What They’re Thinking: Jeannette Howe
I think Specialty Electronics Nationwide could be 2,000-member some day. In the appliance world right now, everybody is a member of a buying group. A dealer has that a brick-and-mortar investment really can’t afford to be buying through distribution. Joining a buying group is a way to continue profitability.
Starting the buying group (SEN) is both the best and hardest business decision I’ve ever made. I’ve always wanted to start something on my own. I always knew I had the ability and ambition to make that happen. Going from being a stay-at-home parent with PARA to being the road warrior as I am now is a big life change. When you know you are going to change your life that radically, you really have to think about it very hard. I do want this to be successful.
In many respects, they still think they are still selling to men. I read an article that 79 percent of disposable income is going to be managed by women between ages 50 and 70 now that the baby boom population has grown up and the kids are out of the nest. Yet the industry still targets the 19- to 34-year-old men, but the reality is women carry the checkbooks at this point. We need to be marketing to women more effectively, and marketing to older women who control a greater share of disposable income.