creating art pieces that others would like to purchase. He eventually created a million dollar home brand around his creations, but the company has recently stopped growing. Ben has enlisted the help of investor Marcus Lemonis to help him with scaling the growth of the company, increasing sales and becoming a better leader for his team.
When Marcus visited Ben’s Garden for the first time he was blown away by the beauty of the store. The store was very tranquil and well merchandised. Ben and his team have designed and manufactured around 90% of the products that the store sells. By cutting out the distribution middle man, Ben is able to mark his products up significantly and enjoy profit margins that average around 87-90%. Ben’s Garden is a vertically integrated company which means that he makes the profit on everything that he sells. He gets to keep all of the margins.
The home decor market is approximately $600 billion and with margins like Ben’s, that makes this a very appealing partnership for Marcus. Marcus is also very impressed by Ben’s talent and aptitude for creating and selling beautiful products. Being a good designer is hard. Being a good manufacturer is hard. Being good at both of them makes Ben really special.
Although the company showed incredible promise, Ben’s Garden is going through a particularly difficult season for several reasons. They have lost some key wholesale accounts that have caused their sales to steadily decrease. The company is struggling greatly with staffing and retention which appears to be attributed to some challenges in Ben’s leadership and communication style. Ben was diagnosed as an adult with a form of autism that seems to impact his relationships with his employees. Ben does not pick up on queues from his employees and is very blunt which can be very difficult for his staff. Ben also struggles with giving up control to his employees which creates a bottleneck in the business and prevents him from designing and developing new products.
— Marcus Lemonis (@marcuslemonis) January 16, 2019
After fully evaluating the business, Marcus offered Ben $200,000 for a 25% share of his company. In order for them to work together, they need to spend a large portion of time changing how Ben thinks about people. How he views his employees. How he trusts his employees. Marcus wants to build an infrastructure around Ben’s disability to allow him to play to his strengths but not have to damage other parts of the business. They will also work on reviewing inventory, increasing sales and improving their wholesale business. Marcus is …read more
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