June 21 is an auspicious day for Paulo Bacchi. It was June 21, 2002 that he, his wife and five-year-old twin boys came to America from Brazil. Like so many immigrants before him, he arrived with no English, no friends and no lack of ambition. Back in Brazil, his family owned a chain of successful furniture stores called Artefacto. The business, started by his father, was small initially, with just four stores. Bacchi inherited it when Dad retired in the mid-1990s, and moved to grow it quickly; within five years, hed opened 20 more stores in Brazil. But a new frontier had caught Bacchis eye: the United States. Specifically Miami. He dreamed of opening an American store.
Fast-forward a decade. Its opening day for Bacchis new 42,000 square-foot luxury furnishings showroom on Biscayne Boulevard in Aventura, and his dream is on full, sparkling, glorious display. It is by no means his first store heretheres an Artefacto in Coral Gables and this new showroom replaces another one that for years had been just a few blocks northbut this is certainly his most dazzling effort to date. Acrobats hanging from the ceiling pour Champagne into crystal flutes. A huge chandelier twinkles in the evening light. Miamis stylish high-heeled set is present. The date? June 21, 2012. Auspicious indeed.
In just 10 yearsand in the midst of the kind of economic turmoil that causes lesser entrepreneurs to pack up and run for the hillsBacchi turned Artefacto into a South Florida luxury furnishings icon, an undisputed market leader. How? I could tell you it was marketing. I could tell you it was our inventory. I could tell you it was our customer service, he says. And theyre all true. But by far the most important thing was this: In the first two years I took exactly two days off. Two Christmases. I opened the stores. I closed the stores. I wanted to be there, always, to make a good impression on our customers. Because you dont have a second chance at making a good first impression.
As serious as he is about his business, Bacchi, 46, is dedicated to nothing more than his family. With his wife of 16 years, Lais, and the now 15-year-old twin boys, Pietro and Bruno, he lives in a stunner of a 1960s home in the beautifully manicured, private Coral Gables community of Hammock Lakes. He invited INDULGE in to see his home and to show us how he goes about the business of living.
You have a home in Sao Paulo as well as Miami, right?
Yes, thats where I was born. We still have a super cool penthouse there right in the fashion quarter of Sao Paulo on a street called Oscar Freire. Its a great street, like a little Rodeo Drive. Very cosmopolitan and right in the action.
When you and your wife first moved here your twin boys were still pretty young.
They were just five years old. And we spoke no English. We didnt have any friends here. And to make everything worse: our nanny was denied her visa. Can you imagine? A new country, no language, no friends, and no one to help us take care of two small boys.
Those first days were pretty tough?
I used to think: What am I doing here? I had thoughts of just going back to Brazil. But you know what? I would never give up. Its not in my nature. My father taught me to face my problems, to find solutions. He always said, Paulo when theres a thousand problems in your head at the same time, just go one at a time. I thought about him in those difficult moments.