For much of March and April, there will be an empty seat at the Rivera family dinner table. In the weekends building up to Mother’s Day, Antonio Rivera, our revered master stamper, has a pervasive monogramming schedule that entails store events from coast to coast, from Beverly Hills, Boston and Chicago to Dallas, Honolulu and Miami. Not only does it mean that Antonio will be missing out on his wife’s famous Bandera recipe featuring fresh-off-the-stove tostones, it also means limited time with his daughter Cindy who is completing her final semester at NJCU. And, not to mention, it forces Antonio to settle for post-game Yankees highlights on ESPN in the morning, undermining his dutiful approach to supporting his favorite team!
Henry David Thoreau once said, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it,” It goes without saying that there’s a large opportunity cost to Antonio’s time spent monogramming handbags so that others can garner the glee of seeing their initials engraved in 22 karat gold foil in real time, rather than settling for something that arrives in the mail. Antonio has a lovely wife, a caring daughter and a baseball team that could not possibly ever love him as much as he adores them.
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So, to put an empirical dollar value on that opportunity cost of time would never do him justice. While I do reward him with a very respectable salary and bonus structure, as well as treating him to travel perks like the Amex Centurion lounge, comfortable hotel rooms and refined restaurants, that is still insufficient. Clients, customers and I shower him with compliments, but doing so still fails to make up for jovial dinner conversations, walks with his daughter and Brett Gardner at-bats.
There’s a ceiling on my ability to financially acknowledge Antonio’s efforts as well as a lack of capacity to create more time. But what I can do is demonstrate to Antonio’s family how grateful we are for the two decades of loyalty he’s bestowed upon us as well as explaining the extent of joy that he catalyzes for others with his gift of monogramming. Once a month, I email Cindy a letter explaining where her dad will be headed and for how long and why it is imperative that he be the one who represents ROYCE in the luxury retail space. I send her pictures from magazine photo shoots featuring him as well as videos showing Antonio in action. She and her mom have even visited our workshop so that they truly become immersed in Antonio’s world. We have invited them to see him at Saks 5th Avenue in New York so that they could witness his extraordinary talent firsthand.
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By dedicating much of his waking hours to ROYCE, Antonio is not the only one with skin in the game. His family, too, makes a veritable sacrifice and it is vital that I personally recognize them for that. While the Bauers are the ones responsible for making ROYCE, it is the Riveras who make ROYCE great.