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Steve Smith, Co-Founder of WinWin Living

After three successful years in sales, Steve Smith, a graduate from the University of Southern California with a double major in psychology and advertising, decided he wanted to set off on his own. The final result is WinWin Living, which takes a popular idea and targets it at a new customer base.

Smith and the other co-founders of WinWin Living looked at the growing phenomenon of “daily deal” online marketing offered by companies such as Groupon, and they saw a gap these other businesses weren’t filling. They envisioned a business that provided a similar service— discounts of up to 90% delivered straight to subscribers’ inboxes every day. What sets this company apart is its focus on family-friendly, healthy, or green products and services. WinWin aims to attract subscribers interested in supporting local businesses and living in an environmentally responsible way. For example, one WinWin partner, Plough to Porch, specializes in delivering locally grown organic produce to customer’s homes.

Smith has discovered that life as co-founder of a start-up is busy and often stressful. There have been plenty of bumps along the way to making WinWin Living a success. For instance, when the company was ready to launch in Los Angeles, the first email that went out to the painstakingly assembled subscription list turned out to be badly formatted and impossible to read. As a result, the founders were forced to send out a second email explaining the mistake to the subscribers and asking for their understanding. Their quick and honest explanation saved the day—a testimony to the importance of good customer service.

The challenges have been considerable, but for Smith, the success of WinWin Living has been worth it. Currently WinWin serves the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas. Although at the moment it is privately funded and capable of sustaining itself, the company is now considering outside investors to help it expand and market itself more actively in the future.

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