Today we’d like to introduce you to Gina Quatrine.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started with one small shop in Manhattan Beach, only 900 square feet! People loved the furniture and that shop birthed 3 more shops. After having four shops, and an enormous amount of orders (thank god) I decided to open my own manufacturing facility. I applied for a million-dollar SBA loan and got it! This was the green light to open my own facility which has been the best thing I’ve done!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When I was selling furniture in the first years, I was not the manufacturer of my own line. This was difficult as my manufacturer did not share the same commitment to quality and customer service as I did. It is important to me the entire experience is a great one so that was the impetus for opening my own facility, complete control of the quality of the product and timely delivery changed the face of my business and afforded me the loyal following I have now.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Quatrine Custom Furniture – what should we know?
WOW! I think we so different than most traditional custom furniture businesses. We are first off, truly custom in every way, clients can pick not only the size, style and fabric of their choice but they can also pick decorative trims, bindings, welts and ribbon pillow detailing. We are quite well known for our totally washable slipcovered furniture. We guarantee washability in your home washer and dryer and this has been such a bonus for our clients. After spills and dirt appear on their cherished sofa or chair they can simply take the slipcover off and wash it. Once they experience that benefit of having clean, nice smelling furniture every time they wash it, they are hooked. We have clients with over 25 pieces and many have more than 2 slipcovers for each piece that they switch out with the seasons. We keep a complete archive of all our clients since we opened in 1990 and many clients simply call from out of the area, we look up their order, let them know what style they have and they can reorder new slipcovers that will fit beautifully without even leaving their home!
I am so proud of my factory. We actually do tours for clients that want to see the operation first hand and can be confident about the quality. The factory is super organized and clean, our employees are proud of the work that they do and love the challenges of new designs and custom orders.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My mom is not only my greatest cheerleader but was the only source I had to start my own business. I asked her for a 20,000.00 loan to open my first store in Manhattan Beach and she said, Absolutely! Now I do over 6 million in sales a year! She has been my rock throughout it all. Helping me raise my three kids as a single mom and running crazy errands etc., whenever I needed it.
Also, my plant manager, Raul Jimenez has been with me since the day I signed the papers on my SBA loan for the factory. He is responsible for getting out the furniture that has been ordered. He is a perfectionist and runs the factory so smoothly, talks directly with clients when he has a question and has yet to say NO to any request. He loves a challenge!