TechColumbus StartUp Aims to Make Home Improvement More Affordable

Business Profiles — By on August 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Rob Emrich, Co-Founder of BULX

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.

The business model for BULX.com was borrowed from sites like Gilt Groupe, Rue La La, and Vente-Privee.

“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.”

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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.

Melanie McIntyre (542 Articles)

Melanie McIntyre served as editorial director of The Metropreneur from its launch in August 2010 to May 2013. She is also a featured writer for Columbus Underground and writes about fashion, style and pop culture on her blog, Thoroughly Modern Melly. Melanie is an Ohio State University graduate, lives in the Short North, and enjoys reading and running.


  • http://www.themetropreneur.com/columbus/author/walker-evans Walker Evans

    Very cool! Looking forward to checking this out tomorrow when it launches. As a relatively new home owner with a relatively old home, I’ve got plenty of renovation work ahead of me over the next 20 years. ;)

  • http://www.themetropreneur.com/columbus/members/ulrichst/ Scott Ulrich

    The website is really great, but will it only feature bathroom fixtures and furniture? That’s what it appears at this point…

    • http://www.themetropreneur.com/columbus/members/robemrich/ Rob Emrich

      Thanks for visiting the site Scott and for the feedback. We are working on adding to our product catalog to include types of home improvement and decor products.

      Because all of our product is overstock and discontinued high-end merchandise we only have a few weeks of product in stock at a time.

      Is there anything you are looking for?

  • http://www.themetropreneur.com/columbus/members/roland/ Roland Kopecky

    This will be the Woot.com for Home Improvement types. Good luck!

    I love home projects and I’ll regularly be checking the site out.

  • http://www.themetropreneur.com/columbus/members/ilyabodner/ Ilya Bodner

    Great concept Rob, wish you luck with this venture. The website looks really smooth.

    Sincerely,

    Ilya Bodner
    Small Business Owner