James Sheppard was a student of Loral’s and they are partners in the company Vetrazzo, LLC (formerly Counter Production, LLC). Since 1996 the company has manufactured Vetrazzo(tm), an award-winning and innovative surface material made with 100% recycled glass.
Vetrazzo is primarily used as a sustainable alternative to granite for kitchen, bathroom, and commercial countertops and is widely considered a leader in the rapidly growing market for green building materials.
Vetrazzo surfaces are popular for their distinctive beauty, durability and high-recycled content and have garnered widespread media attention including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Boston Globe, Dwell, Sunset, Fine Homebuilding and numerous television appearances such as with Ed Begley, Jr. on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The View with Barbara Walters.
Vetrazzo, LLC was formed as a result of founders James Sheppard and Olvia Teter joining LBT where they met in Table 11 and discovered a shared entrepreneurial passion and commitment to building a socially responsible and wildly successful business. Prior to joining LBT, James ran the Sales Department of a large software company and Olivia was a product designer working for massive corporations such as Wal-Mart, Target and Williams Sonoma.
The Vetrazzo product was, at the time, being manufactured as an artisan product in a small warehouse in Berkeley, CA. It was very popular across the nation but it lacked the proper team, facility and capital to take it to the next level. Olivia was an early and passionate Vetrazzo customer, having had Vetrazzo kitchen countertops since 1999.
Enter Loral Langmeier and Loral’s Big Table program.
Olivia and James presented a prospective business turnaround opportunity at the LBT Session 2 to get practice pitching opportunities. It was so well received that they knew they were onto something. Before the next session meeting, James had quit his “W2” job and he and Olivia embarked full time in raising capital, hiring a manufacturing team and relaunching the Vetrazzo brand. Within eight months, they had raised millions in capital and they did it 100% from accredited investors within the LBT community.
Fast forward three years. Vetrazzo, LLC is leading a new market category, that of Recycled Glass Surfaces, benefiting tremendously from the explosion in Green Building Products. Vetrazzo is available nationwide and throughout Canada. Preliminary plans are underway to open a second manufacturing plant in the Southeast Region of the US.
James and Olivia often reflect on how their lives were changed by meeting Loral Langmeier and joining LBT. Not only did they launch a tremendously successful business venture, but they made lifelong friends in LBT. Friends who understand and can relate to the entreprenurial journey; which has value far beyond the economic opportunity.
james (at) vetrazzo.com