3. Does that first trip still influence the business today?
Today, travel is the main source of the catalog's inspiration, development, and curation— whether it's something we're designing within the states or manufacturing in Asia. If it's from the ground up where we're meeting an interesting designer with his or her own factory and designs and figuring out how that works into the mix. It still informs and influences how that all works together. So when people talk about our collections and how our furniture works together, it's very global. It's very eclectic. For us, we're always looking for edgy ways to kind of mix styles, new designs, and things that people aren't doing. That happens through traveling.
4. So these global relationships are pretty important, right?
Global relatiobships really matter because, for one, you're kind of always chasing, as a business, the better manufacturers. Those that are skilled in different ways of producing products. The other piece is that we really want to know who we're working with, how their employees are treated, the working conditions, the type of machinery they have, and the facilities.
We've seen those relationships grow, and some have grown way faster than others. We're a global company and a manufacturer in close to 16 or 17 countries— from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Rim and Western Europe to the states. When we travel, and we realize that— even going back to that factory in 2009— that factory at the time was 75 people, it's now 550 people. And we make up 25-30% of their business, which means that we're supporting you know, 150 people that work there.
We think of ourselves as being global citizens. The people in the global factories, and their development and growth, are just as important to me as our team is here. So, that's always important for us to remember that we're supporting a huge ecosystem.