The Silicon Review
Every year, as we prepare ourselves for the Christmas season, we know that the celebration is incomplete without putting up a tree. In recent times, more and more people are interested in artificial trees when compared to traditional living trees. This shift in trend is mainly due to the fact that live trees are natural, and they can come in various shapes and sizes, causing compatibility issues. At some point in time, every one of us would’ve spent hours waiting at the tree lot to find the perfect holiday tree only to come home and realize that the tree is too wide, too short, too tall, or too sparse. Artificial holiday trees come in different sizes, shapes, colors, and styles, thus effectively catering to our needs.
Globally there are various companies providing excellent artificial trees for holidays but, Modern Christmas Trees stands out from the rest. Modern Christmas Trees is a line of artificial holiday trees made of concentric collapsible rings, making them easy to put up, take down and store flat. The trees are made from a single sheet of acrylic that is laser cut into concentric rings and held together with a ball chain. The minimal amount of material required to produces a tree makes them the most environmentally friendly tree in the marketplace. The trees come in several different sizes and styles and are available decorated or undecorated, allowing the customer to highlight their own ornament collection. Modern Christmas Trees was founded in 2012 and is based in Denver, Colorado.
In conversation with Matt Bliss, Owner and CEO of Modern Christmas Trees
Q. Businesses that deal with seasonal products can reasonably expect to have more units sold during peak season. How do you manage sales during off-seasons?
Having a seasonal business certainly has its challenges. We have positioned our trees as art/design pieces that can be displayed throughout the year. Tree owners simply replace the ornaments allowing them to use the tree to celebrate any number of holidays throughout the year. The tabletop “Jubilee” tree even comes with heart and shamrock toppers for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. These applications outside of Christmas allow us to share relevant content throughout the year.
Q. It’s not easy to deal with seasonal products simply because you don’t get a lot of chances to fix your mistakes. You generally have to wait for the next peak season to try again, and this can take a lot of patience to execute. How do you plan new additions and execute new plans?
Since there is such a short sales window, new additions and plans must be evaluated based on the risks and rewards. Although we are always trying new marketing ideas, we continue to pursue strategies that work and eliminate the ones that don’t. There is always trial and error, but if the expenditures placed on new ideas are minimal, then it’s worth trying. If it works, we do it again and maybe increase the budget and if it doesn’t work, that idea gets eliminated.
Q. How do you design and develop new trees? Tell us in brief about the process of creating a new tree.
My business partner Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank told me years ago that Modern Christmas Trees will not become a success by designing a new tree but by taking the existing line of trees and expanding the audience. For this reason, my strategy is to not create new trees but to add accessories to the existing line of trees. These decisions on what to add come directly from our customers. One tree they have been asking for is an outdoor version of the tree which is being considered. The tree design would remain the same, but the materials would simply be different.
Q. Tell us the story of how you came up with the idea of modern Christmas trees.
The Modern Christmas Tree was originally designed by my grandpa Lawrence “Bud” Stoecker in 1966. He has an engineer who worked in aerospace before starting his own A-frame cabin business in the Rocky Mountains. His tree was the highlight of holidays spent at their home in Broomfield, Colorado. When he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2010, I decided to pay tribute to him by updating his original design and showing the world.
Q. How do you source good materials to maintain the quality of your products?
The trees in 2020 were made exclusively in the USA and assembled by my team and I to ensure the highest level of quality.Many of the components that make up the tree are purchased outside of the USA, though, simply because it is not available domestically. This includes the ornaments and LED. Each component of the tree is selected after evaluating all the options the market offers to ensure the highest quality.
Q. How do you market your services?
Modern Christmas Trees has always had the strategy of selling directly to the customer through www.ModernChristmasTrees.com. Since the trees are so visual, the strategy has been to capture amazing visual content and leverage social media’s power to share that content. This content is generated by customers themselves and by planned photoshoots in the architecturally significant home throughout the USA. The Modern Christmas Tree has been photographed in the Stahl, Farnsworth, and Goldstein Houses designed by world-famous architects and featured in numerous movies, TV, and advisements. This content lives forever and is shared every year throughout the world.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched? There are new products being developed in
This year we are releasing a brand new LED spotlight to illuminate the tree. This LED will allow the user to have complete control over the light’s color, warmth, and intensity. The LED will come with remote control, and a phone application will allow the use of additional functionality. The LED will be sold to existing tree owners and help to attract future buyers targeted with new visually compelling content.Additional products for 2021 include a new tree skirt design and a Star of David tree topper for the tabletop Jubilee tree.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
The artificial Christmas tree market is a billion-dollar marketplace in the USA alone. With limited artificial tree options available and “real” trees becoming less available and more expensive, the future is bright for an alternative tree in the marketplace. Further driving the success at Modern Christmas Trees is the popularity of modern design and the desire in the marketplace to find an “eco-friendlier” solution which Modern Christmas Trees provide.
Meet the leader behind the success of Modern Christmas Trees
Matt Bliss is the Owner and CEO of Modern Christmas Trees. As the grandson of the original designer of the Modern Christmas Tree, Matt takes great pride in sharing his Grandpa’s ingenuity with the world. Matt has been a fan of mid-century modern design long before he decided to start Modern Christmas Trees and has even studied art and design in college. Prior to starting Modern Christmas Trees, Matt had a career in mortgage banking, which did not allow him to scratch that creative itch and he sees his trees as a gift from his grandpa.