I had the pleasure to interview Mayan Metzler, the Founder of Leicht New York and German Kitchen Center
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I came here form Israel in 1998 and started my own company in 2000 that we called “My home”. The idea of my home was to create the 1 national brand of remolding, and Iworked on it that for 10 years, until we went with the financial crisis. Long story short until I reached the conclusion that it’s not possible to execute our plan for various reasons I ended up leaving that company. I started all over again back in 2010. First, I became Leicht dealer. After that Leicht national sales director told me that if I want to save Manhattan for myself I have to open a showroom there. So the first showroom was opened in Summer’11 and it still exists today.
From that point the business started to develop, and we opened another showroom in Westchester with my partner Ohad. At that time I have decided to become a regional Leicht chain dealer and I opened another showroom in Chelsea in 2012. Same year I was introduced to Nobilia in Germany. They were available in the USA. And once I had 2 German brands to offer the idea of GKC started to develop. The 4th showroom in Red Hook, Brooklyn was opened shortly after that. In 2014 we had 5 locations in NY and by the end of 2015 we opened the very first showroom outside of NY — in Miami.
All this time we kept growing and I partnered with Roei to open another showroom in Queens, and another showroom with Ohad in CT.
We started to think about becoming a national chain and raising some funds. At the end I grew into a national chain without raising any money, but just by reinvesting the profits of the business.
In 2017 we open 6 more locations in 6 different cities across the US. These are Seattle, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta Chicago, DC. And finally this year we added the showroom in Los Angeles. So as of now we have 18 locations, and we are a national chain.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
The most interesting story would be about Michala, who today is my wife. She started as a designer in the company. We fell in love. And our relationships evolved until we’ve became working partners in addition to our great love story. We work together. Without her I really would have never made it. Especially, what she is doing today and what she is doing with the national expansion. She actually designed and built the showrooms, and when the showrooms started to operate she trains, support and manage all the designers. Without her this whole idea of becoming an national chain would have never become true.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are the only one national chain in the U.S. What that means is that all other companies are either mono brands like scavolini or pogenpole, or it would be mom and pop American kitchen dealer that just carries only German or Italian kitchen line. But these stores are limited to only one style (European or other) and the price point that brand has to offer. What makes us different is we understand our clients’ needs, and then we cater and tailor to them.
But what really makes us really stand out is the phenomenal team that we managed to gather over the years; an amazing mix of personalities that maintains a magical corporate culture. Everyday, every minute we are doing what we have to do, and that is making our clients satisfied.
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?
I already mentioned Michala, my wife. There are so many great people in the team that if I had to choose just one or two more I would love to mention my mom Nurit Metzler who is today COO at GKC. She is doing the administrative, marketing, production jobs, and the support and dedication that she has is just amazing.
Also, Helya, my cousin who is in charge of all the orders. I often call her a processor or the PC of the company, and she truly is. Helya was the one that actually started the business with me. She introduced me to Shimon who in 2010 was the Leicht sales director. And that’s how it all started.
Are you working on any exciting projects right now? How with that help people?
We are very excited about the Matteo Genarri showroom in the D&D on the Upper East Side.
MG positions his brand as the highest level world leader in kitchens and whole interior design.
He provides solutions that I haven’t seen around at all. He has a team of interior designers. He manufactures (or he will source whatever is needed to tailor to client’s needs. And then he installs the project he created. So, MG is a complete full service solution for the most demanding clientele.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We try to create a great atmosphere while working and when working with clients. I hope with every project we improve the clients’ quality of life and made their life better.
I’m also involved in a non-profit activity called “My Planet”. There are 3 key things that “My Planet” is trying to provide to all people in the world. These are food, shelter and health.
We are using GKC to support My planet to achieve these goals.
We donate $500 from the each retainer and soon the point system will be implemented which will allow clients to pay 10% with “My Planet” points. That will create exposure to what “My Planet” is.
Do you have a book that made a big difference in your life? Can you explain why it resonated with you?
“Think and grow reach” by Napoleon Hill
The story from the book is about the Master mind concept. The idea is to create a culture where everyone can contribute no matter who they are and what they do. By cultivating this culture, you are creating a master mind by combining all minds. I would like to believe that our whole organization is based and operates on the Master mind concept. We are always open and listen to any ideas, and see how we can be better.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
So, of course the classic two are:
1. it would cost a lot more and
2. it would take a lot longer.
3. The third is about people: how difficult and actually impossible it is to satisfy everyone. What hard work required to recruit and keep people. Overall dealing with human beings is tough.
4. Another thing is how different every market in the U.S. is. Every city is a completely different world. They cannot be compared and approached the same way.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I would choose either Warren Buffet or Richard Branson
They seem to me like they both have good, nice personalities. And if I sit down with them to share my thoughts they would listen and collaborate, and not come from the place of arrogance.
I have a feeling that they are modest and that they will be willing to partner, coming from eye to eye, equal positions. That I believe is the key to good business collaboration!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Originally published at medium.com