ABOUT MITCHELL GOLD
Mitchell Gold, co-founder and chair-man of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, is a different kind of man running a very different kind of business. In every aspect of his personal and business life, Mitchell strives to make a difference.
Besides running a $150M company, Mitchell is co-founder of Faith in America, a non-profit dedicated to educating people about the harm religion-based bigotry causes LGBT Americans, especially vulnerable teens (www.faithinamerica.org). He also served on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an advocacy group for gay rights, for seven years. In addition, Mitchell was active in the 2004 Presidential campaign as a North Carolina delegate to the Democratic Convention and a fundraiser who raised over a million dollars for the Democratic Party.
Everyone who knows Mitchell knows he wears his personal beliefs on his sleeve. They also know he runs his business with the same level of passion and commitment he brings to his work on behalf of equality for LGBT Americans.
The Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams company has enjoyed meteoric growth fueled largely by Mitchell’s energy and influence on everything from product and design to marketing, promotion, and, most emphatically, a truly unique approach to managing the enterprise. Above all else, Mitchell has been consistent in his defiance of conventional wisdom.
In a deeply conservative industry in the “Buckle of The Bible Belt,” Mitchell and business partner Bob Williams, often referred to as the Masters of Modern home furnishings, have innovated at every turn. In 1989, the company based its manufacturing in rural North Carolina and it remains there today. Early on, the company’s gutsy ad campaigns depicted same-sex couples, alternative families--and sexy models. Eyebrows have raised, jaws have dropped, but sales have gone up year after year. The company was recognized for its innovative campaigns with the Public Visibility Award at the first annual GLAAD Media Awards in Advertising in October 2009. Its recent campaign called “A Modern Affair” is a nod to the tremendous progress of the LGBT community, with scenes featuring relationships that speak to everyone in a beautiful and sexy way.
When other businesses were focused on driving down labor costs throughout the ‘90s, Mitchell and Bob were investing in people through an on-site not-for-profit, education-based day-care center (the first in the residential furniture industry), as well as a trained corporate chef managing a health-conscious gourmet cafe at the company’s headquarters, and annual health fairs for employees, an on-site nurse, and scholarships for children of employees. And the investments continue today.
The company, which started with dining chairs, today provides upholstery, case goods, lighting, accessories, rugs, bed linens, and artwork. There are currently 31 Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Signature Stores in cities including New York, Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Beverly Hills, Portland OR, St. Louis, Kansas City, Scottsdale AZ, and San Juan, as well as Montreal, Toronto and Mexico City. Additional stores planned for 2016 include Austin, TX; King of Prussia, PA; and Cincinnati, OH. The company also has an e-commerce division selling select furnishings from its collection online, as well as a hospitality division (www.mgbwhotel.com) selling to top hotel chains including the W and Ritz Carlton, and eateries including Starbucks.
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams also has boutique shops in Bloomingdale’s (including Bloomingdale’s Dubai) and Robb & Stucky International. It shows up in the finest home furnishings specialty stores throughout the country. From an initial investment of $60,000, the company, now in its 26th year, has grown to $150M in annual sales.
In addition to its popularity with consumers, the furniture is a favorite of interior designers, set designers, and the design press. It has been included in the redecoration of the Obama White House. And it has appeared on the sets of movies as well as TV shows including The Good Wife, Ugly Betty, Celebrity Apprentice, The Office, Two and a Half Men, The Steve Harvey Show, Fashion Police, Scream Queens, and the visible-on-air glass-enclosed Green Room of CBS This Morning.
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams also introduced a home furnishings collection inspired by CBS’s Emmy-winning legal drama The Good Wife. The first license for a television series, it was developed in collaboration with set decorator Beth Kushnick, who has used MG+BW furniture on set since the series began. The pieces in the collection are named for the show’s characters.
