It all started in 1939 when Murray Kreiss made a courageous decision: He left a successful career with a national silver company to start his own importing business. Murray, who was the first generation of what is now Kreiss Enterprises, explained he took that risk “for the future of my family.”
Today, Kreiss is a four-generation family owned and operated business, with Murray’s son, Norman Kreiss, his three sons, Mike, Bob and Tom, and grandson, Loren, all involved in the company. Unlike some family-run businesses, Kreiss Enterprises depends primarily on family members to oversee and manage its luxury home furnishings company—whether they help direct its long-term vision, oversee the award-winning interior design services or personally answer a phone call from a client.
When founder Murray Kreiss started importing novelties from Japan in the 1940s, he was one of the first U.S. businessmen to conduct business in that war-torn country. Tragically, he died at a relatively young age, leaving his son, Norman, then 23, and Norman’s brother, Howard, to take over the growing business. The brothers worked well together, and their business continued to thrive and expand. However, tragedy struck again when Howard was killed in a plane crash over Japan in 1958. Left alone to run the company, Norman persevered through sheer determination and led the importing business in new directions.
Much of the early inspiration for Kreiss’ unique designs originated from the foreign travel of Norman and his wife, Eileen. The couple imported quality home furnishings from Italy and Asia to outfit their own home. When friends and family raved about their exquisite décor, the couple decided to expand the company’s import base to Italy, Spain, Japan, Hong Kong, China and Thailand, as well as other exotic locales.
In 1966, Kreiss opened its first showroom on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. The response was overwhelming. To meet the demand, Kreiss followed an early expansion strategy that evolved from the family’s travels to their favorite vacation destinations. Kreiss opened new showrooms in design centers in Palm Desert, San Francisco, La Jolla and Laguna.
To achieve the highest standards of quality, Kreiss inaugurated in-house manufacturing and upholstery operations in 1972. It was at that time that the firm’s design professionals pioneered what is now known internationally as “The California Look” -– a timeless blend of traditional elegance with casual comfort and relaxed accessibility. Today, many clients simply refer to it as the “Kreiss Look.”
To capitalize upon the popular “Kreiss Look,” the company launched Kreiss Design in 1976, and has since completed more than 5,000 projects for a long list of celebrities and international luminaries, including Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Janet Jackson, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and countless others.
Beginning in the 1990s, Kreiss implemented a second expansion strategy, shifting its thriving furniture and design business beyond design centers and into retail locations.
Now, well into its fourth generation as a family-owned business, the Kreiss name stands as an internationally acclaimed design authority that includes custom furniture, exclusive fabrics, finishes, bedding and accessories, as well as its sought-after interior design services. Despite the current recession, Kreiss recently initiated another expansion that targets some of the most exclusive, upscale retail destinations in the nation.
In the bold entrepreneurial tradition forged by Murray Kreiss more than 70 years ago, Kreiss Enterprises has moved into the 21st century by capitalizing on new technologies, social media networks, enhanced customer service, and embracing transparency and sustainability. Regardless of what the future holds, Kreiss will continue its commitment to family and the evolution of the “Kreiss Look.”