Wendall Reems, the owner of an online catalog store, has experienced his fair share of bad press from conservative talk show hosts, handfuls of bureaucrats, church groups and politically correct phone companies.
Actions taken against him are too numerous to count. Having phone lines cut. Graffiti sprayed on his walls. Building break-ins. Nasty letters mailed to him, and multiple court appearances on made up code violations. Regardless of the perils, his business has faced, he has hung in there and weathered each situation.
You see, he is a giant supplier of drop shipped equipment and accessories for the adult movie industry, entertainers, actors, off-Broadway plays, production companies, and has a large internet following and customer base.
Many of his products are provocative, maybe a little suggestive, but are they upstanding citizens of the community? Depends on your view of what upright means. They are law-abiding and pay all state and federal taxes.
Most employees have been with Wendell for many years, are on a salary with monthly, quarterly and yearly bonuses. If you walked into his building right now, there is nothing visible that indicates this is an online Adult Toy drop ship supplier.
But is this a genuine business? Yes, and viewed by many as “seedy.”
The company began in the Los Angeles home of Mr. Reems during the late 1970’s. He owned a mail list of adult magazine subscribers. From his kitchen table, he mailed out, in brown wrapping paper, his monthly mature men’s catalog. Initially, the catalog was ten pages.
As the years progressed, the catalog grew, and so did the clientele. The directory eventually made its way onto the information superhighway, which displays and sells their products internationally using the latest technologies, like VoIP, cloud services, Office 365, IT consulting and a crack Cybersecurity team that is continuously protecting his setup.
From humble beginnings to…
Going from a kitchen table and one landline phone, hardwired to the wall, to a five-floor call center office building in the downtown area. The office had multiple phone lines and several dozen in-bound call takers that were answering 900 number customers. In those days business was booming for Wendell, and his conservative phone company provider received hordes of monthly payments like clockwork.
Then the 1990’s arrived and along with that so did the World Wide Web or as we all call it today the Internet. Websites started popping up like old west homestead settlers during the Gold Rush era. That’s when Wendall jumped onboard and put up his first, rudimentary, HTML, multi-page drop ship catalog website. (Pssst…Netscape was the dominant browser of choice, WordPress hadn’t been invented yet, and MS Windows was at version 3.11 and on eight floppy disks)
The arrival of the Internet and reaching people all around the world, couldn’t have come at a better time. You see, back in 1992, the US Supreme Court allowed Congress to pass a law that literally killed Mr. Reems’ 900 number business. It forced him, to switch over to 800 numbers. Which would prove to be too costly, plus the enforcement of FCC regulations became stiffer.
With this setback, Wendall Reems started focusing on the new technologies to boost his online Adult Toy catalog website. Today, with a considerable boost from VoIP, making calls to his manufacturers and drop ship product suppliers in China, has eliminated communication barriers.
Speaking of barriers
Repeated barriers are what did it for Mr. Reems. A battered relationship developed with his conservative phone company supplier over many years. What made them cautious? Not necessarily the company but it’s representatives. They all knew who he was and what type of business he was running.
They looked down on him and hated visiting his business. The reps spoke and treated him like some second-class, low-life business owner, but they eagerly took his monthly payments. When new technology came out, none of his representatives would follow-up with him. He’d get the mailers or direct mail pieces in the mail.
They would not call to get him onboard. He was forced to call and schedule an appointment. Appointments were made and then canceled at the last minute by the sales rep. Rescheduling after rescheduling. Cancelation after cancelation. It was a constant cat and mouse game with the phone company.
When a meeting finally did take place, he’d tell the salesperson how he wants to use the newest technology to help promote his online catalog, but the reps always tried to talk him out of the upgrades.
All through the years, he had stuck with them. Put up with their unprofessional conduct. Never missed a single payment or was ever late. Mr. Reems followed the rules, even the made-up ones, because of his business model. Whenever he questioned his representative about being singled-out, their corporate reply was to comply or move his phone service to another provider.
They had Wendall against the proverbial wall, but then one day…
Wendall heard about new internet phone services, “Voice over Internet Protocol” or VoIP for short. Customers or suppliers could call him right through his computer at little or NO COST. That made him curious. As he read, he discovered VoIP technology would revolutionize his business and rid himself of the archaic phone service provider.
Mr. Reems got on the phone and called. This time he was met with a friendly customer service voice, like those at Infiniwiz, from Megan Holton. That, in and of itself, was refreshing.
He first wanted to warn her what type of business he was in and did their company have problems knowing this. Megan giggled on the other end. For a second there, Wendell got concerned, she apologized and explained.
It turns out she was a repeat customer of that catalog. When she was in college, her and some of her sorority sisters, would buy products from the website and used them as pranks and initiations. One of her girlfriends had a bachelorette party recently, and they order products from his website.
But as far as her company’s policy on Adult websites, they had other clients, in different countries that use their services. There was nothing that prevented Wendell from switching his company over and upgrading.
Mr. Reems told Megan, “You have no idea how long I’ve waited to have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship with my phone service. What do I have to do to get started?”
Megan gathered some information to learn more about his company’s setup. She learned he found her company doing a Google search for phone service upgrades, that they were not an existing client. They have between 20-50 computers and a stable internet connection.
She set up a time for Wendall to meet with Dave an IT Consultant at his location. Looking at Dave’s schedule, it turned out he was going to be at another appointment right around the corner from Mr. Reems business and could meet him at 9:30 am. She would have Dave give him a call to confirm.
She did advise Wendell the meeting will last about 2-3 hours, and would that be inconvenient for him? Megan let him know Dave must do a complete review of his setup. She called it an assessment. And he was okay with that.
The following day, Dave showed up 15 minutes early. He brought Wendell every piece of information he might want to look at, with regards to other services their company offers. After the meeting was over, Dave was able to recommend a few upgrades and pointed out, some of Wendell’s software did have vulnerabilities and were known for malware attacks.
On Wendell’s 40th year in business, his company finally made the switch and hadn’t looked back.
You shouldn’t have to wait four decades to end a battered phone service relationship. If you feel trapped with your current provider, contact Infiniwiz and switch over. Their staff will step you through the process and most of all; they are here to help, not judge.