In 2004, my husband Cesar and I founded our flooring business together. In 2007, we learned our second daughter was born with a medical condition called congenital giant nevus. By the time she was 5 months old, she had undergone 36 surgeries. Undergoing these surgeries made her develop allergies to almost anything. As parents, our world changed: We started developing a more organic, eco-friendly lifestyle, because our daughter needed it. The process made us realize that we are exposed to so many chemicals in our lives. So, as we began changing our lifestyle, we decided to carry that change into our flooring store, as well.
Part of what we wanted to do with our company when we opened our store was to concentrate on bringing eco-friendly products that will bring healthier lifestyles to our clients. As a result, our store has grown to become a go-to place for designers looking for greener products and services in our area. Here's how we turned our store into a hub for environmentally conscious products and people.
When we decided to make environmental updates to our business, we started looking for products. Cesar was devoted to finding different types of stains on the wood flooring side, and we started learning everything about low-VOC options from WOCA, Rubio Monocoat and Bona. We took as much care selecting the products in our store as we did when selecting the products in our own home.
Not everybody's interested in those types of products, and we understand that, but it is super important that we recognize the need to look for environmentally friendly products. Our environmental situation on Earth is inviting us all to preserve nature and take care of our own—and, for us, it started at the center of our family.
An immediate difference
We dedicated an entire area in our showroom to more organic and eco-friendly floors, oils and other products. We did notice that the more natural products we brought into our house and that we brought into our store, we were able to live better—to breathe better. Cleaning plays a big part of this, as well. It's important for us, because we understand the sensitivity and the allergic reactions some people have, and we really want to care for them in our store. We weren't the only ones to notice the difference. We had a client who was in her mid-60s who had purchased a new home and wanted to make sure everything in it was eco-friendly. She came to us and loved what we had to offer. She also mentioned that it was the first time she had come inside a showroom where she did not sneeze and did not feel congested.
And when we talk to clients about "eco-friendly," we are not just talking about the product, we are talking about the installation material we use, as well, including the adhesive, the paint, etc. When a client is environmentally conscious, we need to bring all the options.
Filling a growing need
Today, a majority of products in our store are green-certified, including GreenGuard and FSC, and qualify for LEED points. It wasn't too long until we started getting all types of clients and designers who are looking for eco-friendly products. Because of our dedication to this aspect of our industry, we've landed partnerships with many firms and exclusivity to several products.
I think there are more people who are interested in green building than there used to be, and since the pandemic, I think people will start learning more and more about the environment and how to preserve nature, starting from the trees all the way to the ground. I know we're not doing or offering as much as we would love to do, but it's coming. We're taking it a step at a time.
Cesar and I are very passionate about what we do, and whenever a client welcomes us into their home for a project, we always try to treat them as we would our own family. Our knowledge of and dedication to these sustainable products has just given us another opportunity to aid our clients and set ourselves apart.