Home Back Issues May 2012 Sweet smell of success

Sweet smell of success

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012

By Jon Bell

0512_GamePlan_AirDelightsWhile on a visit to his cousin’s Beaverton home more than 20 years ago, Steve Bronson caught a whiff of something that flipped on a light bulb in his mind: air fresheners.

It was more than just a hint of lavender or a trace of an alpine meadow. Bronson’s cousin, Glenda, it turned out, was a bit of an air freshener fanatic. In every room of her home she had air fresheners, spending about $350 a month.

Bronson had been running his own one-man commercial cleaning company, but he’d been wanting to start a mail-order business to supplement the income. Air fresheners seemed like the right idea, so he launched Air Delights. Without any business education, Bronson had only his ideas to go on.

“I had a blue-collar background and I graduated high school,” says Bronson, 51, “but everything I’ve done with Air Delights has just been based on my own ideas.”

For Bronson, that meant sending a letter to every air freshener company he could find, selling to his friends and family — his first customer was, no surprise, Glenda — and landing an unlikely account as a distributor for a large air freshener and soap dispenser company called Technical Concepts. Three years in and on the verge of throwing in the towel he bought a computer and figured out how to take his business online. With a lot of hard work and dedication, it took off.

Today, Air Delights sells more than 25,000 different plumbing and restroom accessory products to 50,000 customers around the world, including 25 U.S. embassies, Harvard University and the Ferrari World amusement park in Abu Dhabi. Housed in a commercial building in Beaverton purchased last October, the company employs 10 and, according to Bronson, has revenues approaching $5 million a year.

Though Air Delights’ residential business was hit hard during the recession — the company no longer even serves that market — Bronson says the commercial side has been steady. He attributes that to a solid reputation as a trustworthy company and a larger focus on more specialized plumbing repair parts. Air Delights also has begun to dabble in private labeling and manufacturing its own products such as air fresheners and soap dispensers, an endeavor that Bronson sees as the key to growing his once-little company by about 10% to 15% a year.

“If you’ve got determination,” he says, “you’d be surprised at what you can do.”

 

 

More Articles

South Waterfront's revenge

News
Thursday, July 24, 2014
MoodyAveBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Remember the naysayers?  Those who called the South Waterfront aerial tram a boondoggle?  Those who rejoiced at the massive sell off of luxury condos at the John Ross and Atwater Place?


Read more...

Two sides of the coin

Contributed Blogs
Monday, August 25, 2014
0825 thumb moneyBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Ferguson Wellman’s investment views on the economy and capital markets.


Read more...

Private liberal arts education: superior outcomes, competitive price

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
0826 thumb collegemoneyBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?


Read more...

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

The Scott Kveton affair

News
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
ScottKvetonBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS