Celebrate with Us!
July 27, 2020
Sixteen years ago, today, KDI was officially founded. The path that has led us to where we are now has been one that threw bumps, curves, and straightaways with a few cloudy days often dissipating quickly with the sun shining upon us. There are many metaphors available to someone reflecting on a business journey, starting oftentimes with “that’s my baby!” followed by “we are all family, and in this together!”.
The stages of KDI can easily be remembered by milestones. In 2004, an architect friend offered his loft area for 2 months while we renovated our first official home at 610 S. State Street in Geneva. Such a cool loft type 2,000sf building made our own by funky yet professional vibes. This is where KDI sprouted from seeds planted over the previous 4 months. The sleepless nights, the endless days turning into early mornings, turning into weeks upon end of pure grit creating a culture, a team, a philosophy. Driven by an unbounding desire to offer prospective and existing clients nothing but the best service and product, KDI began to emerge in the commercial furniture world as a unique firm.
In 2007, we had quickly outgrown our cool little studio, and we purchased a 9,000sf office condo which is where we currently reside. Being interior designers, it has been remodeled a few times of course, all the while being our main headquarters for the KDI Team.
From day one, our commercial furniture dealership has always been “design driven” as our passion for creating solutions for our clients will never ever be considered cookie cutter. In this vein, we also are known for our “un-aligned” status. Built upon the cliché tactic of “doing the right thing” for our clients, we are aligned with manufacturers that do not place unrealistic sales quotas on our team, resulting in our ability to provide our clients with the perfect solution for their application. Never will a furniture solution be dictated by anything but the “right” solution. No quotas driving our furniture solutions.
My Michigan State interior design degree set the tone for our team’s underlying philosophy. We will always have the passion to create the ideal furniture solution for our clients, whether large or small, near or far, we proudly can name over 497 clients, and 21,000 projects. Our focus on corporate, multi-family, hospitality and senior living facilities runs the gamut, each having its own unique furniture solution.
As a gardener and flower lover, my grandmother taught me the small plants will reward me by their own timeline. Typically they will sleep, creep, and then leap. I’d say the first 3 years we were not sleeping but sowing the soil and planting those seeds. The next decade we were not creeping, but working the soil and developing not only the right team but the right mix of product and service through those formative years. And in the past 3 years we have seen the most growth and promise. The growing pains are slowing, and the future looks bright.
Of course, never in a million years had I anticipated a virus. How many business owners, having developed a firm, a work family, a business that saw nothing but a bright future thru all those growing pains, are now having sleepless nights for reasons no one will understand? It’s not fair to the restaurant owners, the retail shops and businesses that rely on people frequenting in large numbers to their “baby”. My heart breaks for those, as I too am feeling the effects of this virus while watching a team greatly affected for their personal reasons. And they are my work family.
KDI’s sweet 16 is one to remember, reflect and celebrate in our own way. Last year we were partying in the parking lot with axe throwing and food trucks! This year, we celebrate our successes and our future as we are truly blessed to be in a field where we can continue to make a difference, creating spaces for our clients, responding to their specific needs. For those that live and work in the multi-family and senior living arenas, we are providing spaces that offer refuge to our current situation. For those working in the corporate sector, we continue to offer furniture solutions that provide a safe yet functional workplace.
Who knows what the next 16 years will hold, I don’t have that crystal ball. The one thing I do know is that Americans are tough, entrepreneurs are not only tough but have a burning desire to create something out of nothing. KDI is extremely blessed to have created the team, the product alliances, and the culture we call our norm. For some, the norm isn’t new, it’s what has gotten us to where we are, and where we are going.