MISSION—The first round of Ruby Red Ventures grants were awarded last week. The grants are part of a new program offered by Mission Economic Development Corporation, and, of the four grants awarded, Samuel Shipp, owner of Brilliant Elegance LLC, was recipient of one of the larger ones. He received $10,000 to finance the expansion of his business, which he started as a window washing service in 2007.
While it may seem unusual for a man with an MBA degree to be washing windows, it was the reality of living and working in the Valley that motivated him to begin his own business.
“The week I graduated with my MBA we moved to the Valley to be close to my wife’s family,” said Shipp. “We came here cold turkey, with no job lined up, and I soon found that the pay here in the Valley, which then averaged about $40,000, wasn’t enough to allow my wife to stay home and raise our children.”
After working regular jobs for three or four years, Shipp decided he would have to open his own business. He ran analyses on different business models ranging from indoor soccer arenas to restaurant franchises to a courier service.
“All of them needed $150,000 to $200,000 of capital, which is something I didn’t have,” Shipp said. “I thought, ‘What about window cleaning? That is something that we could start with our own money and no capital.’”
He got his start cleaning windows as a college student – first to purchase an engagement ring, then to pay his way through college.
To start his window cleaning business in the Valley, he purchased the tools and an old truck with a $6,000 investment. Since then, his business has grown 30 to 40 percent each year—during a recession.
He has also expanded his services to include a range of building and property maintenance services, including painting, degreasing restaurant equipment, power washing, janitorial services, parking lot repair and striping and, of course, the window cleaning.
His customer list includes H-E-B, T-Mobile, McAllen Convention Center, Chili’s, Applebee’s, Barnes & Noble and more.
His vision goes beyond business clients and reaches the residential consumer as well, providing maid and other home services such as duct and gutter cleaning.
Shipp believes taking pride in doing quality work and standing behind his word has been instrumental in the growth of his business.
“What the customers have really liked is that we are reliable, and we are there when we say we are going to be there,” Shipp said. “We actually have a three-day guarantee. If the customer sees anything wrong within three days due to our work, we will come back and fix it for free.”
Until about three years ago, Shipp was doing the work alone. He has since added two workers. With the Ruby Red Ventures grant, he hopes to expand by adding an operations manager and a marketing manager.
Shipp also has plans for a new invention he has patented.
“It is something completely different from the business; I’ve already submitted for the next round of the Ruby Red Ventures for it,” Shipp said.
For more information on Brilliant Elegance, contact Shipp at 445-9755 or visit the company’s website at www.brilliantelegancellc.com.
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