Some might think Marcia and Dean Harris are crazy for starting a family business over the age of 50, but their successful furniture store, the Itsy Bitsy Ritzy Shop (IBRshop), has been an exciting and gratifying adventure.
Marcia’s business concept came from her work as an interior designer. She could never find furniture that fit the requirements for her New York City projects, so she decided to create her own pieces. The smaller profile, multitasking pieces with built-in storage were a hit. When people started to ask where they could find this small space furniture, the Itsy Bitsy Ritzy Shop concept and brand was developed.
The way Marcia looked at starting something new at her age was simple: providing a much-needed product alternative in the marketplace seemed exciting. And the appeal of starting a family business came from past success in the advertising business she and her husband founded and ran together. Adding their son, Zach, to the mix this time around was a bonus.
“I would rather invest in my family than in something abstract like the stock market,” said Marcia. “If you are going to plunk down a few hundred thousand dollars on an investment, why not invest in yourself? It’s a risk you can better control and has the possibility of creating something that has meaning and enduring value for the people you care about.”
The IBRshop has now been in business for about a year and a half. The road has not been easy, and not everyone in the family sees eye-to-eye on decision-making, but the investment has been worth it. Despite the hiccups, the Harris family has done several things right, like building a brand, producing a product that is consistent with their values and successfully pivoting from B2C to B2B.
Marcia and Dean Harris prove that having a successful and exciting family business has nothing to do with age. Long-term success comes with common goals, shared values and effective communication. At ReGENERATION Partners, we have experience with a diverse spectrum of companies. From start-ups like IBRshop to multi-generational corporations, our consultants have the right tools to address and solve the critical issues of any size family business.