From Traveling Nomad to Supplying FF&E for Hotels Across the Globe: The Origins of White Space
By Aytan Litwin, Founder & CEO of White Space
In my childhood, I was exposed to a lot of great influences from the international community. From an early age, I came to understand that things are not as static as people think in regards to international cultures.
Immediately after my service in the Israeli army, I wanted to discover the world. I went traveling through Asia in remote areas off the beaten path. To this day, this is a passion of mine. This really dialed me into the need for more understanding and dialogue across cultures to combat the misperceptions and stereotypes that exist in the world.
As I thought about pursuing my master’s degree in the early 2000s, I was looking for a way I could make money to pay for it. School was expensive (and so was traveling!).
Living in the Bay area at the time, the real estate market was booming. I noticed in the secondary market of track homes there was a need and desire for unique decor priced affordably. As a traveling nomad, I saw people selling art outside of galleries in markets across Europe. I thought this could be an interesting solution, to supply people with quality, unique art that is priced affordably.
I contacted galleries around Europe and began importing artwork, selling them in art shows and in remote communities. My business idea suddenly took off and built up really quickly! Through networking, I began talking with housing developers, which helped me promote art and decor options to new homebuyers. It became a really nicely scaled business.
This led to requests from architects and then the hotel industry, which is how I first became involved in the hospitality industry. At this level, I needed to start thinking about the framing of the artwork, ensuring that it matched the room decor in style and quality. I had to start getting involved in millwork. Projects in Las Vegas and Reno quickly resulted in me supplying decor for key accounts.
Something amazing happened in this process.
Working with the mills, I was able to build a greater trust between vendors, owners, and the general contractor group. The biggest gap of trust was of the product coming in from overseas.
I took time to learn where the gap was coming from, and honestly it was (and is) a culture gap more than anything else. The millwork didn’t have a direct relationship with the product builders in China, so I took it upon myself to create a dynamic of information that flowed from one end to the other. This way I could ensure high quality standards that met everyone’s expectations.
Within a few years,, we had a network of leading millwork outputs buying overseas through us. We were able to maintain accurate specs and standards, and more importantly restore trust and confidence in the global supply chain. .
Our successful management of these projects and the communication involved sparked requests from hotels to expand into furnishings. That’s how White Space was officially born back in 2007.
We’ve worked on major projects for companies like Disney, Marriott, and the Ritz-Carlton. We would love to work with you, as well. Please contact us today to let us know about your project!