I first met Scott about five years ago when I was showing at my first Las Vegas Market show. His Sister Lindy stopped by my booth and after chatting for a little while, we started making connections. We were both from the same North Chicago suburb. Our Fathers were in the furniture business. We have a unique perspective on life that probably shows in our demeanor. She said, "You have to meet my Brother!" He came by and we talked for probably an hour and haven't stopped since.
It turns out that our Fathers were not only in the business but did business with each other in Chicago. It also turns out that we had a immediate sense of bonding with each other. Scott had been a consultant in the industry as well as a salesman for his Family's Ello Furniture business before they sold it, and through his experiences, it seems that he practically knows everyone in the industry. We became friends and I got to know him through spending time with him and his partner Katy Algeyer while in North Carolina at the High Point Markets. I stayed at his house. We played ping pong. Most importantly, he took me around the Market and introduced me to people in the Industry that he admired and had worked with. Together we came up with the concept of bringing back furniture manufacturing business to the US.
Many a dinner was spent discussing the plan, some of it at his favorite Thai restaurant in High Point, where he could get up from the table and sing some "scat" or spontaneous lyrics to the jazz music that was being played. Our conversations were timely, because even though at that point the Marketplace was not fully ready for the concept, manufacturers were open to considering it. They had been having issues of quality, shipping time, exchange rate uncertainty, etc and wanted a back up plan. Many of these companies were the same ones that Scott had taken to China on his many business visits there over the last 20 years. Now it was time to work on returning.
Scott is always thinking of ideas. They seem to come to him in torrents. He had suggestion after suggestion for me. We talked constantly about this new venture. I had experience with working with the Amish community in Ohio through manufacture of my designs in their factories. I have learned a little about their culture and have met several great business people there, some very forward looking. We learned how this could benefit all of us. For the last two years, I have been devoting a great deal of time to developing this business plan. Scott has been there with me every step of the way.
Scott is in India now. He is there to spend the remaining days of his too short life with Katy and several friends who have visited him there. Katy has created a blog about their adventure called going to goa . You can catch up with what is happening there. Goa, India is an international resort community in the South of India.
I will talk more about Scott in my next post.