In addition to the furniture, Mitchell himself, along with Bob, has been widely featured in the media, from CBS This Morning and CBS Sunday Morning to the New York Times, Time, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Inc., which included them among “26 Entrepreneurs We Love.” Out magazine named him to 2007’s “Top 50 Most Powerful Gay People in America” and The Advocate gave him a 2006 People of the Year Award. Mitchell was the subject of a USA Today column on what CEOs are reading. Mitchell and Bob often appear in online magazines and blogs, including a “Friday Five” column for DesignMilk.com and a profile in Lonnymag.com (http://www.lonnymag.com/issues/37-june_july-2012/pages/45#p42.) The CBS This Morning story, which aired February 25, 2014, and highlighted their 25th Anniversary milestone, their design sense, and their employee- and family-friendly business philosophy, can be seen here: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/global-furniture-companys-generous-employee-perks/ The CBS Sunday Morning feature (March 4, 2012), which also captured both his spirit and his business, can be seen at this link: http://www.mgbwhome.com/mgbw_30.aspx. Mitchell’s North Carolina home, Camp Hickory, which he and Bob designed, has also graced the pages of magazines, including the February 2015 issue of Coastal Living.
Mitchell is also a published author. His first book, with Bob Williams, Let’s Get Comfortable: How to Furnish and Decorate a Welcoming Home, was published by Meredith Books in March 2007, and led to two appearances on NBC’s Today show, and a national satellite media tour. In honor of the company’s 20th anniversary in 2009, a second decorating book, The Comfortable Home, was published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House. In November 2009, Mitchell and Bob again appeared on the Today show to share creative ideas from the book. A book with a unique format (a coffee-table/business book), titled Who We Are and published by the prestigious Assouline book house, was released in February 2014 to mark the company’s 25th Anniversary. Based on 25 of the company’s mantras, it shares the inside story on Mitchell and Bob’s way of living, working, decorating, entertaining, and helping those in need to live more comfortable lives.
Mitchell is also editor of CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America. Response to the book has been incredibly gratifying: So many people have let Mitchell know how it has changed their lives, and copies of the book have been hand delivered to many of our nation’s leaders in politics, religion, and education. In 2010, Crisis was also published as an eBook. And in 2011, it was published in paperback under the title Youth in Crisis: What Everyone Should Know About Growing Up Gay.
Where did Mitchell’s drive for success and willingness to break rules come from? He grew up in a suburban Trenton, NJ home and attended Long Island University, graduating in 1974. A six-year stint with Bloomingdale’s, followed by managing The Lane Company’s national accounts and in-store gallery division, gave Mitchell the two things needed most to succeed: experience in the business and the vision to see what needed to be changed.
He teamed up with Bob Williams, then promotions art director for Seventeen magazine. Together, they started the company in Taylorsville, NC, in 1989. Riding the combination of Bob’s design talent and Mitchell’s business skills and connections, an industry force was born.
Today, Mitchell is chair-man of a renowned company that operates out of more than 600,000-square-feet of modern manufacturing and warehouse space. He and Bob are known locally and nationally for creating a corporate culture that respects diversity, supports education, provides daycare, and has been environmentally responsible since its inception. In 2011, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue was the guest speaker at the Daycare Graduation ceremony to honor the company’s commitment to education. Mitchell considers the education-based, not-for-profit daycare center to be one of his and Bob’s highest achievements and hopes it will serve as a model to encourage other companies to provide this life-enhancing benefit for their employees and their local communities.
The company has received a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index each year since the start of the Index. In January 2015, Mitchell was a panelist on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, discussing LGBT equality in the workplace.
The company is a Sustaining member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, and Mitchell is on the Board.
Mitchell was a panelist at Columbia Business School’s 2013 and 2014 Social Enterprise Conferences, speaking on topics including Millennials in the workplace and sustainability strategies for businesses.
In 2014, to celebrate 25 years in business, Mitchell and Bob attended 25th Anniversary parties in each of their Signature Stores benefitting local nonprofits including the Ali Forney Center, Pine Street Inn, Chicago House, Dwell with Dignity, HomeAid OC, Over My Shoulder Foundation, Gris Montreal, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Project Angelfood, Tyler Clementi Foundation, and the Hole in the Wall Gang. They also received a 2014 Groundbreakers Award from NYC’s Housing Works, dedicated to ending AIDS and homelessness.
With products sold through branded Signature Stores from coast to coast, online at mgbwhome.com, and in the country’s finest independent home furnishings shops, and with more Signature Stores planned to open each year, Mitchell and his company have the very real expectation of redefining what a great brand really is by being a different type of brand…one with meaning and depth.
Mitchell resides in North Carolina with his spouse, Tim Gold, who he married in Des Moines, IA, in June 2010. Their wedding was featured in the “Vows” column of The New York Times…and, in what is possibly an even bigger recognition of their same-sex marriage, in their local newspaper, the Taylorsville Times.
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