Ignoring Advice Profitable

By May, Bill | THE JOURNAL RECORD, August 12, 1989 | Go to article overview

Ignoring Advice Profitable


May, Bill, THE JOURNAL RECORD


If Jennifer Runyeon had listened to her boss in her first job out of college, today she wouldn't own two companies with plants in two states and huge expansion plans.

When Runyeon, a 1982 graduate of Southern Methodist University, asked her boss if she could enter training to become a commodity broker, she met a lot of resistance.

"I was working as an assistant to a broker and felt I wanted to move up," she said. "He told me that already I had two strikes against me, that I was too young and I was a woman.

"Two months later I started my own commodity brokerage business and have three men working for me now."

It was this experience, plus knowledge gained since 1982, that led Runyeon to buy a second business and open a plant and distribution center in Hugo, Okla.

While working as a commodity broker, Runyeon found she had some excess time, so she developed a business to broker other businesses.

In late 1988, a business associate told her about an ad in a business newspaper for a New Jersey company which made a new type of windshield wiper. Although the company was involved with bankruptcy proceedings, Runyeon investigated, felt the product had potential and decided to buy the whole company.

After buying the production company plus inventory and patents, Runyeon created Dauntless Marketing Inc. to handle marketing for this product, and others which the company may develop.

Today, Dauntless Marketing has an assembly plant in Hugo to manufacture Tripledge windshield wiper blades which are guaranteed for the life of the car. In addition, two other products, Shade, a sunscreen for car finishes, and Marine Shade, a sunscreen for boat finishes, are produced for the company in a plant in Denton, Texas.

All three products are distributed from the Hugo plant site.

Dauntless Marketing, which has 30 employees in Hugo, has 20 employees in the Dallas headquarters while Contemporary Financial Futures Corp., the commodity brokerage company, also in Dallas, has four full-time brokers and a part-time secretary, she said.

Since all three products distributed by Dauntless are in what has been perceived as a male-dominated sphere, Runyeon said she also met a lot of resistance because of her gender in the new company.

"I've overcome it though, and probably my sex is more of a benefit for me now than it was a hinderance," she said. "Now, it opens doors for me, people have heard about the product and there are not many women in this type of business."

After investigating Tripledge Windshield Wiper Corp. of New Jersey, Runyeon was quick to recognize the potential of the product, but noticed the existing company did not take full advantage of that potential through its marketing concept.

"They went to the automotive aftermarket, trying to sell the wipers through jobbers and distributors to auto parts retailers," she said. "These blades, which cost $19.95 would be lying there on a shelf next to the other, better known and less expensive blades.

"Nobody that I know of ever asks for windshield wiper blades by name, they just say what kind of car they have and ask for an inexpensive blade.

"Tripledge just couldn't compete that way.

"Because these blades are guaranteed for the life of a car, I felt that direct marketing was a better approach, so I investigated that possibility.

"The older company had done some direct marketing, but their volume was not high enough to support the high cost of the magazines they had selected. …

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