Interview With CEO and Founder of NoMiddleMan, LLC

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NoMiddleMan was founded by  patrick Ward and Jan Andersen. Both of them are international business executives. The Idea of NoMiddleMan came to their mind when they were attending international trade shows and visiting overseas factories. Two amazing things struck their mind which led to their startup NoMiddleMan.

First, there is lack of furniture products available in the US market. Furniture retailers only have small range of products available in the showrooms. Secondly, prices were low when you buy directly from factories.

After some brain storming they realized that high prices of overseas product in the US were due to layers of middleman. Inventories, warehouses all add to the cost of the products as well as importers and distributors. There had to be a better way of distributing all this products.

They came with the idea of placing individual orders to the factories and ship the order directly to the customers. Their idea could deliver better products in time and also keeping the cost of products down.
By eliminating the middleman like distributors, importers and wholesalers, NoMiddleMan are making thousands of products available to the customers in US, which were previously unavailable.

patrickward (CEO and Founder of NoMiddleMan, LLC) 6 Years in Startup Manufacturer, 2 in Banking, 2 in Non-Profit Work Prior to Founding NoMIddleMan in 2014

Nomiddleman

Q. What motivated you to start your business?

A. I started NoMiddleMan because I strongly believe in e-commerce and I love finding new things around the world.  I think we should expect better service at retail, both online and offline, and we can get both better value and better quality for our money.  Further, I strongly believe that most retail will be online shortly.  I felt like I had spent my entire life preparing to found my own business.  NoMiddleMan was my opportunity to do just that.  Further, I think it is a great model for how to sell furniture in the future.  We bring a lot of great products to market at good prices, so I’m very proud of that.

Q. When your business founded?

A. We founded NoMiddleMan in the spring of 2014.  The website went live in 2015.

Q. What were you doing before starting this business?

A. I worked for six years at Northstar Balloons.  Northstar Balloons is a manufacturer of flexible packaging and mylar party balloons.  At Northstar I helped build the first machines, setup the factory, and start the sales operations.  I did everything.  the hardest parts were running the factory.  This meant I spent a lot of late nights working with the second shift or helping get the first shift up and going.

Towards the end of my time there, I spent a lot of time traveling internationally including Mexico, Latin America, and Europe.  I was in charge of most international sales, with the exception of Europe.

Q. How did you come up with the idea of your brand name?

A. My partner actually came up with the idea for our name.  He had spent a lot of time looking for a name that wasn’t already taken. The basic concept is to cut out as many steps in the retail chain as possible.  We don’t sell out of our own stores, have our own warehouses, or buy from other importers.  We work as hard as we can to get back to the original factory owner.  I guess we are technically the middleman, but nomiddleman sounded a lot better than onemiddleman.   It took us some work to get the domain name.  We started out with nomiddleman.co but eventually went to nomiddleman.com.

Q. What does a typical day in your office consists of?

A. We are as virtual as we can be.  Typically I am up very early.  I do most of my hardwork in the morning then do easier things later.  I usually spend a few hours early working on our website, then spend some time talking to people or responding to questions.  I don’t work as well mid afternoon so I try to take a break and get exercise then.  My day picks up in the evening again when some of my suppliers are most active.  I do a lot on my phone.  Some days are less busy, but even then my phone is always buzzing.

Q. What are your future thoughts about your industry?

A. I’ll split this into two responses.  First, I think online retail is only going to expand.  Yes, people love touching things but Americans in particular are comfortable buying online.  As people age they will find that they use the internet more not less and therefore will shift their purchases online.  The younger generation already prefers to shop online.  Why should I go to the mall when I can look at stuff at home on the couch?  With regards to furniture, I think we will see a gradual shift to quality. I think the low end brands will always have a place but people don’t want to buy new stuff every time they move.

Q. Your suggestions for younger generations?

A. I suggest people try to accomplish their dreams and stay active.  It is important not to stop learning.  I think the most important thing is to be international in your views and abilities.  Make sure that you can speak another language besides English.  English is the most important language to speak today, but Spanish and Chinese are also very important.  Further, now is a great time to do things.  The cost of starting a business is plummeting and you can do without a lot of things that people had to buy in the past.  The on-demand economy also means you need a lot less full time resources.

 

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