When Brad Kleinberg, 46, took over as president of his father's Crystorama lighting company in Westbury, he had worked his way up from the sales department. Crystorama began as a manufacturer with a limited product offering, using components imported from Europe, he said. Then the company, which assembles its products in the United States, added components from China and was able to design and produce a wider range of chandeliers and fixtures.
Kleinberg said some of his designs were inspired by New York's fashion, furniture and jewelry, which created a boom for his business: "Women love jewelry, especially when it's hanging on their ceiling." His longtime contacts through the 54-year-old company also led to opportunities to light the Supreme Court and the Academy Awards. Superstorm Sandy tore 7,000 square feet of roofing from his Westbury showroom and factory, but Kleinberg has managed to repair and get the lights back on.
Your father, Abraham Kleinberg, is 84 and still comes to the office every day. What are your tips for a smooth progression between father and son?
You need a good dad. The business was very relationship-driven. He has a very warm personality, [and] people always had the door open for him and, therefore, for me. He let me make some mistakes . . . He just has a personality that enjoys working as a team.
How do you know what will appeal to the tastes of your modern and classic customers?
The classic Maria Theresa chandeliers never go out of style, and that's probably 50 percent of our business. We follow furniture trends very carefully as far as woods and colors and laminates to make sure there is a matching chandelier if someone buys a beautiful dining room set. The way we dress our chandeliers is really being inspired by what's happening in the fashion world.
What are the new trends in lighting this year?
As much as I love crystal chandeliers, [you'll see] more wrought-iron frames, simpler frames and straighter lines.
What are your tips on surviving tough times?
Controlling costs, especially on Long Island -- the cost of energy, the cost of taxes -- and to continue to expand your markets. We've expanded to hospitality -- hotels and restaurants, and we're selling to online merchants who sell home goods.
What are your biggest challenges?
To continue to develop new product and stay on top of the curve as far as coming out with fresh, new designs, because someone's always going to try to top you. We're now a company that's a leader, so we have people who are always trying to copy us, and so you have to run faster than everybody else.
Name: Brad Kleinberg, president of Crystorama Lighting in Westbury
What it does: Make and sell fashion-forward lighting as a boutique design firm with national distribution of crystal, brass and wrought-iron chandeliers in North America.
Roles they play: Design, production, quality control, shipping, customer service, sales, purchasing and accounting
Revenue: $12 million