February 27, 2015

CEO Sounding Board

CEO Sounding Board: How did you get the idea to start your company?

Mike Vogel | 1/31/2014

"My family owned a property where the business is right now. My father was building custom homes. I was working with him out of school the frst year. A fabricator across the street said, ‘You have this perfect property.' The area is designated as a tile and marble district. ‘Why don't you open a stone business?' That was in 2001. Right now we're 85 employees. We have four locations. Business is doing well. Like anything else, you have to go three extra miles instead of the extra mile to satisfy every customer."

"I loved creating things people would buy. When my daughter was small — I have three girls — I wanted to create a product for her to wear. We did cotton clothing. When my last daughter was born (in 1995), I thought, ‘My passion is not clothing.' I went to a pottery studio to have some handprints fred. I saw some (raw clay) dinner plates there. I painted names on the plates and different designs and had them fred.

I knew when the orders started mounting that this was something people wanted. We are gunning for $8.2 million (in 2013 revenue)."

"My mother (Sue Trover) was in real estate a long time. The British would come in for a vacation home, and she would sell them a home and refer them to a management company that would maintain the home and book it. They would come back to her unhappy. I was transitioning out of another business and was looking for another opportunity. It wasn't very capital intensive; that was part of the eureka moment. We're at $20 million annually with sister companies. Our goal is 10 destinations by 2017."

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