[quote style=”boxed”]I have always surrounded myself with the best people I can afford and I recommend this approach to everyone. Do not hold onto poor performing employees because it makes your business less successful.[/quote]
With an eye for style and a keen understanding of consumer products, George Marks founded zx kitchen, a ceramic cutlery online retailer in 2011. His company manufacturers ultra-modern black ceramic knives made from zirconium oxide, a material second only to diamonds in hardness. Each zx kitchen knife is exceptionally sharp, elegant and absolutely radiant.
More a design guru than a cook himself, Marks was entranced when he learned about ceramic knives’ superior sharpness and ability to be more effective than traditional steel knives. With zx kitchen, Marks has become a successful Internet supplier of high-end ceramic cutlery products that at-home cooking enthusiasts and gourmet professionals are proud to use and display. The stylish design and comfort grip handles make zx kitchen black ceramic knives a flawless blend of form and function. The knives deliver flawlessly for at least 5 years with no need for sharpening. They don’t rust, deposit chemicals, cause a metallic taste, discolor food or stain like white ceramic.
Marks began his career working for a company that made military radars. He served as a mechanical engineer and later as a sales engineer. He then switched gears and worked in corporate finance for 2 years for a NYSE member firm on Wall Street. While there, he evaluated technology-oriented companies aspiring to go public. He earned a broker’s license from the New York Institute of Finance, was promoted to executive vice president and closed several highly successful IPO underwritings. Marks then consulted for a struggling lock manufacturer and quickly became the president of the company. He left after 2 years to establish his own lock business, which expanded to acquire the former company.
Marks earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Syracuse University and a MBA from Long Island University.
What are you working on right now?
We are working on new gift sets with cutting boards, peelers and an 8’’ chef’s knife. We are preparing for the International Housewares Association show in March and are exploring brick and mortar retail opportunities. We are thrilled by the response for our products. Our tag line is, “zx kitchen black ceramic knives provide precision from start to finish.”
Where did the idea for zx kitchen come from?
The idea for zx kitchen came from spotting a Chinese ceramic knives booth at the National Hardware Show 2 years ago. The advertising said that the knives would remain sharp 10 times longer than steel knives. This inspired me to want to start my own cutlery company.
What does your typical day look like?
I consult for my former company 3 days per week. I work on zx kitchen every morning and 3 full days each week.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I hire competent professionals who know the field to help launch our products.
3 trends that excite you?
- Building a brand through social media
- Finding new ways to communicate with customers
- Developing new line extensions
What is the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I had was being an engineer. If you don’t love what you do, then quit. You will never be successful at a job you dislike.
What is the one thing you did/do as an entrepreneur that you would do over and over again and recommend everybody else do?
I have always surrounded myself with the best people I can afford and I recommend this approach to everyone. Do not hold onto poor performing employees because it makes your business less successful.
Tell us a secret…
I wanted to be a musician for a very long time. I was very good, but not the best. I needed honest introspection to decide to go in a different direction.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Love what you do first. Success and money will eventually come. Don’t try for the home run right away; just make sure you gain a few inches each week. I admire those who can combine their vocation with their hobbies.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
How to books? None. Each person has their own individual taste. I prefer reading fiction.
If you weren’t working on zx kitchen, what would you be doing?
I would be starting a company that produces marine products. I have no time for that right now, but maybe I will explore it in the future.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
I don’t use Twitter. Yet!
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I recently re-visited the movie As Good As It Gets. The hospital scene with Jack Nicholson made me laugh out loud.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
I would love for Seth Newman, president of Envelopes.com to be interviewed on IdeaMensch.
How do you manage a good acquisition?
Make very few changes and make them slowly.
What is the worst mistake you can make in business and in life?
The worst mistake is failing to recognize your own limitations.
George Marks Email: [email protected]
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.