My parents were furniture manufacturers, so I grew up around furniture. I started working in interior decorating and window treatments when I was in my 20s. And because my family was in manufacturing, I had access to all the wholesale fabric samples, which were almost always at least half the price of what you'd pay if you ordered fabric from a retailer.
By using my wholesale contacts to order fabric, I could save a tremendous amount of money. Anyone outside of the industry didn't have access to these contacts. The retailers don't reveal their sources because they want to sell the fabric at a marked up price.
I kept files of these contacts for years, and finally decided to publish them so that other interior decorators could use them and gain a big advantage over their competitors. So I created a cross-reference book for decorative fabrics by using a hot glue gun and pasting the pages together in my kitchen. I had an 800 number for orders and went out and talked to all kinds of newspapers and local TV stations to tell them what I was doing. It was a success. I then wrote another book -- a guide to furniture factory outlets, aimed at the general public, about the best furniture bargains.
Since I started in 1996, I have sold more than 106,000 of my self-published books and netted over $1 million in sales. I hit the $100,000 a year mark when I was 31.
From sleeping in offices to following senior citizens to restaurants in order to find the best "early bird specials," these people will do almost anything to save a buck.
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