Happy Father's Day
This Father’s Day, I thought it fitting to share some stories about my dad, Kermit, the co-founder of Sorrelli and driver of so much of this business success.
The main noun I use to describe my father is that he’s a “character.” He is an incredibly determined, very resourceful and creative thinker, who knows a ton about a lot of things. He’s also a very loud, very magnetic person who loves being around people and cracking jokes. From woodworking to painting to tinkering with any number of machines, he’s the person my husband and I FaceTime when we’re not quite sure how to mount a big cabinet to the wall, how to fix a broken refrigerator, or how to tie a Christmas tree to the top of the car without it flying off. I’m not exactly sure what we’d do without my dad.
My mom involved me early on in Sorrelli in a design capacity, we always worked on making pieces together, she was the creative force and sales and marketing engine behind the business. My dad was more the engineer of the two, designing processes to ensure that production of the jewelry flowed and that orders got out the door. In the 1990’s and throughout the 2000’s Sorrelli designs were in every Nordstrom store, and the orders got to a point where we couldn’t keep up with our production studio in Kutztown. My parents would put me and my 3 siblings to bed and go back to the studio to keep soldering, grinding, and stoning pieces for these huge Nordstrom orders. l’ll never forget how he bravely jumped on a plane to Shanghai to explore a factory there, having never traveled in Asia and never experienced business in China. He read every book on the culture he could find, and built a team of dear friends throughout his travels there over the next two decades.
After the first year of working in Shanghai with a 3rd party contractor, my dad found out that some of the wages intended for staff were being pocketed by management. He was outraged, as he and my mom had personally trained all of our staff, and they wanted to ensure that the staff were being well compensated for crafting our unique pieces. He orchestrated his own personal version of Ocean’s 11, coordinating the removal of all our factory equipment and materials out from under the 3rd party contractors, all so that he could set up our own factory and pay our staff exactly what they deserved for all of their hard work. The heist was absolutely crazy, he used two identical vans to come in and out of the facility, transporting all of our equipment without anyone knowing that we were leaving to set up our own shop. This type of plan is something few people would even dream up, let alone successfully execute. It’s one of my favorite stories about my dad, because it shows how absolutely creative and resourceful he is. He dismantled all of our production equipment, transported it to a new building in plain day, and severed the relationship with the management company that was stealing wages from our staff. Such a modern Robin Hood. Only a true character could pull that off, and that’s who Kermit is. He’s not just the type of dad who says to his kids “you can do anything you set your mind to”. He’s the type of dad who actually shows you that you can do anything, truly anything, you set your mind to.