Today we’d like to introduce you to Matt Bliss.
Matt, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My Grandpa designed a Modern Christmas Tree made of concentric rings for our family in 1966. It was the tree I saw every Christmas Eve at my Grandparents house in Broomfield CO. When my Grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011, I decided to pay tribute to him by updating his tree and sharing is contribution to design with the world. Since then, I designed several versions of his tree based on his concentric tree ring design. In 2017 I appeared on the television show Shark Tank where I secured a deal with Barbara Corcoran. The trees displayed in homes in nearly every country and include installations as some of the worlds finest hotels including the Disneyland Hotel, The Ritz Carton, and the Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. The concentric ring design enables the trees to be stored flat solving the problem of storage space associated with traditional artificial Christmas trees. It provides me great pleasure knowing that the tree is providing the same, special holiday experience that our family experienced with families all over the world.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Like all businesses, there have been ups and downs. The seasonality of the business makes it difficult to forecast my inventory. I have to place my order with the factory in June for them to arrive in October. This means I have to estimate what demand will be well before the trees are sold. Over estimate, and I have inventory that I can’t sell util the following year. Under estimate and I sell out of trees to soon and can’t meet demand.
Secondly, access to capital in difficult. I have to pay for much of my inventory when I place my order with the factory during a time when cash if low because 85% of my sales come in November and December. Banks don’t understand or dislike seasonal businesses.
Finally, the solitude of working from home by myself can be a struggle. I need to constantly motivate myself in the off season to prepare for the holiday season. Its easy to work hard when orders are coming in and when I’m receiving such positive feedback from costumer. Its much more difficult to keep going when its quiet and there isn’t the positive reinforcement.
Please tell us about your business.
I have a completely unique business not only is it seasonal but I’m introducing a product to the marketplace that hasn’t had much evolution. If you display a Christmas Tree you either buy and real one or a fake what trying to look real. The challenge is convincing the market to consider something new. Something they have never seen. Although I’m proud of designing products and successfully taking them to market. The most satisfying part is knowing that we have happy customers who are experiencing the tree the way we did growing up. The result is a special and memorable holiday experience. The evidence of this is in the feedback we receive from customers and the extremely low number or returns we receive.
What sets us apart from most companies is the relationship we have with our customers. From the thank you notes we both send and receive, to the photographs we receive from happy customers all over the world!
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
There have been many proud moments but curtaining watching my episode of Shark Tank with my entire family has to be at the top. I’ve become a rock star to my nephews who watched as I “got a deal” from a shark on national television. I think I’ve set and example for them that anything is possible if you work hard and follow your dreams. I’m not special. If I can do it, they can do it!
- Address: 3178 Syracuse St. Denver CO 80238
- Website: www.ModernChristmasTrees.com
- Phone: 303-885-4153
- Email: MATT@MODERNCHRISTMASTREES.COM
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/modernchristmastrees
- Facebook: www.instagram.com/modernchristmastrees
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/modernchristmastrees
Photographs by JC Buck