Drawing inspiration from single-handedly remodeling a 50-year-old fixer-upper, Omahan Jennifer Lea officially launched Entry Envy on October 1, 2021, as a means of boosting curb appeal with minimal effort and expense. Fast forward eight months later and the custom sign concept was recognized as the best new subscription service of 2022 by the Subscription Trade Association (SUBTA) and its Cube Awards.
Furthermore, the thriving service is providing a platform for women to consider the trades as a profession.
The founder and CEO recalled being moved to tears during the SUBTA ceremony in early June in Orlando.
“Huge companies like Netflix and the New York Times had just been on stage,” Lea said. “It meant so much to have a renowned organization with thousands of subscription-based business members believe that much in our startup to give us such an honor. I said during my acceptance speech that, ‘I knew I was in the top 5% to even be in that room, let alone to win an award.’”
Lea also noted that acknowledgement from the industry’s most prestigious awards program validated her decision to quit a six-figure job as a single mom with two kids and chase a dream that existed for as long as she could remember: to launch her own business.
“I went back for my executive MBA in 2013 to start a law firm consulting practice,” she explained. “The problem with that was, while I was writing a book about how to manage a law firm and creating my business plan, I realized I was going to build a business I knew I was quite capable of, but I didn’t want to work for lawyers for the next 30 years.”
Lea harnessed the words of a wise woman: “Don’t build a business you don’t want.”
“When the concept of Entry Envy came to me, it felt right,” she said. “It was like the business I had been searching to start for almost 10 years presented itself on a platter. It was going to be up to me to decide whether or not I wanted to eat it.”
Everyday Problem, Elegant Solution
The concept of what would become the only exterior home décor and faux floral subscription service dawned on Lea during the spring of 2021.
Remember the fixer-upper? Well, Lea realized the inside of the house looked amazing. But, out of time, energy and money, she got the biggest oomph for her dollar by painting the garage and front doors and adding modern house numbers (bonus: the numbers would help delivery drivers and guests find her house).
With a little inspiration from Etsy and Pinterest, she added a planter box featuring artificial floral décor to the sign.
“I knew I would want new decor each month to celebrate all the holidays and seasons, because that’s my thing,” she said. “I quickly realized this little box would be a lot of work to keep in style with the current month, and I would have to over-purchase so much ‘stuff’ each month to fill the tiny space. Then it dawned on me, I could help other busy women simultaneously make their home look beautiful and their life easier. Entry Envy was born.”
Today, Entry Envy has tripled its subscriber volume over the end of 2021.
“The subscription business is a long game, but recurring revenue is a beautiful business model,” Lea said. “We do not require customers to purchase a subscription when they are buying their sign, but 85% do. And 30% of our customers are repeat customers, purchasing additional signs as gifts.”
Lea added that its “churn” rate is less than 3%, extremely low by subscription box standards.
She said she anticipates fourth quarter to be exceptionally busy during gift-giving season.
“Bottomline: Entry Envy is a bootstrapped startup that will likely be profitable 15 months after launching. I consider that a huge win,” she said.
Curb Appeal and Opening Doors
Since everyone has a front door, Lea indicated that its uses and creative applications are abundant and diverse.
“We ship monthly to a 16-year-old boarding school student and to a 102-year-old in a nursing home,” she said. “We have many real estate agents that give our signs as closing gifts and other professionals for customer appreciation gifts and participate in our affiliate program.”
In fact, Entry Envy is actively developing many affiliate and influencer relationships to reach a larger audience.
“I also think we have an untapped opportunity with LinkedIn to connect to real estate agents, architects, builders and assisted living executive directors,” she said.
Ultimately, though, Lea wants Entry Envy to help educate and encourage more women to consider the trades as a noble profession.
“We are already employing several high school students and will continue to hire more,” she said. “I have plans to expand our product lines over the next six to 12 months.”
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