George and Isabel Galdiz
<b>Short bio: </b>
I am from Rosario, Argentina and Isabel is from the Washington area. I have a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations. We have five children ranging in age from 2 to 14. I grew up in Argentina and moved to the United States when I married Isabel 15 years ago.
<b>Why did you choose this particular business? </b>
I like the idea of taking something old and turning it into something new and functional for today. I discovered in my travels that I could buy parts of old buildings, boats, docks, and bridges and employ artists to turn them into pieces of furniture. Since teak is a hard tropical wood with a beautiful grain and natural oils which help it resist insects and weather, it can be recycled despite having been used for centuries in other structures. I love using all of the wood pieces from a building. Carvings that were once windows become parts for beds, mirrors, and wall hangings. Archways become the legs of a coffee table and beams are turned into dining tables. This is what interests me the most, using materials from the past in a new and unique way.
<b>Why did you choose to work for yourself rather than as an employee for someone else? </b>
Throughout my life I worked both for other people and for myself. For me there is no comparison to the freedom you feel when working for yourself. This sense of freedom is always stronger than the risks associated with a family owned business.
<b>What have you learned from being in business? </b>
That to succeed it not only takes a lot of work, time and patience, it also requires a good sense of humour.
<b>Share an anecdote of a challenging or humorous experience or biggest surprise learned from working your business: </b>
It has been great for us to be able to include our children in the day to day operations as well as on the buying trips. Although they are busy with other things, they make time to learn from and enjoy the Kosmos collection (some named after my children, like the Nico collection). The buying trips have taken on a whole new dimension as we motor bike around Indonesia with the girls. It's a chance for them to span a cultural divide and to learn to appreciate old things and different ideas and different pets! My daughter had a run in with a little monkey once that she laughs about to this day.
<b>What have been the advantages and/or disadvantages of operating a business in Alexandria? </b>
We love being part of the Old Town scene. Our first store is located on King Street so we have many people, both local and from out of town who stop by our store. It is always interesting and fun to hear their reaction when they step inside.
<b>Short bio: </b>
Sue was born in Reading, Pa., and has a degree in fine art from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She spent 10 years on the West Coast and Colorado running her own business making and selling a line of hand-made dinner and garden ware. She came to Kosmos in 2003 just when the King Street store opened.
<b>Key staff: </b>
<b>Description of services and/or products: </b>
Kosmos Designs and Ideas sells furniture made from recycled teak. We work with about 12 different artists across Indonesia to create our pieces. The wood comes from old buildings, boats, docks and bridges that are turned into beautiful day beds, tables, chairs and benches. The look is rustic modern, with clean lines and thick pieces of wood. Our accessories range from our own pillow collection to spectacular resin lamps, textiles and sculpture. Our stock is always changing and many pieces are one of a kind. This seems to keep our clients coming back; there are always new discoveries to make. Our new store on Royal Street is a pleasure to shop in. The ceilings are high and the space is large so we have been able to put pieces in the new showroom that we can't put in the King Street store.