How did you get your start in fashion?
As a child I found passion in building model trains with homes, people, the works. I also loved Star Wars and had the figurines but couldn’t afford the ships so I built them all out of things that were laying around the house like empty paper towel rolls. After receiving my Bachelors from Northern Arizona University in 1993, I went to Italy and then to Zimbabwe. I was following my then girlfriend whose parents owned a plantation. They were mainly in the tobacco business, but also raised Ostrich for meat and hides. They wanted to expand their distribution to the US market so I became their agent. With this experience, I developed my first collection of boots, shoes, belts, bags, wristbands, and wallets.
What was your big break?
My first stores were in the mid 90’s around the country such as such as Avventura Shoes, Bradys and other better menswear stores. The first “big” break was a store in the Mirage Hotel called D’Fine that sold high upper end products. The store was owned by Donald Fine and Steve Wynn and it was actually Steve that pushed to get my collection in the store. After that, other retailers picked up the collection including Bachrach out of the Midwest and Mens Wearhouse out of the Bay Area. Everything started following into place then.
How have you grown your business since?
Well belts quickly become my best-selling product and has been ever since. In the early 2000’s there was also a need and motivation to develop socks and eyewear products as a way to round out the accessories assortment outside of leathergoods. Most recently, Italy has discovered the feel of the Remo Tulliani products and with agents in Milan, the product has both stores and sport teams who are buying and endorsing.
I’ve also developed some key partnerships over the years with over 50 brands and labels including Donald J. Pliner. I do licensing deals and take on ghost designers roles. At one point Remo Tulliani was also the leading brand for our category at Nordstrom stores nationwide.
Where is the company now?
I’ve had my ups-and-downs as many designers do and currently the company is responsible for handling roughly $15 million per calendar year. The brand is carried in over 400 stores around the US, 20 stores internationally, and over 30 online outlets.
What about life outside of work? Do you make time for that?
Ha! Yes but not much. I had a very humble upbringing so it brings me a lot of pleasure to give back. I support several charitable causes such as First Things First, The Muhammad Ali Center, Special Olympics, and NSPCA Las Vegas.