We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Richard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, what is the most important factor behind your success?
What makes our brand, services, and products better than those provided by our competitors are simply following these three statements: “State of the Art”, “Cutting Edge”, and “Competitive Advantage”. Our 20-year-old showroom, which is the largest showroom in Texas, has always been “State of the Art”, but in 2017 it got a make-over. We renovated our entire 10,000 sq. ft. showroom with the latest kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor trends that other pool companies would not even consider. We offer our clients a full-service in-house consultation experience where they can see, touch, hear and test out anything and everything they desire to have built-in in their backyard. We also offer a virtual experience for our clients where they can design their idea virtually on our website or at our store on our touch-screen computer. This virtual experience allows the client to truly see their storyboard come to life with products we already have on display in our showroom. This creates a one-stop-shop AND a hands-on “experience” for any aspect of the project for every client. Our Competitive Advantage, which is the key to the success of our brand is providing the “health and wellness” lifestyle our consumers want. We are the exclusive dealer in Houston for Hot Spring Spas® and Endless Pools® Fitness Systems. Both of our showrooms offer the opportunity to design and customize your dream backyard while also incorporating the #1 hot tub & swim spa brands in the world. No other company in town can offer that level of customization to their project. The choices are endless and the experience to find the right hot tub and swim spa in our showrooms is like non-other. Our clients can visit our showrooms and are greeted with a Test Soak or Test Swim tray that has a robe, slippers, wine, water & spa salts to come to experience the model they want before they buy it. Again, no other company in town provides a spa-like experience while they are customizing their backyard project. Our company spent months personally picking out and bringing in unique selections such as wood-like porcelain floors, a waterfall quartz countertop, stainless steel Danver & Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens that are “Cutting Edge”. We did this so that customers would not have to drive across town to unknown and unsafe areas to find the stone, flooring, tile, or material needed for their backyard project. While every other builder in town is building outdoor kitchens that made from cinder blocks and cannot handle the outdoor elements, we offer a top-of-the-line collection from Danver & Brown Jordan that provides 304 stainless steel cabinetries with powder-coated finishes that are truly built to last. We picked out materials that are trending on Houzz and HGTV for our showrooms. However, the most important factor behind the success of our brand is the people that make it all happen! Julie Richard has put in countless hours focusing on every person she hires. Every employee is hand-picked and on purpose. Julie puts her heart and soul into training, motivating, and encouraging her team members to be their very best version of themselves every day. She knows everyone on a personal and professional level that creates an amazing bond with everyone on our team. When our employees feel appreciated and are excited to come to work every day, they love what they truly do, which results in top customer service and making sure every single client is satisfied. Giving back to the community is also behind the success of our brand & team! We work every year with Kids’ Meals®. A non-profit organization that provides food every day to Houston’s hungriest preschool-aged children. We host lunch packing parties with our entire company throughout the year for the non-profit Kids’ Meals®. We have donated over 3K healthy lunches over the years and continue to do so to ensure Houston’s hungriest preschool-aged children never go hungry! We love their mission and are honored to support them every year with fresh and healthy lunches. We also attend their annual fundraiser luncheons and donated over $3K worth of food during the luncheon and also joined in on the raffle as well. We believe the children are our future. We help children in our community in other ways through extracurricular activities, participating in the Adopt-A-Family program around the holidays, and many other things throughout the year in addition to our charity contributions.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We’d love to tell you what sets us apart from others. At Richard’s Total Backyard Solutions, it’s in the name! We encompass the whole backyard project and take care of it all for them. Our clients do not have to sub out work on their own. At Richard’s. we hold your hand from start to finish and create a relationship before, during, and after the completion of your project. We make sure our clients are whole and love their dream backyard. We are very proud of the best brands we offer and carry. We may not be the cheapest company in town, but we know we offer the best in quality products and services which is worth it. From custom pools to outdoor kitchens and everything in between! We are the only company in Houston to offer wellness with Hot Spring Spas® and Endless Pools® Fitness Systems. With amazing & durable grilling options like Alfresco and Coyote, your outdoor living space just became your new favorite spot in the backyard. Richard’s once again is the only company to offer truly customizable outdoor kitchens with State-of-the-Art brands & products such as Brown Jordan & Danver unlike any other pool company in Houston. Where we are today is due to hard work, determination, Innovation, constantly changing, and being ahead of the curve. Business is never easy, but quite rewarding when it pays off for you and your team! Overcoming challenges is never an easy task, but something you have to face head on. Lessons learned by finding the right person to hire right the first time. Taking your time to hire the right person is a job alone to make sure we vet them out completely to see to it we don’t have mis-hires or high turnover rates. While mis-hires have happened throughout the years, sometimes they cannot be avoided, but we really do our level best to prevent that from happening right upfront. We have shattered industry myths year after year and continue to do by being cutting edge, state of the art, and having a competitive advantage. It’s very clear to our customers when working with Richard’s it’s more than just a backyard company, it’s a lifetime relationship & partnership. It’s a lifetime relationship we build with our clients. Speaking of “lifetime”, Richard’s is the only company to offer and uphold a full LIFETIME warranty for the projects that we build. Talk about setting us apart!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Work Hard, Play Hard! This would be my ideal going-out itinerary. DAY 1: Go to Uptown Park to get your nails & pedicure Get your hair done at the Dry Bar English High Tea @ the St. Regis Hotel from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Check-In and stay at the glamorous Hotel Granduca End the day with dinner at Grotto Ristorante Retreat back to the Granduca Hotel for after-dinner drinks at their gorgeous Italian inspired pool & courtyard Day 2: Visit the Museum District, Natural Science Museum & Butterfly Exhibit Including McGovern Centennial Gardens Dinner at the Lancaster Hotel in the Theater District Ending the evening at the Alley Theater Retreat back to the Granduca Hotel Day 3: Brunch at the Liberty Kitchen at the Treehouse Spa Day at The Houstonian Visit the Waterwall at the Galleria Ending the day with dinner at Grotto Ristorante Retreat back to the Granduca Hotel
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents have always instilled in me to be the best that I can be in every aspect of my life. There is nothing you could not achieve, so reach for it! This allowed extreme belief in myself and that I can truly do anything I want to do by putting my head to it. This inspired me to instill these same beliefs into my children allowing them to believe and know if they can dream it, they can achieve it. I strive every day to be the very best version of myself for every one of them. And in turn, they inspire me too. Their inquisitive minds, giving hearts, and caring gestures warm my heart and makes me want to be better and do better every day if only just for them. I have the honor and privilege of working alongside my husband for over 20 years now. We grew together as partners in both business and life. We truly balance each other out in our strengths and weaknesses. We push each other, motivate each other and cheer one another on through our lives at home and in business. It has been quite a successful journey of which words cannot begin to describe our gratefulness for all the blessing to have come from all our hard work and dedication to our team, family, God, and our community. Working alongside my husband and best friend has surely inspired me as well as him too. Staff: Because I love them so much and make sure they love what they do, it is important to have a “pay it forward” mindset by making backyard dreams come true. In order to do that, our team needs to be the best they can be so that we all are providing the best versions of ourselves and they understand every position matters to our success and theirs. We are changing lives one backyard at a time and it starts with the heart & soul of our team. My entire staff is top of my mind every day so that our customers are top of mind every day as well. We pay it forward to each other by offering support, love, kindness so they are doing the same with all of our customers by listening to them and providing outstanding customer service.
Luis Urdaneta, Cove Studio Productions Ken Bullock, Bullock Studios