If he gave even an inch, he had no way of guaranteeing the safety of his child. Then he could simply scoop her up and carry her onto the plane without incident.
But then she shook her head, her eyes sparking with fury. She stared at him for a moment, dismay still bright in her gaze. He watched as her lips began to tremble and her expression shifted into one of helplessness. For a moment, he hesitated, but then he reminded himself he was doing this for the wellbeing of his child. A child whom he would protect at any cost. It had nothing to do with how he felt about Chloe. He clenched his jaw. There was very little he felt for her beyond lust and anger. But he knew that was a lie by the way his stomach clenched.
The Billionaire’s Baby Bargain
Will I carry you, or will you walk willingly? He allowed her to step past him, her steps almost wooden as she climbed the stairs to enter the fuselage of the plane.
It was only when she was belted into the seat across from him and the plane taxied down the runway did she finally turn to look at him. To maintain objectivity, the couple refuses to take handouts from manufacturers, won't include ads in their books and insists on self-publishing. That independence hasn't hindered their success; in fact, it gives them a larger share of profits from book sales — which aren't too shabby to begin with.
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On the walls and shelves around the Fieldses, in between photos of their sons, are framed articles about them from Money and People magazines, plus "Oprah" coffee mugs, mementos from their multiple appearances on the show. Through the window is a stunning vista of the Flatirons — literally a million-dollar view, considering their sizable, immaculate Victorian on Boulder's Mapleton Hill.
In total, the Fieldses have sold 1. The largest share belongs to Baby Bargains , but their other primary publication, Bridal Bargains , isn't too far behind. That book, which the couple still publishes, broke down the wedding industry the same way Baby Bargains takes baby-product manufacturers to task.
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There have been other books, as well. They are currently phasing out a Baby Bargains followup called Toddler Bargains. The book didn't do as well as they'd hoped, Alan says, because when children reach that age, their parents "run out of time to read. But babies and weddings are enough to keep them busy.
There's a longstanding rumor in bridal-industry circles that the Fieldses must have experienced one of the worst weddings imaginable. And after People magazine profiled the couple, Denise got a cranky call from someone who told her that just because she had a rotten wedding day doesn't mean she should ruin it for everyone else. The two met in at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where Denise, a native Coloradan, was studying Elizabethan England, and Alan, from Dallas, was focused on product marketing.
They moved to Austin, Texas, after graduating, but decided to travel back to Loveland — Denise's home town — to get married. As they planned the big day, the two got the idea for the book and began secretly shopping gown stores and wedding-cake bakers around Austin, pretending they were going to get married in town. Along the way, they discovered that getting to the bottom of the bridal industry wasn't as simple as rating local wedding DJs. These days, each couple "wants to make a statement about who they are and where they are headed," says David Wood, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants.
They are trying to set the tone for the rest of their lives together. It's not an entirely new phenomenon. So I think, in a way, we have to make them more significant. Wedding professionals, she adds, are happy to encourage them: "The people in the wedding industry have realized the bridal consumers are at a very attractive time in their lives, if you are in the business of selling stuff. They are young, attractive consumers, and the wedding industry knows this is an occasion that people are willing to spend full price on things.
Nobody wants to be seen as cheap on their wedding day. But there's a difference between being cheap and getting swindled, the Fieldses say. Their own wedding was a simple affair at a dude ranch along the Big Thompson River in Denise wore her mother's gown, and the couple found good deals on flowers and a cake at local shops.
That was nothing compared to the boondoggles they discovered researching the wedding industry. In , before their own big day, they published copies of an Austin-based wedding consumer guide. In the books, the couple focused on something they had seen repeatedly in news stories: bridal shops that had closed unexpectedly, leaving brides-to-be who had paid hundreds or thousands in deposits without a dress or even a refund. They began tracking these shops and noting "guerrilla sales tactics," such as dress stores that purposely ordered wrong-sized gowns so brides had to pay for costly alterations, and florists who marked up costs based on what type of cars customers drove.
They railed against exorbitant charges, like try-on fees at dress stores and cake-cutting premiums at reception sites. They reported to the media that some bridal magazines refused to print ads for dress-rental companies to keep gown makers happy. And they reprinted provocative quotes they discovered in bridal trade publications, like this one, from an unnamed bridal magazine publisher: "Never before in a woman's life, and never again, is she going to be worth this much money to a marketer. There is no price resistance, and she is completely open to new brands.
They were banned from trade shows, and a bridal magazine editor attacked them in a letter to the Wall Street Journal , saying their advice shouldn't be trusted because they hadn't worked in the industry. And they are recommending people go to the gown salons, try on dresses, and then buy them online.
It costs somewhere around a quarter of a million to open a gown salon, and they are encouraging readers to waste these people's time and energy and not make a sale. In my mind, I would call that fraud. Consumers called it useful. In , the local guides were replaced by a national version, Bridal Bargains , and praise spread like wildfire.
I planned my entire wedding around Bridal Bargains. In , the Fieldses got a long-distance call. Oprah wanted them on her show — that Monday. The attention tripled their book sales. They moved back to Colorado and built a 3,square-foot home in Monument before eventually settling in Boulder. One newspaper called them the "Ralph Naders of the bridal industry," and it seemed like nothing they could do would top such success.
They couldn't help it. The appeal of the "all-in-one" travel-system stroller was overwhelming. It could transform from baby carriage to a car seat to an infant carrier to a toddler stroller — with the baby in the middle of it all never having to wake up! They would come to regret it. I hate them. By that point, the Fieldses had already decided to use Denise's pregnancy as the impetus to expand their empire.
And in , they published Baby Bargains. But while they had already tangled with persnickety bridal consultants and egotistical cake bakers, they weren't prepared for the baby-product industry. There is much, much more at stake, Alan says.
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Here was another rite of passage that had been utterly commoditized, the couple realized, where unchecked retail therapy was being used to soothe mass social angst. By and large the children of baby boomers, the majority of these kids came from divorced households, or their parents both worked full-time. Forty percent of them were latchkey kids by the time they were eight. They had the highest enrollment in child care.
The upshot is that this is a generation that is so fearful that their child will feel abandoned, because they have such fear of abandonment from their own crummy home-alone childhoods. It is this feeling of psychological need bound up with consumerism plus the need to do everything under the sun for the child that makes this generation suckers. But manufacturers argue they're not out to sucker parents; they say the expanding baby-product market means there are more choices — and more well-designed products — for increasingly sophisticated consumers.
Everything that goes into the stroller is for the best of the child. It's very hard to purchase a well-designed product without a premium.