From a 1950s ceramic giftware business to a handcrafted ceramic wall sconce line and beyond, the Levin family has headed this successful domestic manufacturer for three generations.
It all began with Alfred Levin, who founded the California-based ceramic giftware and kitchenware company Treasure Craft in the 1950s. Two decades later, Alfred’s son Bruce took over the business and eventually acquired Justice Design Group, LLC in 1995, bringing that company’s operations into the Treasure Craft factory. In fact, many current and former Justice Design Group employees were originally hired by Treasure Craft.
Today, Bruce’s son Brandon is President of Justice Design Group and has helped lead the company forward in its expansion while still manufacturing its extensive line of high-quality ceramic lighting in California. Here, he explains how the family-run company has evolved.
Q. How has the company been able to compete with imports?
A. When Justice Design Group was acquired in 1995, the primary challenge was how to make domestically manufactured product not only stand out amongst the competition, but also how to grow the company in the face of product being imported from China. With the Form+Finish+Function product line that was developed, Justice Design has been able to offer 250 shapes in ceramic, 30 finishes, and multiple lamping options. Manufacturing and assembling lighting products to order in our 90,000-sq.-ft. facility removes the constraint of minimum order quantities, which can be quite high with imported product and also gives customers shorter lead times. It’s now our niche: providing premium, distinctively designed products that are made to customer specifications — even if it’s just one piece.
Our CHOICES line is imported and we keep deep stock of most items so that lead times are also short. The distinct shade materials and various finishes across multiple shade collections in that program can be mixed and matched with our contemporary metal structures to give the CHOICES line a very designer-friendly feel.
Q. What is the company known for?
A. The Form+Finish+Function ceramic line is intricately handmade and assembled from the slip casting to detailed carving and finishing using both hand-painted faux finishes and glazes. The line is extremely durable and versatile and, because of its semi-customizable format, it is very designer-friendly.
Q. With three generations of ownership at Justice Design, have there also been multiple generations of employees?
A. We are proud to have many employees who have been with us for 20+ years. Some of our employees have had the opportunity to work for Brandon, as well as Brandon’s father, Bruce, and Bruce’s father, Alfred. We also have several long-term employees at the company whose children are now working at the company.
Q. How much of your business is in the residential sector versus commercial?
A. We are finding that our residential customers –
which is about 75 percent of our business – gravitate towards our line because of the various options that are available to them. The ability to choose a fixture, a metal finish, lamping options, and an elegant shade material in a distinct shape allows both our residential and commercial customers to find the perfect lighting choice for all of their décor, even if it varies from room to room.
Q. What do your customers say makes Justice Design stand out?
A. Without a doubt it would be our wide selection of materials. Having options available ranging from alabaster and high-quality resins to porcelain, ceramic, fabric, and Venetian glass gives our customers the ability to take one fixture and instantly change the look and feel of it to complement any room or décor simply by swapping out a shade. Our commitment to providing distinctive, quality product is what makes us stand out amongst our competitors.
Q. Where do you see the company going over the next 5 years?
A. In 2016 we made a big push to move to a sleeker, Contemporary aesthetic and we are continuing in this direction in a big way for 2017. Incorporating new LED technologies has allowed us to take a step away from more traditional and transitional fixture design. January 2017 brings an exciting new category for Justice Design Group in the form of an extensive line of decorative outdoor lighting.