Evan Montero from DIY Blinds: Online Window Dressing | #296

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Evan talks disruption, hiring strategy and his commitment to Aussie made

Evan Montero from DIY Blinds

Evan Montero is the co-founder and CEO of DIY Blinds – a fully Australian-made blinds, curtains and shutters’ eServices business. Originally working in the superannuation industry, Evan had a strong entrepreneurial instinct to start his own business. Along with co-founder Liam Dobson, Evan created a disruptive model within the home improvement industry to make it easy for customers to buy high-quality blinds, curtains and shutters online - removing the need for the traditional bricks and mortar showroom space.

Since the launch of DIY Blinds it has been recognised in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 and AFR Fast 100, as well as receiving a $15 million investment from the Australian Business Growth Fund. The business has expanded rapidly, making DIY Blinds one of the fastest-growing blinds and curtains retailers in Australia, with a valuation of $100M+ in less than five years.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Evan Montero, Co-founder and CEO of DIY Blinds

DIY Blinds is Australia’s fastest growing window furnishing retailer taking curtains and blinds out of the showroom without compromising on experience. Their unique business model has disrupted the space, earning the business 46 million dollars in revenue and features with Grand Designs, Australian House and Garden and The Block Shop as well as hundreds of five star reviews.  Our chat today goes far and wide and Evan shares some great insights on his commitment to Australian made, how he makes a point of hiring with bias and the order that left him speechless.

“We want to offer the same quality as what would be offered in a showroom, but online”

Evan Montero

A disruptive business model based on GFC

“If I look at our business as to what’s made us successful, I think about this model called GFC. It’s got nothing to do with the global financial crisis, but it’s good, fast and cheap. The metaphor applies really well if I give you an example, it applies to all businesses, but the example I’ll give you is a builder. You can have a builder who’s good and fast, but they’re not going to be very cheap. You can have a builder that’s fast and cheap, but they’re not going to be very good. 

So the ambition we had from day one was to find a service and product offering where what we were selling was amazing. It was good. The quality. Australian-made. done. Fast, in terms of lead time, especially with e-comm and the way people buy, they don’t really want to wait too long. We could achieve that with Australian-made. So we make our plantation shutters in seven days. We get curtains made in seven days. Roller blinds can be made in five days. So, lead time is amazing. 

And then on the cheap, if you replace the word cheap – because we do sell designer quality window furnishings – with value, we’re able to do that because of our disruptive business model. We don’t have the same expenses as your traditional brick and mortar stores. So we’re able to do all three, good, fast and cheap. And that’s what we’ve built the brand on.”

No commissions, just a well paid sales team

“Something that’s not really great in our industry is that a lot of people hire contractors for the sales component and then incentivize them via either no base salary and all commission or a very low base and saying, right, you’re driven by commission. Having come from finance, I think commission heavy led sales roles lead to bad behaviours. It incentivizes bad behaviours. We’ve seen that with the Royal Banking Commission. 

So what we do is we hire our designers full time. We don’t offer any commissions. We pay them above market rate so that they can focus on doing a good job in servicing our customers and achieving really, really good outcomes in terms of both aesthetics and taking the time to actually talk through functionality like light control and privacy and thermal installation and home automation. 

So they’re not under pressure to just get X amount of sales out so they can meet target. Their main focus is on actually delivering really great outcomes for customers.”

Hiring with bias

“When I say I hire with a bias, it’s on two fronts. One, I look for opportunities to hire people and give them an opportunity where they wouldn’t normally get an opportunity. So it doesn’t mean that I hire people just because of their backgrounds or whatever the optics is. 

I hire people on the basis that if they can do the job, regardless of what school they went to, regardless of which company they’ve come from, if they can do the job, they’ve mastered their skill and they’re going to add amazing value to the business, then I hire them.”

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