TechColumbus StartUp Aims to Make Home Improvement More AffordableBusiness Profiles — By Melanie McIntyre on August 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm
Two Midwestern entrepreneurs have launched a members-only shopping website devoted to “high-end” home improvement goods− and based in Central Ohio.
The site, BULX.com, will begin its first private sale tomorrow at noon. In the meantime, though, the public can visit the site −which operates out of the TechColumbus campus on Kinnear Road− to create free accounts and view a sales calendar.
“We want everyone to love their home and we think a lot of people will love our site,” says Matt Russo, BULX.com’s home renovations and product expert.
“That is why we’ve made it as easy as possible for members to share the site with their friends and family,” he adds. “If you refer someone and they purchase a product for their home, you receive a $25 credit in your account to use on any future purchase.”
New sales will begin each weekday and sales last 96 hours or until the product line sells out− whichever happens first.
When manufacturers make too much product, they have to sell it for pennies on the dollar, Russo says, and that’s where BULX.com comes in.
The site “connects our customers with luxury home improvement goods that need to be sold, but can’t be advertised,” he adds.
BULX.com claims its goods −which include faucets, toilets, sinks, vanities, flooring, moldings, lighting, and home furnishings− will sell for up to 75 percent off retail prices.
Through BULX.com Co-Founder David Simon, who is based in Chicago, the site has relationships with some of the most well-known manufacturers in the country, Russo says.
“All of the product we offer has been selected specifically for our site based on its timeless design and high-quality production,” he adds. Members can see a list of manufacturers whose products are offered on the site.
“Home improvement is a $300 billion per year industry and with the current upswing in the housing market, we are confident BULX.com will fill the niche of affordable, high-quality products that designers, builders, and individual homeowners will love,” says BULX.com Co-Founder Rob Emrich, who is based in Columbus, referencing a National Association of Realtors statistic that supposedly says 14 of the top 19 U.S. real estate markets have experienced an increase in home sales over the past year.
“There are a number of fashion-based private sale sites that have had tremendous success online over the past five years,” Russo says. “Because no one else is using this model in the home improvement sector, we are excited to be the first website to offer homeowners phenomenal deals on great products.”
In fact, those “deals” are BULX.com’s secret (or not so secret) weapon in the fight against mainstream retailers, like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Although Russo claims those stores can’t really be considered competition.
“For the amount of money a homeowner would typically spend on a low-to-mid-range fixture at one of the big box home improvement stores, homeowners can purchase a much nicer model [from BULX.com],” he contends.
“We are also in the process of building an online library of how-to videos, design inspiration, and online resources to help homeowners transform their houses into homes they love,” he adds. “Our use of technology lets us interact with real people in a way that is simply unscalable for a brick-and-mortar retailer.”
BULX.com was first conceived in December.
“We then worked on the corporate structure and internal seed investment round from the founders until June,” Russo says. The site has five full-time employees in Columbus, with “a few more” working remotely throughout the country.
BULX.com employees process orders and handle product delivery. Currently the company offers shipping to the continental United States and is working on arrangements to move product to Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada.
For more information, visit BULX.com.
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