Mitch Lurie was 25 years old when he came to the U.S. from his native South Africa to visit his sister. He worked a couple different jobs before he started selling leather furniture.
“I became really good at it,” he said.
Then he got fired.
“I knew then that I never wanted to work for anybody again,” Lurie said. “So my wife and I sat down and figured we’d start our own business.”
In 2004, with $37,000, he and his wife, DeAnn, co-founded The Leather Sofa Co. by selling furniture supplied to them by an outside vendor.
It was not long before they branched out into the manufacturing side of the business.
“The guy who was supplying us with furniture asked us to take over his factory,” Lurie said. “We were buying more than he could handle [making].”
The business started in Denton and eventually came to Lewisville 6 1/2 years ago. The 43,000-square-foot facility houses retail at the front of the store and the company’s factory in the back.
Today, the business offers 107 different furnishing styles with customers able to choose from among 40 components, including different stitching, furniture legs and nail heads. The company also offers 300 types of leather—more than a million combinations, Lurie said.
He said about 80% of the leather comes from Italian tanneries, which are facilities where animal skin is preserved and turned into leather.
“I get excited about the things that come through,” Lurie said. “Everything is individualized. Some of it is crazy, and some of it is normal.”
With the help of business partners, Lurie created a computer system that shows the stage of a customer’s order as the furniture is being built. Whenever the order moves on to the next stage, the customer will get an update.
“People say they love our process and love getting the emails,” Lurie said. “Every time I make a sale, I get happy. I feel like I’m doing somebody a service by selling them such good furniture.”