Article written by and originally featured with the International Surface Fabricators Association
NSMotif is a female-owned, family-operated full-service fabricator based in Sanford, Fla., that takes full advantage of every opportunity to improve upon its successes and set itself apart from its competition. However, setting itself apart doesn’t mean the company separates itself from its peers. In fact, Founder and President Karen Roe credits the company’s involvement in the industry as a major factor in its success.
Created in response to Roe’s personal experience with buying countertops, NSMotif strives to offer quality, efficiency and customer satisfaction. “I experienced firsthand how complicated the countertop buying process was for customers and the challenges of getting work done fairly and efficiently. After having been exposed to those scenarios, I decided to create NSMotif,” explained Roe.
“An idea born out of my living room was brought to life as I went straight to work fabricating and installing our first jobs in the spring of 2008.”
Originally established in Altamonte Springs, Fla., as the company grew, now with almost 40 employees, so did its operations. By 2015, the company had outgrown its original home and that was when the move was made to its current location.
NSMotif’s tagline is “All Surface Countertop Specialists” and it certainly lives up to that motto, serving all of Central Florida, and its surrounding areas, offering pretty much any and every material option. “At NSMotif, we work with any and all countertop surfaces including all natural stones, marbles, granites, quartzites, quartz products, solid surfaces, glass, laminate, porcelain, sintered materials, and concrete. We also work with green materials, like recycled glass, that are environmentally friendly and uniquely beautiful,” said Roe.
“I’ve always aimed to offer our customers a wide variety of surfacing products and more than thousands of color options. I think I can say we’ve accomplished that goal.”
The breakdown of material used by the company is in the range of 50 percent natural stones, 40 percent quartz surfacing and 10 percent is spread out among the other materials. While many companies may shy away from dealing with the ins and outs of fabricating such a variety of surfaces, NSMotif embraces the idea and sees it as an opportunity. “I would say the main advantage of working with multiple products is that we have a lot to offer our customers,” explained Roe. “Sometimes people come in not knowing what they want so we’re able to take the opportunity to educate them on their options — the pros and cons of each material, and what works best for their lifestyle. Because we offer such a wide variety of products and colors, we know each customer will find what they are looking for with us.”
By working with so many materials, the company has a great opportunity to be creative and, more importantly, bring to life anything their clients can come up with. From vertical applications to customized edge profiles, the team gets to show its true skills and create whatever a customer may desire in their favorite surface. This versatility leads to diversity in the markets that the company is able to serve.
NSMotif handles both residential and commercial projects, going to market through an amazing assortment of channels. “We work with general contractors, designers, architects, kitchen & bath dealers, retail customers, local builders and the big box stores,” said Roe.
“Some of our largest commercial clients include Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Seaworld. Plus, we’re finishing a newly updated showroom to appeal more to and build on the retail and K&B segments of our business.”
To be able to fabricate such diverse products for such an array of applications, large and small, complex or volume-driven, the company uses advanced equipment and techniques. “One of our core business commitments is to cutting-edge technology,” explained Roe. “Our facility houses state-of-the-art surface tools and technologies, like the BACA Robo SawJet, Marmo Meccanica inline polishers and is in the process of adding a CNC machine to the family.”
By using digital templating systems, CAD, and robotic technology, the company is confident that its measurements and corresponding cuts are exact, which decreases problems and callbacks and also increases efficiency. These modern advancements enhance the skill and precision of the craftsmen there, who still play a very hands-on role in the process from template to installation. “We work with Slabsmith to create conceptual previews of actual slabs selected by our customers so they can truly get a visual of what their finished project will look like with the appropriate cuts and veining or pattern flow,” relayed Roe. “We also run the Stone Profit Systems platform that helps us immensely with business efficiencies, job tracking, job costing and benchmarking. It also offers some exciting visualization and follow-up tools we can use with our customers.”
