How did you enter the lighting industry?
I was born into the lighting industry. My dad, Bill Teiber, was a manufacturers’ rep and importer in the residential lighting business. As a young boy I tagged along with my dad when he called on lighting showrooms on Saturdays and school holidays. I also helped him count inventories and put chandeliers together. In high school, I worked at M&M Lighting in Houston, assembling and hanging displays and cleaning the toilets. During my college years, I worked in a ceiling fan store in Austin (I earned extra commission if I sold the fans my Dad repped!). After graduating college, I went to work full-time for the Bill Teiber Company, Inc. as a rep in the North Texas area.
My only career change was from lighting rep to lighting manufacturer. Craftmade acquired Teiber Lighting Products in 2005 and then hired me in 2009. I told Craftmade that I needed to keep Teiber & Company (the rep agency) going just in case I didn’t like the corporate job. Eight years later, I still love my position at Craftmade and my wife, Cathy, and our wonderful associates keep Teiber and Company going strong.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen?
The speed of business! When I started, fax machines were just becoming affordable and popular. Before that, orders were mailed to the factories. Then came pagers, cell phones, laptops, and finally, the smart phone that put all of a computer’s technology and speed in the palm of your hand. Business is transacted in an instant now.
Another change was when offshore production occurred. This caused several things to happen — the price of lighting dropped over the course of years, so you had to sell many more units to equal the same dollar sales, plus the styles and designs became commoditized so you had to move quickly to stay ahead of the game. It also became easier to get into the business, which produced many new competitors.
LED is the latest game changer. The start-up was rough, as normal lighting benchmarks didn’t apply any longer. The public is certainly accepting LED with open arms, but the varying LED technologies make consistency in usage very difficult. Educating the industry and our consumers is more important than ever.
What has been the key to your success?
I’m a big believer in The Golden Rule! Honesty, respect, and sincerity are some of the most important traits that my parents instilled in me. They also taught me that a good work ethic would be vital to success.
Through the years I have met, worked with, and enjoyed so many good times with the wonderful people in our industry. This might be a bit cliché, but if you enjoy your work, it really isn’t work.
Lastly, I might be the luckiest guy I know. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing children, and a very close family here in Dallas. I have also been the recipient of some great breaks and opportunities in my 34-year career.
What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t worry about how your competitors are doing; just worry about what you can control in your business.
Where do you see you/your business in the next 5 to 10 years?
I intend to continue to help guide Craftmade on its journey to build the company through innovative design and technology and keep the reputation of being easy to do business with. I work with a great group of people who really care about our customers’ experience. As we go forward, I feel confident that Craftmade has built a foundation for great growth with our eye always focused on our customers.