Blaine Neupert, Don’s Home Furniture
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Blaine Neupert, president, Don’s Home Furniture.
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What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
With a forecasting period of almost 12–18 months, one of our biggest challenges is figuring out which furniture designs our customers will be looking for in the future. Interestingly, and often times helpful to us, is that almost all trends in furniture start in the fashion industry. So we look to what type of lifestyle consumers are leaning toward and we create our new designs accordingly.
What we love and find most rewarding is when we see the look on a customer’s face when they realize that Amish furniture is not what they think it is.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
I am inspired by people and companies, both locally and worldwide, who create their own path, those who buck the trend and are successful in doing so. One that comes to mind is Henry Ford. He started with a concept and he built an entire revolution around it. He didn’t worry that it hadn’t been done before, nor did he let what other people thought about his idea deter him from moving forward to completing a product he believed could change the world.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
In just under 30 years, our locally owned company hit $100 million in sales. When I think about that I’m humbled in knowing that the furniture sold will live on for decades and be passed down through many generations. I love hearing that someone has a piece of our furniture that has been passed down from generation to generation. I enjoy that they have an emotional attachment to what that piece of furniture means to them and what it meant to their family.
Thinking back on your career, what advise would you give to your 21-year old self?
Learn from your mistakes. Mistakes are the cornerstone of every successful person. Embrace the lesson you learn from every mistake you made and don’t make the same mistake twice.