An exclusive interview with Karl Sutton, CEO of Qolture Inc.
Tell us about yourself?
As the founder and CEO of Qolture, Inc., I am responsible for our day-to-day operations and long-term strategy development. I practice a participative management style that combines open communications, fairness and optimism to guide our project teams.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
When I founded Qolture in 2015, I understood that the traditional brick-and-mortar retail furniture store – successful in its day — was a thing of the past. I wanted to transform how people decorate their homes through online shopping, so I immediately began building Qolture into a creative, fast-rising e-commerce star. Today, our customer-centric, go-to online furniture store is in the furniture industry front lines, offering customers a carefully curated selection of stylish furniture and home décor accessories from around the globe. As an online store, we’re always open and welcoming, allowing people to browse and purchase the items they choose in just a few convenient clicks. With free shipping for orders over $99, fast service and safe returns within 90 days, we now have many happy, returning customers. No old brick-and-mortar furniture showrooms for us. The future is here, online, with Qolture.com.
How much potential market share can you achieve in next 3 years?
We believe we can increase our market share by 1-3% by winning it away from competitors like Wayfair, West Elm and AllModern. The primary focus of our business model, which is on Qolture’s value proposition and customer segment building blocks, will also fuel our growth. And we’ll build more traction and scale by periodically adjusting our business plan according to facts on the ground. Of course, improving our customers’ shopping experience on Qolture.com by expanding product assortment areas and streamlining category management is also essential to continued market growth. These are some of the foundational elements we’ve put into play to increase our market share in this industry.
What was the best book or series that you’ve ever read?
Without a doubt, the best book I’ve ever read is Alice Schroeder’s The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. I view Warren Buffet is one of the greatest teachers of business and personal development, and I’ve implemented many of his recommendations in my life and business ventures.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
I am a lifelong learner, and my most valuable purchases have been to support my continued real-world education. Often that has come from the variety of books I’ve read by authors like Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Alice Schroeder, Zig Ziglar, Robert Kiyosaki, Napoleon Hill, and Stephen Covey. Then, of course, there’s the Harvard Business Review—essential reading for anyone in business. While I have no personal “worst purchase” example to share, speaking in general terms, I consider the least valuable purchases—or worst purchases—that people make are of non-essential items that add no real value to their lives. For example, buying an expensive watch is a move that comes with little else than a decrease in one’s bank balance. However, investing in one’s continuing education is a value-adding move that can positively impact earning power.
What takes up too much of your time?
Qolture consumes most of my time—but I don’t regret that because I know it’s an investment that will produce many positive returns.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?
Don’t start a business without a business plan. That’s key. You must have a well thought out business plan or business model canvas you can implement when you start out. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that once you’ve developed a plan — that’s it. Planning isn’t static. It’s dynamic, which means you should expect to update your business plan or business model canvas on a regular basis. But that’s not all. Assembling the right team to assist with the launch of your new venture is equally important. A vibrant working team is essential to achieving your goals.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
I would have to say that I really admire Elon Musk’s vision, creativity, and determination. These characteristics drive his business success.
Tell us about something you are proud of – about your greatest challenge.
One of our biggest challenges has been to build collaborative relationships with other brands that will allow us to further grow our already rich online offerings. Along those lines, we recently secured a long-term partnership with MyPillow, Inc., one of the most recognized brands in the world. This was a critical milestone for Qolture. This new partnership has allowed us to expand the range of our online sleep products, and we are presently carrying the MyPillow Classic in our catalog. Our goal is to offer more MyPillow products in our catalog in the future.
How people should connect with you?