Jeff Wagniere, founder of Red Diamond Card, took the time to tell us about how the birth of his first child inspired him to start his own company that is dedicated to helping local businesses, consumers, and non-profits. Jeff also offers readers a huge discount on the Red Diamond Card! Keep reading…
Update 8/28/15: In preparation for our national expansion, our marketing partner (Belles Creative) has recommended we change our brand to something that better tells our initiative. As of 10/1/15, Red Diamond Card will be known as Perkup Rewards and we will be perking up businesses, non-profits, and communities nationwide!
Charlotte Business Resources (CBR): Thanks for talking with us Jeff! To start, tell us a little about yourself.
Jeff Wagniere (JW): I am originally from New Jersey, but moved to the Charlotte in 2010 with my wife to start a family. On February 14th 2013, my wife and I were blessed with our first child, Joseph Paul. The moment I held my son for the first time instantly changed my life forever! It motivated me to try and make a difference in the world that I just brought him into. I’ve always had a passion for helping others and giving back to my community and volunteering, but after my son’s birth, it was no longer a passion, it became my purpose in life.
That following month, I decided to start a company with a vision/purpose to do just that! Thanks to my background in sales, marketing and management, I created the concept for Red Diamond Card, a program dedicated to helping local businesses, consumers, and local non-profits. As we are nearing our 2 year anniversary, I’m very proud to say that we’ve managed to launch in 5 additional markets accumulating almost 400 participating businesses, all of which was accomplished with very little capital and a simple marketing plan. Shortly we will be releasing our new website, mobile app, and marketing campaigns, that we hope will allow us to reach our goal of 50 markets by the end of 2016! If our previous success is any indicator of our future success, the Red Diamond Card Movement will go viral and we will become a household name. All this, because of the birth of my son!
CBR: Why did you want to go in to business for yourself?
JW: I was born an entrepreneur. At a very young age I knew I wanted to be my own boss and start a family business that I can one day pass on to my son. It was important to me to create a business that helped people, or in this case, help people, businesses, and charities. We will be celebrating our 2-year anniversary this April!
CBR: What is Red Diamond Card, LLC?
JW: Red Diamond Card is not a discount card, it’s a movement. Through the combination of a group rewards card and a state of the art mobile app, Red Diamond Card’s mission is to help small businesses reduce their local advertising expense by over 90%, help consumers save money locally easier than ever, and help non-profit organizations raise a ton of money nationwide. Our headquarters is in Ballantyne (South Charlotte) and while we have been franchised in 4 other markets, Charlotte is where it all began.
CBR: How does this purchasing this card help our community?
JW: For every Red Diamond Card sold, a donation is made to one of our partner non-profits in Charlotte. Participating non-profits can earn $5 for cards we sell or $10 for cards they sell, all at zero upfront costs to them. When a consumer joins our program, they receive our membership card/app which entitles them to instant savings at over 130 businesses (and counting) in the Charlotte Metro area, anything from restaurants to nightclubs, to retail stores, or even service businesses. Any business willing to offer an exclusive discount can participate in our program. In addition to our charitable impact, our program also helps the community by promoting and supporting local small businesses and offering them highly effective local advertising at unheard of pricing.
CBR: What challenges did you face while starting this company?
JW: One major challenge we faced was the oversaturation of discount websites/apps/magazines in Charlotte, all promising the same thing, new loyal clients. Business owners were tired of receiving call after call trying to get them to list an offer with their program and to be honest, I don’t blame them for that. Most of the business owners I’ve talked to, saw little to no results or an influx of “once and done” customers produced by daily deal sites like Groupon & Living Social so it took a lot of persistence to convince them that we actually care about their business and are here to help them.
The other major challenge was very similar, but with consumers, since there are 100s of apps/websites/cards for them to use to save money across Charlotte. My program’s goal is to consolidate local savings into one program, and we will accomplish that with the release of our app and new and improved website being released in February. We recognized that consumers were tired of being asked to join a new loyalty program, download a new app, or carry another card. It was created a problem we are here to solve, app/loyalty card overload. Wouldn’t it be great to have one card/app do it all for you? That’s our goal at Red Diamond Card.
Red Diamond Card employees volunteering with Hope For All Dogs
CBR: Do you have advice for new business owners?
JW: Yes, don’t give up and don’t be afraid to be persistent. Charlotte is a very tough market and business owners are very reluctant to try new things. Don’t be discouraged if clients don’t immediately sign up, as some of my best clients took 6+ months before we were able to close them.
CBR: Would you change anything about your business if you could go back to the beginning?
JW: Being that my program is a new concept, I knew there would be a lot of trial and error, but there isn’t much I would have done differently, other than better materials explaining our movement to consumers and business owners. People were hearing about us or getting a card from us, but didn’t know what we did. That was my fault for not pitching it the right way, so if I could go back I would have spent more time/money on better and more professional materials.
CBR: Do you have any plans for the future?
JW: We have tons of plans for new features and new markets in the future. Since 2 companies have already taken our business model and tried to duplicate it (one local to Charlotte) I can’t go into detail about our future features but I can say that our goal is nationwide expansion. So far we are in 5 markets and we want to hit 50 markets by the end of 2016. It’s a tough task but if you don’t set goals, you’ll never achieve them.
CBR: How can other businesses take advantage of your business?
JW: Soon, businesses will be able to add their business to our program directly on our website. For now, they can sign up by calling us at 800-787-3520 or they can email us at email@example.com. Signing up is very quick and easy and while we haven’t set an exact number, we will be limiting the number of participating businesses, so I’d advise any business that wants to sign up, to do it quickly. To show our appreciation for being featured, I would be happy to offer any new business that signs up after reading this article a 50% discount off our Silver or Diamond package.
CBR: Is there anything else we haven’t asked that you would like people to know?
JW: One thing I’d like to say to consumers and businesses is to try us out. Our purpose is to help create a simple to use program that makes finding local savings easier than ever, all while supporting the community. I promise each and every one of them will benefit from our program and I encourage them to get behind our program and proudly advertise that you’re a participant. The more people and businesses that sign up, the better for everyone!