Michael Cregan tells us about Butler Luxury, a leading designer and manufacturer of luxury wooden hangers for the discerning professional.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Butler Luxury.
Michael Cregan: I began Butler Luxury 10 years ago as a luxury offshoot of my business, making wooden clothing hangers for designers such as Calvin Klein, Chanel, Michael Kors, Oscar De La Renta, and many others. Even though designers are demanding, we knew we could push the limits of quality to new levels if a budget did not limit us. Working with one of the tailors on Saville Row, we designed the ultimate suit hanger.
Butler Luxury was born as a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business. From the beginning, we have not cared how many hangers we sell, only that they are the best that can possibly be. That seems to generate sales. Recently we boosted the pinnacle a bit further when we introduced our Tailor-Made suit hanger made in African Rosewood. Something spectacular and never seen before.
Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?
Michael Cregan: Never considering what I do to be work. It is always what I want to do.
How does Butler Luxury market its product/services online?
Michael Cregan: Our biggest concentration is on search engine optimization and keeping our name out there. If people get to the site, they will buy. Also, we ensure that all customers are extremely well cared for and their order is taken personally, not just as a number. That generates recommendations to friends, return purchases, and great reviews.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Michael Cregan: We use Glopal to manage our international sites and sales. They translate our sites into many different languages and currencies so that customers anywhere in the world can feel comfortable on our site and easily get the items they want. We use Constant Contact and Mail Chimp to maintain excellent contact with customers. And, again, various SEO systems keep at the top for keywords.
What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?
Michael Cregan: We treat employees the same as we treat customers – as individuals with specific, unique goals and personalities. Each employee gets full and careful training to ensure the job is second nature to them. We involve each employee in creating the atmosphere and procedures we follow. We work as a team. One of the highlights for me is when employees tell me that their job is the best they’ve ever had. Important to me is forgetting slogans, dogma, and great-sounding ideas and concentrating on actual care, actual attention, and real interest.
How are you funding your growth?
Michael Cregan: We fund through internal sales, and we have also taken advantage of the EIDL loans available over the last few years.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Michael Cregan: We have many competitors, whether online or the better brick and mortar stores. We plan to stay in the game by constantly improving our products and ensuring we are at the pinnacle of quality – above anyone else.
Tell us a customer success story of yours.
Michael Cregan: This is a different type of success story that illustrates a bit of how we are regarded. We have many well-known people as customers, and it is always a joy to help them. One of them, an Oscar-winning director, after a number of orders, asked me if I could come down and have lunch with him the next time I was in Los Angeles (we are in Santa Barbara). He wanted to meet me. A month later, I took him up on his offer and expected we would have a quick lunch in a restaurant, and then he’d send me on my way. Instead, I arrived at his beautiful home, and after about 5 minutes of greeting and small talk, he asked, “Are you hungry, Mike?” After I said yes, he told his assistant, “Tell the chef to prepare lunch.” Sure enough, a man in a white jacket and chef’s hat appeared, and he gave instructions. It turned into a 3-hour lunch with his wife and family. Thoroughly surprising and enjoyable.
Your final thoughts?
Michael Cregan: We are happy to work with the public and provide them with a better product than they expected and better service than they expected. We do not want satisfied customers. We want customers who are enthusiastic about our products and services.