Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Westlake Chemical Corp: Touching Lives, Innovating the Future

Chemicals have become an integral part of how we live. Plastics and petrochemicals continue to make an impact in our daily lives. These products are used in various applications. One of the leading providers of these chemicals is Westlake Chemical Corporation.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, the company markets its products internationally. We may not directly see the products they produce but their offerings get to touch our lives every day. Westlake Chemical produces the raw ingredients used to create the tires we ride on, the plastics that keep our produce fresh and our meat in great condition; the molding on our doors and windows and even the pipes that transport clean and potable water. Through the years, the company has consistently shown innovation in their offerings. They have been a reliable partner in making a change to the lives of millions around the world.

The company is set to support the plastics, commodity chemicals and related markets for years to come. It has aligned its business practices to continue on supporting the global markets, while providing returns to their shareholders. Through their collaborative efforts with their business partners, Westlake Chemical is able to develop specialized products that would help meet the goals of their clients. More than 3,600 associates have been employed by the company to help their operations around the world. The company has 17 manufacturing plants in North America, 7 in Europe and 1 in China. The strategic locations of their offices also allow the company to immediately address the demands of the global markets.

Westlake Chemical is a Fortune 1000 company and is traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. Its common stocks are marketed under the ticker symbol WLK. It is also a component of the Russell 3000 Index and continues to generate more than $4.4 billion in annual revenue.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Radius: Taking Video-On-Demand up to Mainstream Levels

When a movie goes straight to video or is made available for video streaming right away, people automatically assume that it’s not up to par with the films that are released in cinemas. That may have been true in the past, but a subsidiary of The Weinstein Company did something to change that perception.

Radius-TWC repurposed the Video-on-Demand (VOD) distribution platform by turning it into a premiere release platform. The company was co-founded by Jason Janego and Tom Quinn with the vision of providing marquee content to viewers anytime, anywhere. They began by making film festival entries such as Cannes Film Festival entry, Only God Forgives, which stars Kristen Scott Thomas and Ryan Gosling, available on VOD. Many other high quality films followed suit, with some being made available for streaming only two weeks after its theatrical release. In some cases, the movies become available on VOD even before it is released in theaters.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Alamo Drafthouse: A Different Kind of Movie Experience

The Alamo Drafthouse is a movie theater with a unique concept. Instead of rows and rows of the usual movie theater chairs, movie goers sit in rows of chairs with cabaret-style tables in front. Also, instead of just popcorn and soda, patrons can enjoy draft beer and a wide variety of food which can be ordered by writing one’s order on a piece of paper and giving it to one of the waiters wearing a black uniform. Another thing that sets this movie theater franchise apart from the rest is their zero-tolerance policy for texting and talking while the film is being played. Customers only get one warning before they are asked to leave if they violate this policy.

The first Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas opened up in 1997. The theater’s owners, Tim and Karrie League, set up the place to be a second-run movie theater which shows films after they have finished their run at bigger, more conventional first-run theaters. Aside from that, they also had theme nights where they would have live bands play music to accompany silent films or have a “food night” where food themed films are shown and the customers are served meals that match what they see on screen. The company began to expand and opened its second theater in another part of Austin, Texas. Although the new theater is set up the same way, it became a first-run movie theater that featured new releases. The Alamo Drafthouse brand continued to grow through the years with more theaters opening in Austin and the rest of Texas. The movie theater brand has also reached other states such as Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Virginia. Other locations will soon open in 2015 and 2016 namely theaters in Arizona, California, Louisiana, and Nebraska among many others planned.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tuesday Morning Corporation: A Retailer of Home Products

From a venture that started in a rented warehouse sprouted one of the leading retailers in the United States. Kicking off as a garage sale, Tuesday Morning Corporation has become an upscale retailer of decorative home accessories and other products.

It was Lloyd Ross, who started the business in 1974. It was not until 1979 that he was able to establish his first permanent store location in Texas. Between those times, he has held garage sales that have quickly earned a loyal following. By 2013, his business was already in full swing and has more than 800 stores across the country. The merchandise they offer includes toys, crafts, luggages, kitchen accessories, bed and bath products, home décor, furniture products and even pets.

Tuesday Morning is now one of the trusted retailers of brand names like Samsonite, Harmann, Waterford,Cuisinart, Kitchenaid, Le Creuset and Calphalon, among other branded home products. The company continues to hold its corporate office in Dallas, Texas.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Container Store: Keeping Things Organized

It is always easier to organize things if containers are readily available. In the United States, one of the specialty retailers that offer products for organizing, storing and keeping things tidy is The Container Store. The company is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has been around since 1978. Registered as a specialty retail chain company, the business carries several products that are used in various workspaces.

The offerings of The Container Store are categorized, depending on its usage. They have products for laundry, trash, shelving, home office, travel, storage, closet, kitchen and bath. The majority of these products are not manufactured by the company, although they have their own line of branded items. When it purchased elfa International in 1999, the company has grown their portfolio of shelving and storage units. elfa is a Swedish company that continues to operate as a separate entity under The Container Store.

