Lolois looking forward to 10-year milestone
Thomas Lester -- Home Accents Today, January 17, 2014
In just 10 years, Loloi has gone from new kid on the industry block to one of the most prominent rug manufacturers.
Founded by industry veteran Amir Loloi, who had 25 years of experience as the president of a rug importer prior to going into business for himself, the company has been recognized for creativity, innovation and stewardship. With seven America's Magnificent Carpets awards and four ARTS awards, the industry has taken notice.
Today, Amir Loloi's sons, Steven and Cyrus, have joined him in leadership roles in the family business, helping to carry on the family legacy. Next month, Loloi will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its first market during the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market and Atlanta International Area Rug Market. As they anticipate marking the occasion, the Lolois took time to reflect on the first 10 years of their company's business.
From left: Steven, Amir and Cyrus Loloi.
Amir, what do you remember about the time leading up to that first market in January 2004?
It was crazy. I was traveling overseas twice a month to work on a handful of collections for our first-ever market while our team of four employees was doing everything they could to get operations up and running. We worked many 80-hour weeks, sometimes more, and almost always seven days a week. The most memorable moment was unloading our first container ourselves on New Year's Eve. It was an incredible moment to see our first shipment of product right there in front of us. It felt very real and we were so excited.
What has it been like being able to work with your sons?
It's the ultimate blessing. At my previous job, I was traveling overseas or working late nights on a regular basis, so I didn't get to be around as much as I would have liked when they were growing up. Now with them working at Loloi, we get to spend time together every day.
Also, I'm proud of how much Steven and Cyrus have immersed themselves in the business and demonstrated a passion for our industry. They bring a different, younger perspective and I think the dynamic of us working together has made the company stronger.
Steven and Cyrus, what lessons have you learned from your father?
Steven: Aside from more specific technical knowledge, he's always instilled in us a very strong work ethic and general appreciation for the customers that have supported Loloi to becoming an industry leader. He leads by example. He's the first one in the office and for the longest time was the last one to leave. He's always preached putting the customer first and embracing ethical business practices.
Cyrus: My dad is big on treating people well. He believes ‘what goes around comes around' and that's a mentality he's instilled in Steven and me in regards to how we treat our customers, employees and vendors.
He's also taught me the importance of appreciating every single detail of the customer experience. When we're at market, he obsesses over everything. From the cleanliness of the bar countertop to the alignment of every single rug hanging on the racks to servicing every single customer like our business depends on it. When you see the owner of the company care so much about every detail, you can't help but adopt that mindset too.
What are some of your favorite memories of the 10 years since your father founded the company?
Cyrus: I'll never forget my first trip to China to visit factories with Amir. I witnessed the manufacturing process firsthand and formed a newfound appreciation for the process of crafting a handmade rug. I also enjoyed the conversations we had with factory managers, where they elaborated on how we're producing a quality product efficiently. Touring the countryside, tasting authentic Chinese food and visiting cultural landmarks like the Great Wall of China with our factory workers resulted in new friendships too, making the experience even richer.
What, in your opinion, makes Loloi stand out from its competitors?
Steven: I think in part our relative newness to the industry has been an unexpected asset. While we're coming on 10 years, we're a very young company compared to the industry landscape. There's been no long history of doing things in a particular fashion so we're open to new ideas and willing to experiment. Our father brings a lot of experience to the table, but he also allows Cyrus and me to bring a fresh perspective to our industry. While our father was involved in the home accessories business for as long as we can remember, it wasn't really a part of (our) lives growing up. So, when we came into the business we had no preconceived notions of how things were supposed to be done, and to a large extent, we were given the blessing to try new things and innovate.
Where do you see Loloi 10 years from now?
Cyrus: Just by witnessing how our company and this industry has changed since I started working in 2011, it's tough to say what the landscape of Loloi will look like in year 20. From a marketing perspective, it's my dream and ambition to have Loloi become a well-known brand in the public eye. We'll always sell to the trade only, but in 10 more years I think the Loloi name will resonate with end consumers and that'll help drive traffic to our dealers.
Amir: Looking back at how far we've come in the past 10 years, this question seems impossible to answer because our progress thus far has exceeded even my highest expectations. Overall, I've never had the goal of seeing Loloi become the biggest company. I just want Loloi to continue emphasizing original design. I believe if we continue introducing novel but relevant product season after season and treat our customers exceptionally well, the growth will come.