Don’t miss the special reader offer at the end of the post!
Celest Benn was attending a child’s birthday party where she lived at the time in Scottsdale, Arizona when the remaining adults gathered on the patio to relax around some refreshments.
Someone commented that everyone celebrates kids’ birthdays, but once you become an adult, the party is over. OK, maybe there’s the occasional party when you hit a monumental birthday, but for the most part, people don’t don party hats and make a big deal about it every year. Right?
That incident – now a great story – planted an idea in Celest’s mind. Why not? What if there was a web site that would send you free stuff on your birthday? The next day she looked online for such a site, and she found sites for greeting cards and other such things, but no site for free meals and other great loot. So she found a great niche to begin her own site.
It took a move to a new town and a couple of years to get the site up and going, but in 2007 she launched www.FreeBirthdayStuff.com while working from home and raising her two kids. Within a year, she had 76,000 hits per day from people checking out her site and joining to get free offers on their birthdays. The site is area code and age driven, so that members receive coupons that are age and location specific. Special offers are available for the military.
Celest sends a warm letter of welcome, then members receive letters beginning two weeks before their birthday noting the countdown to their special day. Then on the actual birthday, Celest sends an email with all of the coupons in their area for their birthday. Companies pay for the exposure provided by www.FreeBirthdayStuff.com.
There have been many other great stories that her business has produced, but Celest’s favorite involves Hurricane Katrina. It was just after the devastating storm that hit New Orleans when a mom, who had lost everything, called Celest and told her that the next day was her son’s birthday and asked if there was anything that she could do to help make his day special.
It was early in the business, and at the time, there were no sponsors in that area. But Celest spent all day on the phone and lined up free dinner and movie passes for the mom and her son, among other great gifts.
“I will never forget how appreciative she was,” Celest says. “It made me feel so good to be able to help someone who had lost so much.”
Last week Celest received a thank you note from a woman who said the birthday email was the only recognition she received on her birthday, even though her wedding anniversary is the same day as her birthday.
“This really got me,” Celest says. “I’m going to surprise her with something from one of my companies.” Celest says she views her company not only as a business, but also a ministry, and this is just one example of how she is able to brighten others’ lives.
After three years and a million members later, Celest has survived challenges such as a copycat site that stole her content. She’s also garnered scads of media attention, including a number of TV appearances.
Now Celest is looking for angel financing for a new site and other business upgrades. With her pluck, creativity and terrific ear for turning a story into business and marketing opportunities, it’s only a matter of time.
Special offer from www.freebirthdaystuff.com and Celest Benn to The Buzz Factoree readers: Celest is offering businesses a 30% discount on an ad on her site, valued at $30/month. The ad package includes a listing, a birthday coupon (you can change the offer with 30 days’ notice), and Celest will promote your business on the Free Birthday Stuff Facebook fan page and on Twitter @CelestFBS. To take advantage of this generous offer, email her at: Celest @ FreeBirthdayStuff.com.
DO YOU HAVE A GREAT BUSINESS STORY? HAVE A SPECIAL OFFER TO PROMOTE? TELL US ABOUT IT! LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND TELL US WHY WE SHOULD WRITE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS!