Educating Others
How Did This Happen?

This is the story of two sisters – one a retired business executive whose life reads like a Judith Krantz romance novel (imagine a very independent heroine who retires from a male dominated industry and starts racing Ferraris) and the other whose "perfect" Disney-like life (a straight-A student who married a British corporate executive, traveled the world, and then became a stay-at-home mom) was turned upside down one rainy Friday afternoon …

When Red's husband is unexpectedly fired, she immediately turns to her older sister thinking her pragmatic approach to everything, combined with her M.B.A., would allow Black to offer her a "quick fix" to help her put her life back in order. (Ideally, by Monday!) Instead, as Black started dealing with the situation, she realized her 40+ year-old sister had grown up letting other people make decisions for her, so it was time to learn about the day-to-day realities she had managed to avoid. Black also realized that Red was probably not the only one who could benefit from these "lessons", which meant there would be a market for a book to address personal finance and other Life 101 topics. Especially as they are not taught in school.

It was not until Red "caught" Black taking notes that she learned of the book, and she was not pleased that her sister saw her "crisis" as a business opportunity. But, she knew there was no point in trying to stop Black. Combining Black's financial and marketing background with Red's domestic experience and love of books and movies, the basic premise of the initial book expanded into many other potential applications (reality-based and fictional) in the entertainment industry.

Black decides to "write" the book using a conversational format (emails, Instant Messages, and telephone conversations) so that entertainment executives could "hear" the voices – and banter – of the "characters" (we never expected to find ourselves the public's eye). The format allows the reader to "eavesdrop" on our candid, and (hopefully) entertaining, exchanges as we discuss day-to-day life. Since Red's husband just got fired, it is only logical that the discussions would start with financial topics (such as balance sheets, cash flow, budgeting and credit cards) but since those things cannot be separated from more fundamental Life 101 topics (such as time management, handling stress, communications, and relationships), the book is about more than money. And, as Red quickly learned, all decisions – financial and otherwise – should be a function of your values and priorities.

Turning Red's crisis into a book – a brand – a business seemed logical to Black, and was supported by a formal "Concept Overview and Marketing Strategy" document. However, life rarely goes as planned and what actually happened seems more like a movie script than real life.

Can You Connect The Dots?

  • A warm and fuzzy stay-at-home mom and wife ("Red") and her retired executive, race-car driving older sister ("Black") co-author and self-publish a book titled What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!
  • Intended as the basis of a sitcom, our self-published book is launched by Neiman Marcus with a window display including "Red & Black" mannequins.
  • We are invited to develop and teach a financial literacy program at KIPP Houston High School.
  • Our book is approved by the (Texas) State Board of Education as a Personal Financial Literacy (PFL) resource meeting 100% of the state's PFL mandates.
  • Our book and program is embraced by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
  • Our book becomes the underlying resource for 36 different Career and Technical Education curricula.

For More Information

  • OVERVIEW: For a quick overview of Red & Black and our unusual journey – from a sitcom to Neiman Marcus to schools to prisons (including some "entertaining" photos), see our Can You Connect The Dots? brochure.
  • (TEXAS) STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVAL: To see our announcement when What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired! was approved as a "textbook", click here.
  • INITIAL PLANS: For more detail about the business plans we initially made, and the various strategies behind them, please see The Red & Black Story.
    • For an introduction to Red & Black and "Life's Detours", click here
    • To "eavesdrop" on how the story of our company can be used to teach how to start a small business, as well as mindsets and perceptive, see Red & Black Approach To "The Red & Black Story."