Soho Tufted sofa and Vintage Birdcage chandeliers from Restoration Hardware’s Fall collection

  Restoration Hardware Co-CEO and chairman Gary Friedman

No longer a predictable purveyor of nostalgic pieces and retro flourishes, Restoration Hardware has evolved into an innovative leader in home furnishings by offering smart, globally influenced décor elements to suit any Miami sophisticate. Co-CEO and chairman Gary Friedman—a self-taught retail wunderkind who found years of success at Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn—has been strategically repositioning the brand since his arrival in 2001. Today, Friedman steers a virtually unrecognizable incarnation of Restoration Hardware, which was nearly bankrupt when he arrived a decade ago.

Clever original and reproduced product, as well as high-level retail and online concepts and 100-plus stores (including bustling outposts in Aventura Mall and The Falls) have allowed Restoration Hardware to significantly outshine its competitors during the recession. This continued success is at least partly due to Friedman’s unwavering creative vision for the company. He travels the globe with a carefully selected design team to seek inspiration. “First and foremost, we’re curators,” Friedman insists. “We find items or ideas that we can put into a fresh context. Second, we’re editors. We don’t take everybody’s idea. In fact, of all the artisans we work with, we don’t buy more than one percent of anything anyone shows us. And of all the antique shops and f lea markets, we buy way less than one percent of what we see. Third, we’re developers. We might find a trunk we like, then develop it into a larger collection.”

Friedman and his team are hitting it out of the park. The stores are now slate gray, and the logo has been reworked to lend itself to the new aesthetic. “We’re also opening some great new locations,” Friedman says. “Most importantly, the products don’t look like anything we’ve done [before]. There’s not a single item in the stores that we were selling nine years ago. What’s coming down the pipeline will show an even greater evolution.”

Propelling a brand this size into the future is hard work, but Friedman, a father of twin girls, is palpably grateful. “I don’t think of this as work,” he says. “It’s fun and inspiring. I love what I do.” Restoration Hardware fans—new and old—seem to love it, too. Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd.

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