Differentiation through Involvement
Refining processes, learning new techniques and technologies and improving both fabrication and business skillsets requires knowledge sharing, and as such Roe and her team are heavily involved in various trade/business organizations. This allows for continuous improvements and sharing of best practices.
NSMotif are members of ISFA, NKBA, MIA+BSI and is a charter member of Rockheads Group, an invitation-only professional organization that has around 70 members and focuses on sharing best practices. The company is only the second company to be MIA accredited in the state of Florida, a fact that Roe takes pride in and referred to a valuable yet “grueling process for a fabricator to go through, covering all aspects of their business.” And with running a female-owned business in an industry largely dominated by men, Roe also takes pride in empowering other woman and is particularly dedicated to the MIA’s Women in Stone segment of the organization.
“There is nothing better than learning from your colleagues who have experienced business challenges and opportunities first hand. Involvement in these organizations has been key to the continued success of our business,” she explained.
“It’s exposed me to people and businesses that have broadened my understanding of the industry. I’ve traveled across the globe to learn, and I’ve had the opportunity to speak at conferences and participate in knowledge sharing forums. We can’t grow in a vacuum. Colleagues are typically open to sharing their experiences and activities that have worked for them, particularly if you’re chartering into unknown territory with a new business segment.”
As such, Roe is speaking at the Fabricator’s Forum at The International Surface Event (TISE) on January 30, 2018, and in China for the MIA in March of 2018.
The company also uses programs developed through its associations to expand its circle of influences. Roe has been certified by both ISFA and the MIA to teach continuing education units (CEUs) to the architect and design community. “As a fabricator, I think this is a great opportunity to represent your business in front of different audiences,” she explained. “It opens doors to grow my business and form important and mutually beneficial relationships.”
The company also recognizes the investing in its employee’s training and their safety, as a means to keep them up to speed on methods, engaged and injury free. Last year, NSMotif even was awarded the Sunshine State Safety Recognition Award for going above and beyond to follow and implement all OSHA laws and guidelines pertaining to their business.
It is these investments in diversity of both materials and outlets to market, advanced equipment networking, training and safety that have been the mainstays to the success of the business.
Pushing the Success Forward
Involvement alone does not ensure success, but rather utilizing the contacts and applying the information gathered is key. One way the company does this is keeping an eye on trends, and Roe certainly knows what is favored among her customers.
“Gray and white colored countertops are our most popular requests,” explained Roe. “In the last few years, quartz has begun to eclipse granite as the leading choice in surfacing due to its increased durability, low maintenance, and variety of color options. That being said, we do still sell a lot of natural stone, but the percentages are becoming much closer. People are drawn to the unique beauty natural stone offers and are often more familiar with it.”
Because the company remains in touch with the developments, the staff is able to guide its clients down a path that fits their applications and their aesthetic needs. “We hold our customers’ hand through the entire process making sure they are educated well throughout each step, particularly in their choice of materials so that we can exceed their expectations each and every time,” said Roe.
When asked what advice she might give to other fabricators seeking to improve upon their successes, Roe reiterated the importance of getting involved and continuous improvement, but also explained the importance of knowing your company’s unique selling proposition. She said it is of significant importance to also make sure it is a dynamic thing that is tested, measured and changed when necessary. Roe also said that every team member must be on the same page when it comes to the direction and goal of the company.
“Truly think about and create your core values and the focus for your company and build and grow on those,” Roe said. She stressed that every team member must be on the same page when it comes to the direction and goal of the company. Roe credits her excellent team for their support and involvement in helping NSMotif get to where it is today.
“Our team is unified and knows the core values and vision of our company,” she said. “We strive to keep our customers’ satisfaction and expectations first and foremost. Also, put some thought behind your marketing initiatives and your branding. People won’t recognize or remember you if you’re not actively making your business visible. Create the experience for the customer, don’t be just another fabricator.
“We’re about to celebrate our 10th anniversary and I couldn’t be prouder of how far we’ve come in the last decade,” Roe added. And there’s little doubt that that pride is well deserved.