Getting to know you: Jonathon Minoli

Jonathon Minoli

What do you currently do?

I am managing director of Minoli. We are a leading importer of porcelain and ceramic tiles, predominantly from Italy. The company was founded by my grandfather in London (pre-war) before moving to Oxford. We originally manufactured and installed marble and Terrazzo. My father, Peter, took the business from Terrazzo manufacture to tiles in the early sixties, something we’ve never looked back from. He built the company up with a particular emphasis on offering exceptional quality and service and these continue to be our core principles today. Unfortunately, in 1994, my father passed away aged 55 leaving me with his legacy. We currently have just over 40 people directly employed and turned over £10m in 2015, an increase over both 2013 and 2014.

In the 20 plus years since I’ve taken responsibility for the business, I have with the help of our exceptionally good and dedicated team continued to build the business, concentrating on servicing commercial customers – supplying housebuilders, commercial developers, and some of the larger retail and corporate occupiers. Our product range is extensive but the main focus is on Italian porcelain tiles, which we produce and hold at our purpose-built distribution and logistics centre.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

I’m inspired by many of our clients, particularly the more adventurous developers and designers who are striving to create unique schemes. This drives us to source exceptional and sometime revolutionary new products that enable them to fulfil their vision. For instance, our launch of internal/ external tiles complemented our clients’ aspirations to create living spaces that flow from inside to outside.

Who do you admire?

Although it’s a cliché I very much admire my father and all that he was able to do in such a short period of time. He took a company that was very successful in its given field (Terrazzo manufacture) and changed its direction because he foresaw that eventually Terrazzo would be superseded in most applications by tiles. One of the lessons I’ve learnt from my father is never to dismiss a new idea. For instance, our recently launched porcelain wood-effect tile has been received extremely well by our clients even though initially the idea seemed a little peculiar.

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?

This year marks my thirtieth year inside the company and looking back I feel that I have very much made decisions based on what I felt my father would have done in my stead. If I have one thing that should have been done differently it would have been to open the London office sooner (Minoli’s London showroom opened in September 2013).

What defines your way of doing business?  

The truly unique aspect of Minoli is that the entire team understands the importance of quality and service – and this is something we work towards on a daily basis. We have an ethos for holding stock, something which has become unfashionable within our industry (due to the costs), but we feel that this is absolutely crucial to ensuring our clients receive the levels of service they both need and expect. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’. Even now, with the company the size it is, with an exceptionally good team around me, I still work six days a week most weeks and I’m available to both the staff and clients at any time. I really don’t believe that there is any substitute for hard work and dedication. I’m much more of a ‘measure twice and cut once person’. My advice is never be hesitant to make a decision but try to avoid acting on impulse, because even though it might be the right decision the implementation won’t necessarily be there.