October 01, 2009
Executive Connection with Joan and Andy Horner, Founders, Premier Designs
In this month’s “Executive Connection,” Direct Selling News Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming speaks to Premier Designs Founders Andy and Joan Horner about the company’s consultants, their leadership principles and much more.
What is the one thing you enjoy most about leading Premier Designs?
Joan: I love being with people. I can have a down day, but if I go to a meeting with our people, it encourages and uplifts me.
Andy: Seeing people change from “I can’t” to “I can.”
What has been your greatest challenge since founding Premier Designs?
Andy: In 1990, we were betrayed by our then-president whom I had hired. He opened another company and took a lot of our people. We had a legal right to shut him down, but we didn’t. We started over again. It was a real challenge for us. Out of that came some wonderful things. That’s when Joan and I really got active in the business.
Joan: I’ve given up my grandchildren all these years because we’ve worked so much on weekends, but the Lord wanted me to. I have perfect peace about it.
What’s been the most rewarding part of the job?
Joan: The people we’ve met and the relationships we’ve made.
How would you describe the ideal Premier Designs jeweler?
Andy: The perfect jeweler is mostly family-oriented, and has real gifts and talents that she didn’t realize until she got into this business, where she could use them. Our top leaders have been with us 20 years or more. Not only are they earning good money, but they get to serve and help other people meet their needs.
What is your vision for Premier Designs?
Andy: We came in with the vision that we would help people change their lives. Our vision for the next generation is to continue our philosophy, purpose, plan and servanthood. When this business enriches our jewelers’ lives, it makes them realize how really wonderful they are, plus, it helps to meet their security needs.
Is there one basic principle which governs your leadership at Premier Designs?
Joan: Love and integrity.
Andy: A loving, caring attitude—not to use people to benefit ourselves, but to help them become and feel useful.
Leaders usually draw on something or someone for inspiration, guidance and direction. Do you have a hero or heroine?
Joan: Mary Crowley. She was our mentor. I worked closely with her for many years. She embodied everything we’ve tried to do. She loved her people, and they loved her. Also, I’m a Christian, and I trust God to bring me through each day and give me direction I need to take.
Andy: When I came from Xerox® to go to work at Home Interiors, Mary interviewed me. I tried to bring in some of Xerox’s budgeting and planning practices, but she said, “Don’t worry about that. Just build the people, and they’ll build the business.”
Which other direct selling company or person do you admire the most and why?
Andy: Neil Offen has been unbelievable.
What do you see as our industry’s greatest challenge?
Andy: Our free-enterprise system is being threatened. In a country like America, because of the need right now, I think we have an opportunity to give people a situation where they can make money and help others and become givers. They’ll feel like they’re somebody.
What do you like to do for fun?
Joan: I like baseball. We watch games every night. We have box seats at the Rangers ballpark and go when we can. We both like sports.
Andy: Our fun is in our family, and we love going to baseball games together.