Saturday, October 31, 2009

a true partnership….

About a year ago, I was flipping channels on the TV. It was late and I couldn’t sleep. Flip, Flip, Flip, what was that? Was that my chair? Nah, it couldn’t be. Well, I thought I'd check anyway.

For the next twenty minutes, my eyes were glued to the TV, waiting for a paisley traditional chair to come back up. I was watching something called “Rate My Space”. I’d never seen it before, but it was interesting. And the designer/host, whatever his name is, was really good, connecting with the people he was working with.

Winnetka Club Chair Sienna Paisley - click to enlarge

There it was. It was my chair. It looked great. I never thought it looked that good at all. To me, it was something to sell. But, that night, it was something that made a difference in a room. I liked it.

And the designer, well, he was just as excited as the home owners, and they were excited. I loved the energy and the emotion. All I could think was how I wanted that type of emotion and talent associated with what I was doing. I wanted Angelo Surmelis to work with me on a furniture line.

I sent an email through HGTV to see if there was something we could do. A return email came back “What do you want?” “I don’t know,” I said. They said I should look at somebody else. I said no, I don’t want somebody else. Finally, persistence paid off and we arranged a meeting at our warehouse in Pomona.

I was waiting nervously, thinking this guy wouldn’t want to work with me. I really didn’t have anything to offer. At least, that’s what I thought.

He was on time. No big time. No entourage. Just a guy. We met and talked about furniture for about 10 minutes. For the next two hours after that, we talked about our families, our values, our interests, what’s important. We just talked. And, we found out we had a lot of common ground. We could work together. It’s as simple as that. No lawyers, no agents, no nothing. Just a couple of guys who decided they could work together with a common purpose; build furniture with style that almost anyone could afford. We were going to make furniture that was going to be inclusive, not exclusive.

Fast forward a year. We developed about 30 items for what we called a soft launch. We would take a limited amount of product and give it a dress rehearsal. You talk about nervous, we were both there. It sold out!


Now we’re about to go at this thing full bore. We’ve added another twenty plus items, with more in the pipeline. We’ve got thousands of pieces getting ready to roll. We’re realizing the potential of serving the masses with style and quality.

Thank you Angelo. It’s been a great year.


  1. Tom, I can't think of anyone else I would want to be on this ride with. Thank you for being the man you are. I'm having a BLAST!