Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Glad we met you, kdi!

On a recent evening we were invited to a Building Industry Association event. As relatively new BIA members, we’re usually fired up about getting out there and meeting people from across this dynamic industry. But that day, I’d had so many meetings I almost wished I hadn’t RSVPed. And Lissa couldn’t come because she had a small emergency at home. But pupus and a party are always a draw for us! And we thought it would be fun to check out a new potential resource to share with you. So Kara and I headed out, promising each other we would make this a short evening.

The event was at kdi elements on Paiea Street in Mapunapuna. kdi carries residential and commercial elements ranging from mosaic and ceramic tiles to hardwood flooring and more, and they recently did a $160 million renovation of the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui. We were greeted by a very friendly staff, nice wine and appetizers, and a really stunning, brand-new 3,000-square-foot showroom—beautifully laid out, cutting-edge and unique. Loved it!

I made it a point to meet the manager of this location, Lindsey Boswell. She was so full of energy and bubbly as can be. We explained what we do and she loved the concept of us training people’s eye for home design and décor—she said that would help her! So she brought over her boss, the owner and CEO, Paul Klein.

Paul is really my kind of guy! Super nice, easygoing, down to earth and a total entrepreneur. He and his wife, Annie, started their tile installation company almost 20 years ago out of the back of their pickup truck. Today they have over 300 employees and over $45 million in annual sales. What an incredible success story!

They have a 20,000-square-foot facility in Los Angeles and Paul divides his time between the Honolulu location and his headquarters in Palm Desert, California. They have so many new and exciting products. One of my favorite vignettes in his showroom was a little niche area with red glass accent tiles on the wall—very contemporary and sexy—it was red-hot!

Kara and I were laughing as we left. Here we’d promised we’d make it a short evening. Well, as they were cleaning up, rolling away the cocktail tables, sweeping the floor, we were the last to leave! We had such a great time meeting great new people. I’m so glad we went.