We’re in full swing with this year’s nomination process for Coverings Rock Stars – An Emerging Leaders Program, and are taking this opportunity to look at last year’s honorees. Most recently, we chatted with Ryan Fasan, and you can read his interview here. Now we’re setting our sights on Phillip Belloff.
This program honors the best and brightest young talent in the tile and stone industry, and Phillip Belloff is no exception. A Chicago native, Phillip is the owner of VIP Stone & Tile, the #1 retail flooring store in Chicago’s North Shore for over 40 years. A nod to his father, who started VIP Stone & Tile in 1972, Phillip grew up in the tile industry and learned not only the tricks of the trade, but the value in which this industry has given his family.
We recently connected with Phillip to hear first hand about his experience both in the industry and as an inaugural Coverings Rock Star:
What did it mean to you to be selected as a Coverings Rock Star for 2015?
It was such an honor. Having grown up in this industry, going to my first Coverings at the age of 9, it felt like my efforts in the tile industry had come full circle.
How did your position as a Coverings Rock Star enhance your experience at the show?
It offered so much exposure to new relationships that are vitally important to long-term success. Coverings is already known for being the greatest opportunity to network in the tile industry, but getting to connect with other young entrepreneurs, as well as Tile Council members, opened up doors that have already had a huge impact on my company.
Tell us about your work in the tile and stone industry. Why are you passionate about this industry?
The company I took over was run by my father and started in 1972. More or less, every activity I did, meal I ate, and vacation I took was ALL from the tile industry. Realizing how it had supported my lifestyle from the age of zero, it was always important to me to give back to the industry by giving 100% effort, 100% creativity, and most of all, 100% integrity.
Is there a mentor or other professional that you turn to for career advice?
Several. The flooring industry has so many areas of expertise (porcelain, mosaics, stone, countertops, installation, fabrication) that you must have advisors in all sectors. I am nothing without the mentors that helped me get here. Some of these people accelerated the process of my “vision” faster than I could have ever imagined, and in return, I would drop everything I’m doing on any day to return that favor. I always say, “Someone did it ‘the hard way’, so you don’t have to”.
What advice can you offer to young professionals getting started in the tile and stone industry?
As in any industry, hard work is very important. The tile industry has always done great job of making a clear separation between those who were “all in” and those who were only lightly invested. Secondly, integrity is everything. The tile industry is so incredibly relationship based, that it is crucial to do everything with 100% honesty and good intentions. If you’re young, you have the opportunity to create a stellar reputation. Your reputation will stick with you forever, so make sure to make the “right” choice every single time.
Are you planning on attending Coverings 2016 in Chicago?
Chicago is my home city and place of business – I cannot wait for us to host Coverings 2016. I plan to be as actively involved as possible, and any and every opportunity to help, I’ll be there. Coverings 2015 changed my life and it’s so great to be able to help give back to the show in 2016.