HOW DID YOU ENTER THE LIGHTING INDUSTRY?
My parents started their company back in 1984. They were adamantly against my siblings and I joining the business. They wanted us to pursue a better life than the one they thought lighting could offer. As the business grew and took on a life of its own, however, they felt more comfortable with the idea and wanted us to be part of it. At the time, I was working for a large consulting firm, but I knew in my heart I wanted to take over. I jumped at the offer.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU’VE SEEN?
I joined the industry in 2004 and it seemed as if there was a stagnation in technology. The low-voltage craze had essentially run its course and for the next few years, there wasn’t really anything new or exciting. After that first jump to LED in 2007 though, things started to get interesting. That technology has only continued to evolve and mature, and the entire industry has followed suit.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE KEY TO YOUR SUCCESS?
My husband. We have been working together for the last seven years and it has been such an amazing and rewarding journey. He comes from a lighting showroom family as well, so he gets it. We’re very lucky because we have different strengths when it comes to business. He is more marketing and sales, whereas I am much more about the technical side of things. I love when we work together on new projects because we get to spend a lot of time together and come at it from different perspectives. It’s wonderful.
WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU KNEW WHEN YOU WERE FIRST STARTING OUT?
Owning a business is a lot lonelier than you would think — but it’s worth it. I’ve also learned that success comes from determination and grit and not necessarily a college degree or diploma. You’re told at a young age that if you go to school and study hard, you will get a good job and then you’ll be successful. But there’s so much more to it. Being a success really has nothing to do with that conceptual framework. Honestly, I think it’s completely wrong. The internet has shown us that you don’t really need a degree anymore to make something of yourself. It certainly helps, but if you have some creativity and the motivation to chase your passion, you can certainly succeed. I’ve hired people who looked amazing on paper and they’ve let me down tremendously. They didn’t have that drive. So, I’ve learned to trust myself in recognizing talent and finding those diamonds in the rough. I wish I had known what they looked like when I was starting out.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR BUSINESS IN THE NEXT 5 TO 10 YEARS?
We’ve found immense growth in a short period of time through new market channels and new products, like the launch of Modern Forms. We infused the collection with cutting-edge LED technology and the positive response was overwhelming, to say the least. The industry hadn’t seen anything like it. We took design risks and are going to continue to do so. Right now, our big push is ceiling fans and we’re also developing innovative lighting fixtures for the landscape industry. We’re focused on creating pieces that people didn’t even know they wanted. It is how we are setting ourselves apart, and it’s very exciting.