The Lanterman name is well known in the cruise industry.
Kirk Lanterman is chairman of Holland America Line and is held in high regard
by industry insiders and executives alike; and he's married to Janet Lanterman,
the founder and now director of Cruise Specialists, which is headquartered in
Lanterman got her first taste of cruising as a nurse with
Norwegian Cruise Line back in 1974. In 1986, Lanterman quit the sea, deciding
to go back to nursing in
She put her small (south of $400) marketing budget, as fate would have it, toward tagging on to a Holland America three- and four-day Alaska cruise advertisement in the Seattle Times. It paid: to the tune of about $400,000 worth of sales.
The business took off from there: Lanterman did about $1
"I always said that if I'm going to sell something, I'd like to sell the best," she says. "I refused to sell something that was going to take me more time than it was [worth] for the commission I was going to earn." True to that, Lanterman only sells upscale cruises (mostly the luxury lines) and relies predominantly on word-of-mouth advertising to accomplish it.
About a year in, Lanterman began adding staff and opened a
tiny office in
Lanterman's dealings with employees have been smooth;
however, her initial interactions with future husband, Kirk, were more comical
than romantic. "
One year later, they again found themselves next to each other at a function and began rehashing the past year's encounter. Janet intrigued Kirk because, like him, she was all business.
Pretty soon, people were passing judgment on Janet because
of her relationship with then-Holland
"Did he make the bookings or give us customers?" she asks, dismissively. "If Kirk was on the phone for five minutes, we'd lose every customer." Kirk is not the most gregarious person; he is a business genius, his wife says.
"If I wasn't married to Kirk, would I have been as successful as I was?" Lanterman wonders. "Yes, to a point, but I have to give Kirk credit for teaching me how to be a great business woman."
Sadly, Kirk, who is 74, suffered a heart attack this past year, but Janet says his convalescence has gone well.
Lanterman's business, however, has suffered no such setbacks. Cruise Specialists' annual revenues are hardy, which frees the business of any meddling by owner Carlson Leisure Group.
She keeps her advice simple: "Do one thing," she says, "and do it well."