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It's just that edge that Kreiss' family is hoping he'll bring to its eponymous company as its new East Coast director. A graduate of UCLA in communications and marketing, Kreiss was asked by his father Michael, chief executive officer, to join the fray shortly after completion of his studies. "First and foremost my loyalty's to my family," Kreiss explains, padding around his Chelsea apartment with the frenetic energy of a charged particle. "Second of all, it wasn't really furniture I connected with, but the realization that we're more in the lifestyle business."
But what he's beginning to realize is how much the San Diego-based brand — known for over 50 years as the go-to resource for casual Mediterranean style furnishings for clients from Chris Rock to Nancy Reagan — is specifically connected to the California lifestyle. To gain exposure elsewhere, he has to start from scratch. "It kills me that people don't know who we are here," he says, adding that he's the first family member to live outside the Golden State. To that end, he is opening the second East Coast Kreiss store this summer in Manhasset and entertaining offers to venture into the hotel business.
Of course, in order to really infiltrate the New York lifestyle, he has to soak it up a bit first. Kreiss makes weekly visits to museums and galleries and regularly checks out the latest bands at clubs like Webster Hall. He even has made Katz's Deli a tradition for his Sunday meal. "Look, I never saw snow in my entire life until last month," he says. "This may not be a big step within the rest of the world, but it is in my family."