Many entrepreneurs shy away from delegating tasks because they believe “if you want the job done right, you have to do it yourself.” It’s part of what drives them as entrepreneurs — the independent go-getter spirit with great ideas and even greater ambitions.
Unfortunately, trying to do it all oneself is a recipe for burnout and things slipping through the cracks. While many entrepreneurs can indeed do it all for a spell, there comes a time when a successful business venture needs more hands to accommodate growth.
Savvy business leaders recognize this point in business development, and they seek help so that they can focus on their strengths. Seeking help can make one feel vulnerable, but doing it wisely is actually a sign of strength and strategic thinking. The people who can do this — and prosper from such trust and expansion — are true entrepreneurial leaders who have mastered the delicate art of delegation.
Greg Shnaydman, the founder and CEO of Kitchen & Bath Authority, is amongst this select (and successful) group.
X-Cart has done our development since day one, and we’re super happy with them. Honestly, I don’t see us functioning outside of X-Cart.Greg Shnaydman,
the founder and CEO of KB Authority
Today Greg owns a thriving business that sells top brands of kitchen and bathroom products, including bathtubs, shower doors, vanities, sinks, and more. Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, Kitchen & Bath Authority’s catalog includes more than 800,000 products and the company ships to both the United States and Canada.
But this kind of success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, and it requires investment in people and technology. Building relationships with trusted service providers is key to operational efficiency, product offerings, pricing, customer satisfaction, and every other crucial component a successful business requires.
In this success story, we’ve interviewed Greg to learn more about the origins of Kitchen & Bath Authority and the actions that Greg and his team have taken to grow the company into a booming brick-and-mortar and eCommerce experience.
Getting the Business off the Ground
The prospect of starting a business sounds thrilling, but the reality of getting that business off the ground is complicated and difficult.
Back in 2005, online shopping was not the ubiquitous experience it is today. In fact, Amazon Prime wasn’t even rolled out until 2005. Even savvy internet users were hesitant to shop online, especially when they had to disclose the three-digit security code on the backs of credit cards.
The marketplace wasn’t ready for an eCommerce startup like Greg’s. This meant that Greg needed a hybrid presence. New York real estate isn’t cheap, nor is space plentiful, so Greg’s headquarters for both his online and physical operations was his parents’ Staten Island basement where he created an office.
Think about that. Consider that effort in today’s fast-paced world of instant-eCommerce; think about what entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Greg Shnaydman were up against starting out in garages and basements when much of the buying public had dial-up modems and was reluctant to share credit card information. That takes some real courage, problem solving, and pivoting if one is going to survive those early days. Luckily, Greg is the consummate entrepreneur. Where others see obstacles, he sees opportunities.
Keep reading to see how Greg seized those opportunities and created a thriving business with a 4.6/5-star overall satisfaction rating based on 6,350 Shopper Verified ratings.
Hi Greg, great to connect with you. Tell me a little about getting started. What inspired you to pick kitchen and bath products? What are the origins of KBA?
This is going back to 2005 when the internet was just evolving. It wasn’t what it is today. I was in my early 20s and I thought, “Hey, everybody’s home has a kitchen sink; some have two.” These are not delicate items in terms of getting a product to a person safely. I thought kitchen sinks and faucets were sturdy enough to handle shipping.
So I built my first website using Microsoft Frontpage and I started with a manufacturer called Franke, which we still sell today. I modeled the website to be consistent with Franke’s website. And that was all done out of my parents’ basement in Staten Island, New York. It took off right away, which was a bit of a surprise, considering that people weren’t accustomed to placing orders online, definitely not for items like a sink or a faucet.
I remember back then when you had to ask for the three-digit security code on the back of a credit or debit card; people just didn’t want to give it to you. They thought it was exactly what it sounded like, a “security code” that you’re not supposed to give to anybody.
Business picked up and it evolved from there. I got my first office in Brooklyn, New York, a tiny little room no more than 12 feet long by 4 feet wide. I started adding products and got a standalone office and then started building out products brand by brand in our database.
How did the name “Kitchen & Bath Authority” come about?
That’s a funny story. So the company started as “Fausink,” combining faucet and sink in one word. After a little while, I realized that “faux” meant “fake” in French. And we were getting a lot of questions like “Hey, are these real products?” So we had to rebrand and we went with Kitchen & Bath Authority sometime around 2009. Definitely better to be an authority than a fake.
Working Closely With eCommerce Experts
Whether you own an online store or you’re selling on other marketplaces like Amazon, outsourcing to expert professionals can help you manage your growing business more effectively.
That’s what Greg did, wisely assigning custom development tasks to the team who made his new shopping-cart software, the X-Cart eCommerce platform. Instead of hiring third-party developers and having them work with another developer’s code, Greg chose X-Cart to do it all from day one.
He also outsourced advertising to digital marketing strategists, DigiMar. That, along with using the X-Cart platform, took the burden of online commerce and advertising off his shoulders so he could do what he did best: innovate and develop a business growth strategy.
We’re glad you’ve been with us and that we’ve been able to help you grow your business! How did implementing X-Cart in your company benefit KB Authority?
X-Cart is an all-in-one solution. The same guys who develop the software also do your custom development. I think that’s the best way to go so you don’t have people coding on top of other people’s code.
X-Cart has done our development since day one, and we’re super happy with them. I have to credit a lot of our success to them because they’re efficient, they know what they’re doing, and they give great suggestions to help us optimize the website experience for shoppers. Honestly, I don’t see us functioning outside of X-Cart. We really love their product and portal — the way they manage tickets, the way they provide you with an estimated time of completion — they’re always on point.
Awesome to hear! And how have DigiMar’s ad campaigns helped your business grow?
I would put DigiMar right up there with X-Cart in terms of the driving forces behind my business. We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for DigiMar. The key point here is the efficiency in ad-spend. Anybody can throw money at a campaign and get some clicks, but to do it efficiently and profitably, that’s where the trick comes in. DigiMar’s ability to calculate down to a single penny is incredible, and we attribute a lot of our success to the way our campaigns have been run. It’s been at least a 500% increase in sales since we started with DigiMar and X-Cart.
Other Factors That Increased Conversion Rates
Kitchen & Bath Authority has seen lots of meaningful changes over the past few years. It’s hard to say what exactly has given the company that extra lift, but Greg has some ideas.
Tell us about your recent website redesign and what that’s done for the business.
We pushed a major facelift within the last year and we continue to enhance the user experience every couple of months in order to stay fresh. It’s always hard to say what kind of measurable effect the design has because on top of the design and functionality of the website, we’re adding hundreds of thousands of products monthly. I think the redesign of the website plus a huge increase in available products has given us a major boost this past year.
To Sum It Up
I wonder how many more young eCommerce businesses would succeed if their founders realized early on that one person can’t do it all and they reached out for expert help.
Instead of taking it all on himself or micromanaging his employees, Greg utilizes expert providers like X-Cart so he can simply delegate and know that his expectations will be met.
This strategy has brought Greg nothing but success. Kitchen & Bath Authority has grown its sales, staff, reach, and reputation. And Greg can concentrate on the next steps and the greatest bonus any entrepreneur can enjoy: some free time!