A Chat With May's Profile, John Doheny, CEO, Doheny's Water Warehouse
As for myself, I'll continue to work on finding balance between the company’s needs and my family’s. We have four small children, and as a father I've found our family dynamics change as rapidly as the business’s. One of the last things my father said to me before passing away was to “smell the roses.” Life's short and very unpredictable. I measure success in many ways, not just financially.
CS: Have the rising costs of mailing catalogs forced Water Warehouse to invest more heavily into online marketing (e.g., e-mail, search)?
JD: We’ve cut many expenses on the print side and have really enhanced our circ strategy, so any future large savings is limited on that side. All current investment is going entirely into our Web marketing plan of e-mail, search, Web content, among other things. We feel this shift will only continue and accelerate as people go to the Web first for many routine purchases. How we make this more effective for our business is the question.
CS: It would seem that Doheny’s Water Warehouse's business could be very seasonally driven. One, is that the case? And two, if so, what steps are taken to help drive business during the slower months of the year?
JD: Yes, we are very seasonal, doing over 50 percent of our business in two months to three months. We currently have no major offset to this. We'd like to buy a counterseasonal business with a great marketing/merchandising team that could take advantage of our infrastructure, systems, call center, nine warehouses, and other things. My biggest concern is I don’t want to distract from our core, from what we do well.
CS: How has the recession affected Doheny’s Water Warehouse? Have you had to downgrade your projections for this year?
JD: Our original budget for 2009 was revised twice as the economy sank in the fourth quarter of 2008. Basically, we took 15 percent growth out of our plans given the uncertainty. Since the start of the year, we’ve noticed lower average orders. However, we’ve seen a nice pickup in our order counts, allowing us to stay ahead of last year overall. We feel the market share pickup is related to pool owners looking for ways to save money. We're well positioned to serve that need. We're not taking anything for granted and will continue to wish for a hot summer!