Field Reports1 Oct, 2008 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response
> InfoTech will receive a $4.3-million technology upgrade through a Defense Appropriations Bill, supported by U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D – N.D.). The money for the Minot Technology Center of InfoTech will help create a new system that allows Department of Defense personnel to access military databases from anywhere in the world.
> With a new team of executive and senior managers in place and a renewed focus on its core areas of expertise, Livemercial is focused on the development of new technologies that will challenge traditional direct response marketing models and make it easy for marketers to engage the $1 billion online consumer goods marketplace. Its first entry, launched in mid-September, is CORE, a turnkey solution that integrates the Internet, interactive voice response, online media and mobile direct response technologies and delivers them across a multi-channel, self-service platform.
> Don Cowser joins Icon Media Direct as senior media buyer for the direct response media buying team. Cowser was previously the senior vice president of direct sales at Mantra Films/Sands Media.
Khubani Still Excited After 25 Years
The TELEBrands leader believes his company's silver anniversary represents resiliency and consistency in the ever-changing DR-to-retail space.
DR-to-retail marketing giant TELEBrands is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2008, and its leader, President and CEO A.J. Khubani, has lived through the many changes that shaped — and continue to shape — the direct response industry. In just the past year, TELEBrands enjoyed what Khubani calls its biggest success yet with the PedEgg, an egg-shaped callus remover.
The company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2000, has seen its fortune grow in recent years thanks to other hit products, including the Go Duster and Doggy Steps. During the past quarter-century, Khubani has seen his business grow from a short-form DRTV business to a huge consumer products supplier to such retailers as Wal-Mart and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Recently, Response caught up with Khubani to discuss TELEBrands' quarter-century milestone.
RESPONSE: What's the most memorable moment of TELEBrands' first 25 years?
A.J. KHUBANI: It has to be the first time we got retail distribution on AmberVision sunglasses (in 1987). Going into the store, witnessing consumers pick up the product, look at it and walk out with it — it was very satisfying.
Have the past 25 years essentially unfolded how you envisioned? What have been the biggest surprises?
KHUBANI: You can never plan out how things are going to go in business. However I envisioned it from the very beginning, it's nowhere near what I initially envisioned. In fact, it's far bigger than I ever imagined it would be. Of course, I never contemplated filing bankruptcy. But business has its ups and downs.
The bankruptcy changed the way I look at things personally. I try to enjoy every single day that I am in business and every day that things are going well. You have to take it one day at a time. Many times in life, people are waiting for some event before they're satisfied. "When I solve this problem, then everything will be fine. When I hit this threshold, then I'll be happy.""I don't look at it that way anymore. Every day, I enjoy what I am doing, whether I am satisfied or even if we're having a problem. It's cliché, but I take more time to smell the flowers.