Can you tell us about your background?
I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire called Fitzwilliam. After graduating high school, I went to the prestigious prep school Bridgton Academy for a year to get my grades up and to get more opportunities to obtain a sports scholarship. After I graduated, I attended Norwich University for a year and then later transferred to American International College to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Upon graduation, I joined the family business: Surell Accessories.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
There are always funny and interesting things happening at Surell. However, one of the funniest things that have happened was to my dad. He had to attend a sales meeting that he had scheduled. He arrived to the meeting early and he had time to spare. When he bent over to pick up the box of samples, something “split”. His pants split right down the backside his. Although his pants were ripped and he was embarrassed, he still attended the meeting.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our top-quality merchandise, our family legacy, and our customer service. Whenever a customer calls about an issue with a product, they will speak with of the owners or an employee that handles customer service. It is so important to hear the customer’s feedback about our products and how we can improve them.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
First, I would say that I am grateful for my family because they always support me. But there are two people I would have to say that helped me to become successful as well. One is my father (majority owner of the company). So every day he is showing me how he has made Surell successful as he says it “Fitzwilliam to Fifth Ave”.
Every day with him makes me a better business owner. I get a hands-on lesson on how to run the company. So, I get answers to issues I cannot figure out on my own. Usually, most people are not as lucky; they have to figure it out through trial and error.
The second person is my Uncle In-Law, Aaron. He is the successful business owner of Fall River Pawn Brokers and owns his own real estate business. He is much like my father; he did not go college and made it to the top through hard work and persistence.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Giving jobs to people in our local community and opportunities for employees to move up throughout the company without a college education. Additionally, if someone goes out their way to show an act of kindness, I will get their address and ship them a product of ours on me.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Bill Belichick’s “War Room” is my favorite book. It has helped me be able to put together the best team to accomplish our goals we have here at Surell.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why?
How important social media would be. We did a campaign with Creative Development Agency, a PR firm to get our social media up to the level it should be.
How important internet sales are. Seeing how most of our sales are to brick-and-mortar stores and the times are starting to change with more e-commerce, we have now revamped our website to increase our sales.
Building a trustworthy team from the beginning is critical to success.
Life is too short to do something you don’t love.
Working with family can be done as long as everyone has their roles defined.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Yes, but it would be three: Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady. These three are so successful. I would just like to talk about how they achieved their success. I am also huge Patriots fan and so is my dad, so I would like to bring him along.