Did you know Z-Lite Inc. turned 30 this year? As the year comes to a close, we thought it would be a good time to look at the past 30 years of success Z-Lite Inc. has had and what we hope to get out of the next 30 and beyond.
As a part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, we decided to reach out and interview our president Scott Zimmer and ask his thoughts on the past, present and future of Z-Lite.
Z-Lite: First off, we’d like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.
SZ: You’re welcome.
The Early Years
Z-Lite: What does 30 years of Z-Lite mean to you?
SZ: Accomplishment and satisfaction.
Z-Lite: Let’s go back now; what were the early days like?
SZ: The early days were hard work but they were exciting fun.
Z-Lite: From day one, family has been a part of this business. What is it like to work with your family?
SZ: Challenging and fulfilling.
Z-Lite: Are there any fixtures or family of fixtures that have really helped the company grow? A Z-Lite’s greatest hits if you will.
SZ: To begin with Z-Lite manufactured stained-glass Tiffany style light fixtures, this was what defined Z-Lite. The most popular offering was Tiffany-style billiard lighting – meant to be hung over a billiard table. Due to the popularity with our billiard lights, we expanded our selection of billiard lighting. The next big trend we were involved with was fabric drum shade fixtures. That trend was popular for a long time and still exists in a small way today and again helped Z-Lite grow.
Today, with over 4000 items in our line, specific fixtures or collections are harder to spot, but most recently the trends have been styles that are similar to industrial and vintage styles as well as fixtures that use LED technology.
Z-Lite: Now something that hasn’t been around this entire time is the internet. How did the internet change things for Z-Lite?
SZ: I think the biggest change initially was communication, and secondly marketing.
Z-Lite: Over the years styles change and come, what’s been a style that has remained consistent, if any?
SZ: It seems to me that there are many themes that come and go and come again, but each time they contemporized using simpler and cleaner shapes. While the styles keep changing they seem to be similar to past styles but modernized.
LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS
Z-Lite: Over these 30 years, when did you first feel like you had really succeeded?
SZ: I was asked these questions many times in my life – “Do you feel successful?” “When will you feel that you are a success”, etc…I couldn’t answer. Each time I was asked these questions I thought to myself how will I feel then, will I know then, but when was then? After a few years of ups and downs, good times and bad, and always feeling the same motivation and drive to continue, I finally came up with an answer. I am successful and always have been, because I love what I do.
Z-Lite: With that in mind, what has been your biggest professional accomplishment?
SZ: I think our biggest accomplishment to date has been opening a second distribution center, our first in the USA.
Z-Lite: What is your philosophy when it comes to business?
SZ: Patience and persistence.
Z-Lite: What is it like being a Canadian in this huge global industry?
SZ: I don’t think of being a Canadian as a negative or a positive in terms of the global industry. However, I will say that I am proud and happy to be Canadian and my experience travelling around the world makes me appreciate what we have in Canada.
Z-Lite: What are some issues facing the lighting industry lately and how has Z-Lite dealt with these issues?
SZ: The latest change is the switch to LED light sources, some built in to the fixtures, some as bulbs. This has presented a huge learning curve for many in the lighting industry. Z-Lite set its sights on using high quality LED with replaceable components in fixtures where it makes good sense to do so. These include fixtures that are on a good portion of the time, fixtures that are difficult to access to change bulbs, and fixtures where the design dictates that LED is good light source for them due to the space available. That is why LED is beneficial for these fixtures, as they are energy efficient, have a long life and can be made very small to fit unique fixtures – like our Aeon collection.
The Fun Stuff
Z-Lite: Do you have a current favourite fixture or family?
SZ: Aeon, this is a very modern style LED fixture.
Z-Lite: Favourite finish on a fixture?
SZ: Natural Brass, it is like a brass that is aging.
Z-Lite: Would you describe your decor style as traditional, transitional, or modern?
SZ: Mostly transitional but it spans from that to modern.
Z-Lite: If you could have any celebrity endorse your product, who would you choose?
SZ: Honestly, I don’t know. Anyone would do, as long as they legitimately used the product and liked it and found that it enhanced their life.
Z-Lite: Is there anyone along this journey you’d like to thank?
SZ: I’d say my family for sticking by me, and our employees for being committed, loyal and hardworking.
Z-Lite: Where do you see yourself and Z-Lite in the next thirty years?
SZ: Still enjoying everyday, and still growing.
Z-Lite: Thank you again for having this interview with us and happy 30th anniversary !
SZ: I thank you as well.
We were so happy to speak with Scott about his journey with Z-Lite Inc. and it’s easy to see what carried Z-lite to it’s 30th anniversary, and what will continue to carry it to the next 30 – passion.
Thank you all for helping us reach this major milestone. We look forward to celebrating our anniversary with you now and in the future.