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Business Observer Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2022 3 months ago

Shrewd moves early in the pandemic pay off for interior designer

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More growth, including a new 60-employee location, is forthcoming for Clive Daniel Home.
by: Beth Luberecki Contributor

Shipping and supply chain issues have plagued businesses of all kinds over the last year or so. Furniture and interior design firm Clive Daniel Home is no exception. But some smart thinking has helped the company ride out the logistics nightmare a little better than other firms.

When the pandemic began, the Naples-based company foresaw the potential for shipping and inventory problems. So it leased two additional warehouse spaces in Fort Myers and stocked them with furniture. “Going into COVID, we thought that our supply chain might get a little bit rocky,” says Clive Daniel Home CEO Daniel Lubner. “We had no clue it would be as disrupted and convoluted and chaotic as it is now — and will be for at least the next 18 months.”

Having those stocked warehouses has helped the company “provide immediate gratification for our clients,” says Lubner, 47. And that’s been especially important as the Florida real estate market has remained hot, racking up more sales and higher median sale prices in 2021 compared with 2020, according to Florida Realtors data.

In making a decision like that, the company had a lot of past experience from which to draw. Clive Daniel Home was founded in 2011 by a father-son team of furniture and interior design industry veterans. Clive Lubner served as CEO of Robb & Stucky until its 2011 liquidation. Clive’s son, Daniel Lubner, started that company’s hospitality division.

Father and son decided to strike out on their own in 2011. “We’ve been a part of the community since the 1970s,” says Daniel Lubner. “This is our home. The idea behind the name was to let everyone know who we are. We were involved with the previous company and all the good and bad…and we wanted to make sure that people knew it was us.”

The company started off with a Naples store and showroom and kept ambitions realistic. “I just wanted to make payroll,” laughs Lubner. He did and the company continued to grow, thanks to the efforts of its dedicated staff. “Any success we have is [from] the people in the organization,” says Lubner. “We just happen to be lucky enough to have our names on the side of building.”

Any success we have is [from] the people in the organization. We just happen to be lucky enough to have our names on the side of building. Daniel Lubner, Clive Daniel Home

In 2016 Clive Daniel Home opened a second showroom that it built in Boca Raton. A three to five store strategy had always been part of the company’s plan from the beginning, and that available land in Boca Raton allowed it to build exactly what it wanted.

Now Clive Daniel Home is nearing competition of its third location in Sarasota, in the Fruitville Commons mixed-use project just east of Interstate 75. Lubner expects it to open in May or June. Both sites serve to expand the company’s reach in a logical way. “Those markets are just perfect locations for our brand and the type of design work that we’re looking to achieve,” says Lubner.

Clive Daniel Home hit $87 million in revenue in 2021, despite the fact its designers had to learn to operate in a different way when custom options for clients weren’t as easy to come by. Being able to turn to that warehouse stock was a huge advantage.

Stefania Pifferi. Daniel Lubner, along with his dad, Clive Lubner, founded Clive Daniel Home in 2011. Both had been executives Robb & Stucky until its 2011 liquidation.

“The demand is at an all-time high and the supply is at an all-time low,” says Lubner. “And I’m not sure who else can confidently raise their hands and say that they’ve remained ahead of it. Our merchandising team has really been aggressively making sure that not only do we have product that we can deliver, but it’s fashion forward and it’s the quality and type of product Floridians are going to be excited about and our designers are excited about.”

Lubner admits having multiple warehouses isn’t the ideal long-term. “Next on the radar is to identify buildable land where we can, over the course of the next handful of years, build a 200,000-square-foot warehouse,” he says.

With a current staff of 218 — plus about 60 new hires that for the new Sarasota location — Clive Daniel Home knows the importance of a strong company culture. That includes ensuring opportunities for internal growth and offering competitive salaries and benefits. It also means not being afraid to rethink company practices as the world and industry keeps changing. “If we’re running our operation a year from now the same way we’re running it today, we haven’t evolved the business,” says Lubner.

Clive Daniel Home has received hundreds of awards and accolades over its decade in business. Most recently it won the Best Furniture Store — Multiple Locations award from the Dallas Market Center and ART, a network of home decor professionals, at the 32nd ARTS Awards gala. Lubner calls that honor particularly meaningful, as the company had received a “rising star” award from those same organizations in 2013. “It gives us that opportunity to slow down and recognize what our team has achieved,” he says.

And they’re not done yet. Lubner says more stores are likely down the road, and the company is also working on an idea for a concept store that he won’t say much more about at this point. “We’ve got to make sure our logistics and warehousing is set for future growth and expansion,” says Lubner. “But we’re excited to continue to slowly and responsibly grow the company.”

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