Julie and her husband Paul were the only owners of the eyebobs business, but they
were smart enough to know that all dollars are the same color of green. They spent a
great deal of time assessing the chemistry of potential partners.
Jim and Adeel more than exceeded my initial valuation thoughts, and I had multiple offers all of which were compelling. But, money was not the only thing I was interested in. I was allowing my business to be adopted. I wanted it in the hands of great people.
KNOLL: ONLY 100 YEARS IN THE MAKING
Florence Knoll is, was and always shall be “the legend of timeless designs” and most of Knoll’s high design products transcend the definitions of consumer versus business furnishings. Philosophically I have tried to embody the same design aesthetic.
When we went through the potential suitors list, it was obvious that Allan was overwhelmingly of the mind that if approached with the right message about DatesWeiser, Knoll would “get the fit” (his words). The issue was, KNOLL is pretty picky when it comes to acquisitions.
HOW CAN WE MAKE KNOLL KNOW?
Without getting into details, Jim and Adeel did a masterful job of designing an unique approach to KNOLL while still canvasing the market with other buyers. The advice they gave me for my initial approach to the KNOLL CEO was perfect.
If KNOLL had one item missing from its portfolio, it was in the high-end custom products for client meeting spaces. But, presenting DatesWeiser in solely that light would have likely fallen on deaf ears. The transaction had to be bigger than the product. It had to be about sharing core competencies that would make each of KNOLL and DatesWeiser stronger. DatesWeiser had very unique production capabilities that KNOLL could utilize and KNOLL had global reach that DatesWeiser needed.