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March 22, 2024 at 2:39:04 PM

An interview with Tim Stump


Investment Banker to the global furniture industry

Published on:

March 22, 2024 at 2:39:04 PM

Ignite Business Insider shares the stories of businesses that are making an impact in their local markets. We highlight their stories in order to inspire entrepreneurial growth and to let readers learn more about businesses across the world that are growing and scaling.


Tim Stump


Stump & Company

Thank you for taking the time to sit with us and share your story. Can you share a little bit about you and your company?

We are a family business. My dad started this in 1972 advising his former banking clients. We are Southern folks and my dad had deep relationships in the legacy Southern industries of furniture, textiles, apparel, carpet, etc.... And he was the entrepreneur that built the foundation.

I joined him in 1990 after several years in New York with LBO and financing jobs, and together we added scale and industry reach. And we focused in on the furniture industry, which expanded beyond traditional home furnishings to commercial furniture, hospitality furnishings, casual furniture, and suppliers into these industries. Also, in 2001, my father bought me a coach ticket to China and told me to figure out the global part of industry dynamics.

In 2016, my daughter joined after a nice career at McKinsey & Co. She brought big company expertise and vision. And she recruited my son following his MBA and consulting career.

So today we have a full team and a next generation wanting to build the business and continue the family legacy.

A question so many people are interested in, is how you got started. Can you share a little bit about what you were doing before this, and what that moment was like for you when you decided to start this new journey?

I was working in the leverage buyout business in New York and Atlanta, and having fun. But i always was close with my dad, and he had a growing business with market share and upside. I decided it would be a great move for me and my family. And we wanted to be in Charlotte, where we are based.

Let's take a little bit of a detour, and rewind the clock a little bit. What did you want to be as a kid? And how did that influence the person you are today?

Probably a basketball player. I am a huge UNC Tarheel hoop fan. I kinda flamed out after high school.

Have you fully let go of that childhood dream? And where do you see yourself going in the next ten years?

I have always wanted to write a book. My wife is published so i know the hard work it takes. I have outlined 2 books and perhaps in retirement i can focus on those. I am a big travel guy and love to go to Europe and the Islands, so i plan to continue those trips down the road.

Now, I have found that with successful people, there is always someone pivotal as either a mentor, parent, teacher, or someone that you look to for advise, that helped set you on this path. Could you share who that person was? And what impact that had on the person you are today?

One of the books is titled Honor Thy Father, so my dad is certainly right there. And my father-in-law Stuart Love. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of great people who have supported me. A favorite quote is "we drink from wells we did not dig." Thats true for me.

What was one take away that you learned from that person? And how did it translate into your business today?

Hard work solves a lot of problems. As my Dad Ralph use to say, "the harder i work the luckier i get."

When we work with businesses, we focus a lot on their "Why?". What is your "Why"? What is the driver behind your company, and why you and your team wake up each day and give it your all?

Love the people and industry i work in. Furniture is an amazing business. One adage is we "have sawdust in our blood."

Let's dive deeper into your products and services. You already gave an overview, but how do your products or services help your customers? And what makes them different from your competitors?

We are M&A advisors. We sell companies. It is a combination of financial engineering, salesmanship, project management and negotiating skills. But it starts with integrity and confidentiality. We are dealing with private businesses and their private financial information. They must trust us with this.

Let's unpack that even further. Let's pick one aspect of your business. What makes it so unique? And how does it change you or your customer's experience?

Accounting. Learn accounting and use facts to make your point. Accounting is the language of business.

Let's dive into your customer's journey a little bit. Can you share with us, how do your customers discover you and your brand? What are their next steps? And what is the experience you would like to see your customers go on, when working with you and your brand?

We attend furniture markets around the world to meet new clients, visit old ones, learn about new trends and ideas. This keeps us fresh with ideas for our clients. And we are active with newsletters and blogs, articles and offering speeches at various industry events.

Let's rave about your customers for a minute. Can you share a story about one of your clients or customers, that either touched your heart, or made an impact with you and your team?

All of our transactions are very quiet and closely held, with no mention of dollar size. But our average transaction is $30-40 million, so we are making our clients wealthy. And the best part is many really become friends that we get together with around the world.

Everyone likes an inside scoop. What detail or secret about either you, or your company, is something most people might not know?

I play the guitar - not very well. But my grandkids love to dance and sing when i play.

Final thoughts. What feeling or benefits would you like your customers or clients to take away when working with you and your team?

I am very excited about the future of our business. Working with my kids is fun and energizing. It's keeping me young.

Last question. How can people find out more about you and your company?

Give us a call or check out our website.

Thank you so much for sitting with us and sharing your story.

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