Learn from a successful entrepreneur who has "been there" and "done that."
Bastien Products Co.
Product: Bastien’s New England Coffee Flavored Syrup, 1978 - 1980 Story Behind the Product: While growing up in southern New England, Stephen became familiar with coffee syrup. When he moved to Chicago as an adult, he learned that other parts of the country were not familiar with coffee syrup, so he would bring cases of it back with him. Realizing other transplanted southern New Englanders he met were doing the same, he hired a chemist, developed his own formula, found a distributor that would drop-ship cases of his product to gourmet stores nationwide, and had created his first entrepreneurial venture.
Product: Stand-A-While Desk Top, 1979 - 1981 Story Behind the Product: After injuring his lower back, Stephen realized he could not sit at his desk for hours on end without making his back worse and that standing up for 20 minutes twice a day helped his aching back. That’s when the Stand-A-While Desk Top was born. Finding a designer to work with, then a small manufacturer, he began distributing the product nationally and overseas to the military using free advertising available at the time. He likes to boast that his marketing/advertising budget was less than $100 because all the free sources he found in which to advertise and distribute his product.
Service: MMGS (Musical Merchandise Growth Services), 1981 - 1983 Story Behind the Service: Recognizing a need for marketing services in the music manufacturing industry, Stephen developed MMGS, specializing in the marketing of music instruments to the nation’s retailers. Working for and with Gibson Guitars and Dean Guitars, MMGS developed marketing plans and product placements, along with advertising campaigns that resulted in significant revenue.
Product: Lok-A-Kote, 1982 - 1984 Story Behind the Product: While searching for a manufacturer for his Stand-A-While Desk Top, Stephen met the owner of a tool & dye company who was a born inventor but didn't know how to market the products he invented. One of those products was the Lok-A-Kote, a coin-operated locking coat rack that allowed people to safely lock their coats in public places for 50 cents. With manufacturing costs of only $225 per unit and a selling cost of $1995, the high profit margin and ease of sale to restaurants, health clubs, malls, and colleges was simply too attractive for Stephen to walk away from.
Service: CollecTemp, 1984 - 1986 Story Behind the Service: When listening to the owner of a debt collection agency complain about the high employee turnover among his debt collection staff, Stephen saw an opportunity to create a niche market of training debt collectors and renting them out to agencies and company credit departments. With high profit margins and little overhead, Stephen created a debt collectors training workshop that resulted in more reliable and efficient debt collectors that saved companies both time and money.
S.R. Bastien Co., Inc., Incorporated in 1988
Product: Creditor's Edge, 1986 - Present Story Behind the Product: Recognizing the need for businesses to have updated information on companies that were having some form of financial difficulty, and understanding the high profit margins that exist in the newsletter publishing field, Stephen designed and marketed his first financial publication in 1986 called Creditor's Edge, a four-page monthly. Today, operating under his www.businessnewsshorts.com moniker, his Creditor's Edge is the Internet's oldest daily business news service, while his Companies on the Move and Retailer/Supplier Watch newsletters serve a niche market that has little competition.