When I was 13, I started working in our family’s carpet manufacturing factory during the
summers. I would have rather been playing golf or hanging out at the pool, but I didn’t have that
choice. The years passed, and in the mid-1980s, I graduated from college in Miami and decided
to stay in South Florida to help build the family business. This time, it was my choice to work
there—and I found my calling.
Back then, ceramic tiles were becoming popular and I wanted our company to sell them. The
idea was met with opposition. Since I am the maverick in my family, I hopped on a jet to a
ceramic fair in Bologna, Italy, and purchased a few million dollars’ worth of inventory. By the time
my dad and brother learned we were in the ceramic tile business, it was too late to keep my
vision from becoming reality.
We spent the next 20 years creating the most successful ceramic program in America, with
annual sales of $150 million. While our competitors tried selling the cheapest products, my team
sold the highest quality, most beautiful ceramics in the world. I would travel to Italy every year to
visit our manufacturing partners, whose exceptional workmanship and design were responsible
for so much of our success.
These Italian artisans taught me that quality and design come first and that the cost should then
be calculated as the best price for the finished product. I’ve made that my mantra at Elegant
Strand. This company is my passion because it taps into my roots as a manufacturer and a
purveyor of the finest products in the world.