The Two Who Started It All
Design is about relationships. The relationships between form and function. The relationships between color and materials. And perhaps most of all, it’s about the relationships between people like Tim and Bruce.
How did your relationship begin?
T: It started when I asked Bruce, “Can we start a furniture company in Grand Rapids without a factory?” I was inspired by a recent visit to Udine, Italy, where I learned about a business model based on a network of component manufacturers that supplied companies that assembled and distributed the finished products. Following this template was appealing since it wouldn’t require a huge capital investment in facilities or equipment. Bruce said the answer that I’d hoped he would say, and we started working on Marquette, our first product together.
How would you explain Bruce?
T: Over the years, Bruce has been integral in shaping our product story and design philosophy. He is humble, confident, capable, and kind. He listens. He mentored both of my daughters. I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of designers, but I got the whole package with Bruce. Working with him has been the high point of my life’s work. Period.
What’s most unique about Leland?
B: The marketplace is littered with products that can only be described as adequate. With Leland, there’s always been that “extra push” to make sure we’re doing the best we can on whatever we’re doing. I’ve seen the opposite in other places. Leland pushes to the end, agonizing over the smallest details. We aren’t easily satisfied.
What makes you happy?
B: It makes me happy knowing that products we designed 10 or 15 years ago still have relevance in the marketplace today…
T: Actually, 20 or 25 years ago.
B: True. And to me, that’s the gratifying part. These products are still helping
to put food on people’s tables. They’re still making a meaningful contribution.
What does the future hold?
B: We are looking to the future to build on the foundation we created. We’ll continue bringing relevant products into the marketplace.
What is your favorite product you’ve designed for Leland?
B: The next one.