It’s official! Anzea Textiles has been in business for 25 years this July! Ring the silver bells!
We had a candid Q & A session with Bruce Doeren and Mitzi Mills, owners and founders of Anzea, to gain perspective on their journey as business owners and stewards of this flourishing company.
Why did you want to start Anzea?
Mitzi: “I worked in graphic design and residential furniture for 8 years before moving into contract textiles and furniture. Starting my own company in contract textiles allowed me to combine my love of graphics with my passion for textiles. I also wanted the adventure of setting up a corporate structure where the individuality and the creativity of every member of the company is encouraged, expected and valued.”
Bruce: “I have a strong background in the operational and financial sides of business and I had been looking for the right opportunity to create my own business. Mitzi and I had the luck of being introduced to each other on this pretense of becoming entrepreneurs. She would take the role of creative director and I would take the role of operations director.”
What has been the biggest surprise for you in the past 25 years of owning Anzea?
Bruce: “The tornado in 2000 that quite literally blew our business all over the city of Fort Worth was something that took us all by surprise. And here we are moving again! This will be our fourth move!”
Mitzi: “My biggest surprise is that after 25 years I still have fun everyday and that there is always something exciting on the horizon.”
What have you enjoyed most about the journey?
Mitzi: “Really everything. Watching the textile industry grow and organize is exciting. Learning the importance of color and texture in creating a satisfying environment. Experimenting with new materials. Watching the members of the Anzea team develop and create.”
Bruce: “I have really enjoyed the great supportive partner I have. Watching the company grow and being able to buy out the minority shareholders over the years.”
What is the biggest change in the industry that you have seen over the years?
Bruce: “The compliance and government requirements have really changed drastically. The ACT standards and testing methods have changed along the way as well. It seems there is always more!”
Mitzi: “The influence of social media and the internet comes in first place. This is the most enjoyable and exciting opportunity for a small business. The second change in our industry is the growing number of regulations and the sometimes unrealistic expectations for performance plus the ever growing list of chemicals and cleaning agents. I think it is an overall good thing that industry is trending this way. It is challenging in the beginning to gather all of the necessary information, but this is the best way to keep everyone accountable in moving toward creating environmentally responsible products.”
What was your favorite collection?
Mitzi: “My favorite collection is always the next one! I know it will be fabulous.”
Bruce: “My two favorite fabrics out of everything we have introduced over the years have to be Summertime and Picnic in the Park.”
Where do you see Anzea in the next 10 years?
Bruce: “I see Anzea being much larger. I would like to see us gain market share from our larger competitors. We have built a nice business platform that we hope to use for the betterment and growth of everyone at Anzea.”
Mitzi: “I see Anzea expanding into other markets and products utilizing the Internet and social media to create a brand that expands outside the contract textile and furniture industry. I am open to many opportunities and ideas.”