Currently, the company has over 60 locations across the country. It continues to receive its supplies of products from elfa and from other brand names. Since its creation in 1978, the company has remained profitable. It continues to see an annual 20% growth year after year. It also trades publicly on the New York Stock Exchange, under the symbol TCS. Since 2007, the majority of the shares of the company is now owned by investment firm Leonard Green & Partners. Through their e-commerce site, they are able to cater to a wider consumer base and ship their products across the globe.

In a busy world, where chaos remains to be one of the challenges of every individual, The Container Store serves as a source of multi-functional, customizable and creative organization and storage solutions. Through the years, it has helped their customers, organize their space, improve their lives and even help them save time.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Laing O’Rourke Australia: Paving the Way for New Construction Technology

Laing O’Rourke is a London-based multinational construction company with a second headquarters in Australia. The company’s Australian hub manages the businesses in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the rest of South East Asia. The Australian expansion happened when the company acquired the Australian company Barclay Mowlem in 2006.

The company was founded in 2001 when Ray O’Rourke of O’Rourke and Son bought out Laing Construction. In 2004, the company also acquired mechanical and electrical engineering company Crown House Engineering, widening the range of services they offer.

Laing O’Rourke Australia recently made it to the Business Review Weekly’s list of the Most Innovative Companies in 2014. This is because of the FreeFABª Was technology they have developed in order to lower the cost of concrete moulding. This precast moulding technique uses a construction-scale 3D printer and customized wax to create the concrete moulds. This makes it cheaper and quicker to produce.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

MYOB: Helping You “Mind Your Own Business”

Mind Your Own Business, or simply, MYOB is an Australian company that creates and sells business management tools. Their products include desktop software and cloud-based tools that make running a business easier and much more efficient. MYOB is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner which ensures that their products are compatible with Microsoft software platforms.

Founded in 1991, MYOB released a revolutionary product that made accounting easier for people without any accounting background. At the time, the software was considered a frontrunner when it comes to accounting suites because it was the first of its kind to use Windows to achieve this feat. From one product, the company continued to develop more and more desktop and cloud-based accounting software to suit the different needs of different companies. MYOB received the Telstra Australian Business of the Year award in 1996 and this inspired them to continue to develop innovative products that are not only comprehensive, but simple to use as well. More than a decade after the launch of its first product, MYOB has over 50 products in the market including subscription-based and browser based products. In 2012, the company released a version of its flagship product which is cloud-enabled called AccountRight Live. MYOB also has a suite of mobile accounting solutions that allows clients to manage their businesses using their iPhones or iPads wherever they may be.

In 2014, Business Review Weekly, an Australian business media outfit ranked MYOB 7th in its list of Most Innovative Companies for the Pay Super feature found in MYOB’s AccountRight suite of products. This feature saves companies a lot of time and money by making compliance with SuperStream and managing tax obligations quicker and easier. What is usually accomplished manually in three days can be done in less than an hour with the Pay Super feature.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Bohemian Guitars: Making Beautiful Music

Music is a universal language that everyone understands. In Johannesburg, South Africa, musicians created guitars using scrap material such as oil cans and the like. The ingenuity and creativity these musicians showed inspired Shaun Lee to co-found Bohemian Guitars with his brother Adam in 2012. Together, they created a line of guitars using the same materials the musicians in South Africa used. They gave it a polished look and what came out was a very unique, but playable musical instrument.

The idea behind the company is that musical instruments should not be expensive and need not be made of rare and expensive materials in order to sound great. Aside from the low cost of production materials, Bohemian Guitars are also able to cut prices significantly by selling their products direct to the customers through their website. Bohemian Guitars earned not only success, but recognition as well. They won the Fan Choice Award two years in a row (2013-2014) in Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of The 25 Most Innovative Consumer and Retail Brands.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Serena and Lily: Giving Fresh Take on Design and Furniture

Many people take furniture and interior design for granted, but just like fashion, what we put inside our homes is a reflection of our personality and sense of style. Serena & Lily is a company with a fresh take on design and furniture. The company was founded by two people with very different backgrounds who came together with a mission to make homes look and feel more comfortable, more vibrant, and more alive.

Serena & Lily co-founders Serena Dugan and Lily Kanter met in 2003 when Dugan, a freelance artist and designer, found her way into a baby boutique. The boutique was owned by Kanter, a former manager at Microsoft who switched careers and became an entrepreneur. They talked, and after an hour agreed to open up their own business. Serena & Lily’s first offering were bedding for nurseries and kid’s rooms. The products featured fabric patterns created by Dugan herself. The collection was a hit and the pieces were soon featured in magazines and have found their way to the homes of celebrity mothers. After the success of their nursery and kid’s room collection, the company expanded their product line to include furniture, beddings and home décor for each and every room in the house.

Serena & Lily products were a staple in many high end retail stores, including Bloomingdales until 2013. Since then, they have decided to give up selling their products wholesale to retailers and focus on a direct-to-customer approach through their website. Despite moving their business online, the company hasn’t completely abandoned the brick and mortar store concept. They have two Serena & Lily retail stores located in San Francisco and the Hamptons and they are planning to open up more stores in the coming years. The innovative approach they took with the home furnishing and décor business earned Serena & Lily as spot in Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of The 25 Most Innovative Consumer and Retail Brands of 2014.