A Lesson in Luxury – Jason Atkins of Tui Lifestyle

 “We are able to provide high-end luxury to people who never thought that they could have it, but we are also able to appease people who are very familiar with highend.”

Step inside any one of Miami’s most luxurious residential properties (i.e. Icon Brickell, Epic Hotel and Canyon Ranch, amongst others) and you’ll likely find spaces outfitted with Tui Lifestyle packages. The brand’s CEO and Founder, Jason Atkins, attributes the success of his company to the fact that they are merely providing a business solution to the many authorized dealers, prominent developers and brokers who walk through Tui Lifestyle’s showroom doors. “We made it easier,” Atkins explains. “We were born out of a necessity for the real state community to provide the absolute easiest solution to attract people into this market. And that kicked us off.”

Prior to meeting Atkins at his main showroom, I learned that the furniture business was a far cry away from his previous career path. A former Marine, Atkins joined the elite Special Forces as a military occupational sniper and eventually became a private investigator, opening his own firm, GreenTree Investigations, in 1997. Drawing parallels between his past and his present seemed utterly impossible, but Atkins assured me that his keen attention to detail, only perfected while working as a sniper and PI, is what his vision for Tui Lifestyle was born of.

“We are able to provide high-end luxury to people who never thought that they could have it, but we are also able to appease people who are very familiar with highend,” Atkins explains of his business model. “We’ve worked with the CEOs of Ferrari, Sheraton and Saks Fifth Avenue. We’ve hit the luxury consumer and young adults right out of college, so it’s cool that TUI lifestyle has this ability to appeal to everyone.” Tui Lifestyle’s client roster includes the likes of Knight Capital CIO Steve Sadoff and fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld. While touring the showroom, a set of quilted black leather chairs oozing with Chanel motifs cross my eye. “Karl just bought 20 of those for his house,” Atkins says quickly, somehow answering my question before I’ve even uttered the words. “We have a couple of pieces that are Chanelinspired, and he bought them.” I’m surprised by his ability to read me, but then remember his background and understand where his careers have intersected.

The brand’s ability to translate across demographics is what makes the concept not only a lucrative business, but a seemingly simple idea. He understands his consumer, he found a void in the market and he filled it. “We bought in volume to get prices down, and as our business grew we began to go to the factories with our concepts and to have them build for us directly. As we grew more, we began buying the raw materials and had them manufactured the way we wanted them,” he continues.

As Tui Lifestyle’s growth rate continues to accelerate, our lesson for the day at the school of Jason Atkins ends with a play by play of what a day in his shoes is like, starting with a leisurely morning stroll with his beloved Bulldogs.

6:30 A.M.: I have two English bulldogs, so I’ll usually start my day with them and take them for a walk. My day will also start with going through my Blackberry, I have both a Blackberry and an iPhone, which is where I receive my operational and back-end information from the factories.

MID-MORNING: I’ll pick out what I am going to wear, eat something quickly and grab a cup of coffee. And then I’ll start getting phone calls from the Executives who are all checking in—we have New York, Toronto, Atlanta, etc. and every morning I’ll get those calls, and that continues on while I drive to our Main Showroom. By 8:30 a.m., I’ve either made or received at least 20 phone calls. When I arrive at the showroom, we’ll usually begin with sales meetings, and then I’ll have what we call our “heart beat” meeting with our Executives.

MID-DAY: Almost every day I will have lunch with a developer, large broker or a prospective authorized dealer. I’ll usually go to Julio’s for a quick and healthy meal. Otherwise, I’ll meet a client down in Brickell. And my phone calls continue. On an average day, I’ll usually make about 150 phone calls and send out 150 text messages.

LATE AFTERNOON: I’ll have meetings back at the showroom, and around 4 p.m. I will leave the showroom to walk my dogs. And then I’m back at the showroom by 6 p.m. to recap the day with the sales staff. Throughout the day it’s Redbulls and coffee!

8:30-9 P.M.: I’ll leave the showroom, and go home to spend some time with the dogs and give them another walk. And I’ll continue making some calls, and will usually call my father at least once a day. My father is a businessman and a shareholder here, and we’ll talk about different things that are going on. Phone calls will typically stop around 10 p.m. I’m not big on dinners or social events. And this routine is six days a week, I work on average 85-90 hours a week, and on Sundays I sleep.

A couple of days a week I’ll fit in exercise and go jogging, and on the weekends I’ll fly helicopters. That’s my meditation, because it requires complete concentration.