By Randi Fuller Just over three years ago, my father said something to me that would change the course of my life forever: “Maybe you should think about taking over the business.” I laughed as I said, “Don’t hold your breath, dad.”
When I approached my husband, Al, about the idea I was not prepared when he said, “Well, now, wait a minute.” I was shocked. That is when I stopped laughing and began to seriously contemplate the flooring industry as a viable option.
The decision did not come easily. It meant moving and starting over with our family with three small children. It would mean a pay cut and fewer benefits. It meant long, brutal hours to learn the business and build relationships. It meant the vision of the future that I had formed in my head would be null and void. It would be a different future, an uncertain future.
What made me think I could do this? Why did I decide to take over a business that I never thought I wanted? Could I really handle running a business and make a name for myself in an industry that is dominated by men? To answer these questions, I had to look deep within myself and the legacy that is inextricably tied to who I am.
My father purchased a small flooring business when I was 10 years old. My mother handled the accounting and record keeping while my father installed flooring and took the lead in sales. In their 28 years in the flooring industry, they have taken a tiny, two-person operation into a thriving retail and installation enterprise with multiple installation teams.
I have always known that simply taking over my father’s business and keeping it going would never truly satisfy me in the long run. I do not want his dream; I want my own. The challenge then becomes: How do I take this business into the next 28 years and turn it into something that reflects my dreams?
Over time, I have come to see that many of my skills and various aspects of my personality were passed down to me. I claim this heritage and simultaneously acknowledge that, as a female, I have something unique to offer: focus on building connections.
I don’t just want to be someone’s boss. I want to be their mentor, a sounding board, someone who works collaboratively with those I lead. I want our customers to feel like they are not only getting what they pay for, but are immersed in a transformative experience with human connection at its center. I also seek connection with other women in the industry who empower, encourage and learn from one another. I believe that in these interpersonal relationships true success resides. This is my dream.
Randi Fuller is co-owner of Nevada-based Mesquite Tile & Flooring. Her focus is in interior design, marketing and research and development. She is also an artist whose mediums currently include watercolors and various types of tile. You can follow her art on Instagram @thesanctuarycreatress.