JANICE FELDMAN is an innovator of the design industry and an icon for anyone looking to build a global business. Since 1978, as the founder and CEO of JANUS et Cie, she has transformed her single showroom in Los Angeles to a luxury contemporary furniture brand with 19 showrooms worldwide, including one here in Singapore. We ask how she became a successful entrepreneur and the tips she’d give to someone starting or expanding a business.
What’s been your biggest challenge as a business owner, and what advice would you give to others?
Embarking on this journey required ambition, wit and an entrepreneurial spirit. I knew we had to create memorable environments that would inspire designers and architects all over the world. JANUS et Cie was ahead of its time in the outdoor industry as when I started, there was just a handful of styles and materials. In a way, creating the desire for luxurious spaces outdoors was the biggest opportunity, and our products truly paved the way for thinking about high design in the exterior.
I will always advocate for challenging yourself as a business owner. The best advice I can give is to never give up! Be honest and use your best instincts. Be exceptional at whatever you choose to do – and, of course, if you love what you do, you’ll be happy every day.
What about the specific challenges of being a global business with stores in different locations around the world?
At JANUS et Cie, we have a treasured and unique company culture that we strive to protect. We’ve been able to adapt and interpret this culture to include insights gained from doing business in different regions globally.
We tend to interview many, many people before we find the right person to join us. I think it’s a wonderful, beautiful thing to have different people, cultures and operating styles woven together with a common vision and set of values. As a group of enthusiastic industry experts driven by this company culture, we are always dedicated to creating the most beautiful spaces for our clients.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Only the paranoid survive.”
You’re the head of the company’s development team; talk us through your design, testing and build process.
A product design sometimes begins as simply a sketch on a napkin… I love how the touch of hand to paper really makes a concept take shape. Our unique focus on creative problem-solving gives us an edge – an expertise in understanding specific challenges. We design with the excellence and high aesthetic of the interior while engineering our products to be rigorous and durable for the exterior.
Every product undergoes rigorous testing to meet our high level of performance standards. Materials and structures are tested and engineered for outdoor use in virtually any climate. Our diverse range of furnishings can be found everywhere from high-end resorts, villas and luxury residences to public parks and universities. This allows us to provide something beautifully designed and executed for every client. It doesn’t matter if they’re from the residential, hospitality, contract or marine sector nor their specifications or budget. We aim to inspire.
Many of our collections are entirely handcrafted, including handwoven products that can take days or even weeks to make. Our dedicated weavers use traditional, time-honoured techniques and what they produce is extraordinary.
What’s next for you and the company?
I’m not interested in slowing down! As long as there are opportunities out there, I’ll challenge myself to innovate and build a global business. I’m constantly on the lookout for the best of the best to collaborate with. We’re so energised with where we see the future of design going. Being consistently focused on how innovation and technology can exist in harmony helps us to deliver what our clients want.
Digital technology has changed every business, and the design industry is not excluded. Online shopping has certainly influenced consumers, making them more confident in their spending but also in their own selections. I believe we’re going to see the industry constantly evolving to keep up with e-commerce and a culture that increasingly wants everything quickly. Technology has enabled us to be more agile in every way, to truly build a global business. This combined with a diversity of location makes us more creative. Our solutions and developing a team of global perspectives have allowed us to succeed brilliantly. It’s an exciting time in the industry and the potential for innovation is incredible.
11 Beach Road, #01-02
6333 0060 | janusetcie.com
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