Surell’s fur fashions are found at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Lord and Taylor, Bloomingdales, Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and other major retailers across North America and throughout the world. Since 1979, discriminating shoppers at America’s leading retailers have come to recognize Surell as one of the most desirable names in fur fashion and accessories.
Founded by Darryl Meattey and Sue Adams, “Surell” Accessories is a combination of their first names. Adams and Meattey met while working for a manufacturer of children’s/bridal fur accessories. Meattey began his career by unloading trucks and setting up product displays. Despite having any formal business education, within five years Meattey was president of the 45-person company. After the dissolution of the children’s/bridal fur company, Surell was born—focused on creating high-quality designer fashion accessories, primarily for women.
Upon Adams’ retirement in 2002, Surell became a family affair for Meattey—with his wife, Lois, and his two sons, Daniel and Dominic, all partners in the company.
Working with fur is truly an art form. The Meattey family employs their decades of experience and craftsmanship as they guide their in-house product design and development department. Darryl takes a hands-on leadership approach. Each member of the company’s sales team participates in new product development, ensuring that their customers’ desires are translated into each new product.
When asked how Surell has managed to maintain successful business relationships with retailers for over 35 years, Meattey credited its success to the people who surround him. From initial product design, through the sales process, to order fulfillment and delivery, Surell’s owners and lead management team are in contact with the customer every step of the way.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire called Fitzwilliam. After graduating high school, I went to the prestigious prep school Bridgton Academy for a year to get my grades up and to get more opportunities to obtain a sports scholarship. After I graduated, I attended Norwich University for a year and then later transferred to American International College to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Upon graduation, I joined the family business: Surell Accessories.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
There are always funny and interesting things happening at Surell. However, one of the funniest things that have happened was to my dad. He had to attend a sales meeting that he had scheduled. He arrived at the meeting early and he had time to spare. When he bent over to pick up the box of samples, something “split”. His pants split right down the backside his. Although his pants were ripped and he was embarrassed, he still attended the meeting.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our top-quality merchandise, our family legacy, and our customer service. Whenever a customer calls about an issue with a product, they will speak with of the owners or an employee that handles customer service. It is so important to hear the customer’s feedback about our products and how we can improve them.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
First, I would say that I am grateful for my family because they always support me. But there are two people I would have to say that helped me to become successful as well. One is my father (majority owner of the company). So every day he is showing me how he has made Surell successful as he says it “Fitzwilliam to Fifth Ave”.
Every day with him makes me a better business owner. I get a hands-on lesson on how to run the company. So, I get answers to issues I cannot figure out on my own. Usually, most people are not as lucky; they have to figure it out through trial and error.
The second person is my Uncle In-Law, Aaron. He is the successful business owner of Fall River Pawn Brokers and owns his own real estate business. He is much like my father; he did not go college and made it to the top through hard work and persistence.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Giving jobs to people in our local community and opportunities for employees to move up throughout the company without a college education. Additionally, if someone goes out of their way to show an act of kindness, I will get their address and ship them a product of ours on me.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Bill Belichick’s “War Room” is my favorite book. It has helped me be able to put together the best team to accomplish our goals we have here at Surell.
What’s the best advice you can give to other entrepreneurs?
Always learn and never take criticism negatively. I always try to learn new ways to do things or what the newest technology is to help better my business. Things just change so fast so you always have to be learning to keep up.
Criticism is one of the best tools to learn from because it is just a different view. You can take that criticism and tweak your idea to make it better. I also always listen to my gut feeling because that feeling is usually right.
As a parent and business owner, what’s your go-to work/life balance tip?
I would say probably 60/40. My daily day usually consists of helping my wife get our daughter Janelle ready for daycare. Then I go off to the gym before work. Leave work at 5 to pick up Janelle at daycare then go home if there are errands to run and goof around with Janelle for a little then start on dinner cooking dinner.
After dinner, we will get Janelle washed up and ready for bed and in-between splashes or catching a diaper thrown by my wife, I will check my emails and see if there is any that need answering then I answer and then off to bed. So that is my Monday thru Friday usually. Then when we go on vacation, I usually set a time up in the morning to answer all emails because being an owner I always have to be available; however, with me scheduling a time to handle work still leaves me time to relax and enjoy my vacation.
What else do you have planned for Surell for 2019?
Can’t tell you because it’s top-secret:) This year we hope to get a gift line up and running. We are also looking to collaborate with some celebrities, while keeping on making our brand a household name.