CLIENT STORIES

When the world of luxury, consumer and business products converge.

 
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A CROWN JEWEL: 35 YEARS IN THE MAKING

Allan Weiser and his business partner Jim Dates started building furniture in Jim’s fathers garage in Buffalo N.Y.  Roll forward 35 years, and Allan had a 1000 square foot factory and was producing the most luxurious and refined conference room and C-level office furniture in the world.

ALLAN
WEISER

The workplace furniture market has evolved greatly over the years.  Open work plans are taking over but it seems every company still embraces refined client forward reception and meeting space and the CEOs still love high-design and hand built desks.  I thought combining my product line into a larger “full line” furniture company could be hugely beneficial for both companies.
 
 

JIM
D'AQUILA

Allan created a jewel of a company. His designs, the quality of his products and custom manufacturing systems are above all others in the industry.  Plus his client list was “top shelf”: Sony, JP Morgan, Conde Nast, Citibank, KKR and the list goes on.  The challenge on us was to find DatesWeiser a new home that would embrace its unique culture of creativity design and customization and yet provide it with a greater geographic reach.
 
 

WHEN CULTURE IS EVERYTHING

 
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ALLAN
WEISER

Jim and Adeel quickly picked up on the unique DNA of my company and were able to sort through the likely suitors we would have.  Their objectivity was incredibly valuable, and they told me that the path I had preconceived was likely a dead end.
 
 

JIM
D'AQUILA

Allan was convinced that the one particular party that had been on his doorstep for sometime would turn out to be his perfect partner.  When Allan and I had dinner with the CEO of the Company, the main topic the CEO focused on was cost reductions.  What Allan actually needed was an investment for growth.
 

ALLAN
WEISER

I could tell Jim smelled cultural trouble for me during the dinner.  Afterwards, out in the street, he said to me, “We might as well push you in front of that moving bus.”  I laughed at his frankness but realized he was sending me a very important message.
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JIM
D’AQUILA

So, as we walked back to our hotels, we discussed Plans B through Z.
 
 

WHEN OFFICE FURNITURE BECOMES THE CEO’S “CONSUMER DECISION” 

 
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ALLAN
WEISER

We don’t sell cubicles or workstations or desks from a catalog.  We design and sell elegant furniture which is often custom ordered. And, we capture a disproportionate share of the dollars in the office furniture market.  Often, the CEO is involved in the final decision and it becomes a very personal choice.
 
 

JIM
D'AQUILA

DatesWeiser was ostensibly a business to business company but it marketed its products no differently than a luxury consumer company.  We needed to find Allan a partner that embraced that point-of-view and one that had a Coast-to-Coast showroom capacity, which would become points of discovery for DatesWeiser.
 
 
 

KNOLL: ONLY 100 YEARS IN THE MAKING

 

ALLAN
WEISER

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.
 
 

JIM
D’AQUILA

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?

 

ALLAN
WEISER

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.
 
 

JIM
D'AQUILA

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.
 

Today, DatesWeiser operates as a division of KNOLL.  Allan has a lot of shiny new equipment and a global reach.  And KNOLL has know-how for specialized wood manufacturing and portfolio of the world’s most beautiful conference rooms.

 

CUSTOM FIT

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