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Michael Allen | Editors Chair

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Exquisite Surfaces

Every few months the Exquisite Surfaces owners travel to France to source the finest antique stone and building materials, 18th-19th century fireplace surrounds, decorative tiles, antique limestone, terra cotta flooring, garden elements and other old world architectural delicacies.

Exquisite Surfaces has become a premier source for French limestone, both antique and new slabs that have been aged; a variety of tiles, including old terra cotta that has been glazed with Renaissance patterns, fountains and garden benches. Unique items, such as 4' tall jumbo olive jars abound in their showrooms.

Showrooms; Beverly Hills + San Francisco + Greenwich + New York + Laguna Niguel


Remains Lighting

Launched out of a Chelsea loft in 1996 Remains Lighting sold architectural salvage including antique lighting, bronze grills, fireplace mantels, stained glass windows and vintage plumbing. Founder David Calligeros personally restored each item to the highest standards, with sensitivity and attention to the requirements of his interior design and architecture clientele.

His keen interest in fine metalwork, and desire to have a state-of-the-art restoration workshop devoted to one class of material, pushed him to exclusively focus on antique lighting. In 1999 he continued this pursuit by launching his own line, the Remains Lighting Permanent Collection.

Today the collection is manufactured under the direct supervision of Mr. Calligeros in a New York factory, where he proudly keeps the heritage of metal craft alive, and creates jobs for U.S. based artisans.

Showrooms; New York + Greenwich + Chicago + Los Angeles + London


Lineaus Athletic

Lineaus products have their design origins in traditional forms. Human needs for athletic equipment call for a variety of shapes, sizes, and weights. Each custom-made and numbered leather product is designed to be durable and soft to the touch. All Lineaus goods are made from the finest chrome tanned leather, designed to leave open pores, and when oiled regularly, the longest lasting leather tanning process.



Hong Kong based CIPHER is an international urban-contemporary lifestyle brand offering high concept lifestyle products for an emerging class of global lifestyle connoisseurs. Canadian born founder and designer Collin Thompson discusses the brand and CIPHER'S next moves with Executive Edits.

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Cafe de Wheels

Former TV commercial, music video, and documentary editor Thomas Acito decided to pursue his dream of opening a restaurant. Armed with GPS technology, Twitter, Facebook, 4Square, email, phone communications and of course great food, he launched Cafe de Wheels. We tracked down the busy Mr.Acito to learn more about this restaurant-on-wheels concept serving the streets of Cincinnati.

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Richard Thalheimer

Richard Thalheimer, founder & former CEO of Sharper Image, and creator of Richard Solo knows a thing or two about merchandising and connecting with the consumer. We caught up with Richard to learn more about his current endeavors and his views on filling the void with his customers.

By now everyone must know about your successful run as Founder and CEO of The Sharper Image. Please tell us the backstory of Richard Solo. 

After leaving TSI in September 2006, I retired for a month. However, I could not resist doing what I love, which is finding and marketing interesting products. So I started

Richard Solo is a departure from the traditional bricks and mortar model. Will the online play suit your needs both short and term?  

I've always preferred print catalog, print ads, or online store, because of the precise control of the marketing message. The sales message is presented the same in every magazine, or web page. Stores are appealing, but it is difficult to control the presentation. So I'm really happy staying with online and print ads.

Let's talk about merchandising. You have noted skills for getting out in front regarding product. But the consumer's appetite may have changed from products they want, to products needed. Will this shift your merchandising focus? 

The challenge as a small online store is to find products that are not available everywhere. That's even more difficult in the internet age. Whether a product is fun, or useful, or both, it needs to be unique! I look for items that are special, and can carry the RichardSolo branding.

Without giving away your secret sauce, walk us through a typical product launch from idea to commercialization.

"Find a need...and fill it!" And make sure the price/benefit ration makes sense!

What differentiates you from your competitors?  

Hopefully our products are unique. I know our customer support is the most responsive, most generous, and most protective of your purchase - bar none!

What are the key challenges facing your organization today?  

The internet is the greatest price leveler in history. It's easy and fast to find the best price.

How big is the threat of new entrants? 

I'm more concerned with Amazon and ebay. They have almost everything - but not quite :)

What keeps the Richard Solo team up at night?  

We are sleeping well. We love what we do, we enjoy treating our customers like royalty, and there are no partners, public shareholders, or venture capitalists. It's a really nice situation.

How do you envision the company in say three years? What's on the horizon? 

I am looking forward to slowly and solidly seeing RichardSolo grow. Quality is more important than quantity.

From where do you draw your inspiration?  

Steve Jobs

What is your current state-of-mind? 

Really proud to have built TSI into a 200 store chain. Now, I'm happy and content to do what I love best.

Could you share your favorite quote? 

"Luck is preparation meeting opportunity"

You can learn more about Richard Thalheimer and his latest project, Richard Solo at

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