Where does the name Zaar come from?
Antiques by Zaar, established 1999, founded and owned by Ruth and Mark Olbrych, who have three children; Zachary, Arianna and Avery…the ZAA of Zaar. Ruth finishes the word. Mark is credited for the idea of the name. (The business logo translates as Ruth’s name in Chinese.)
Antiques by Zaar is the anchor for ZAAR Design Center, which Ruth established in 2010...giving way to broaden the base of offerings beyond Chinese Antiques.
Why Chinese Antiques in the first place?
The passion for all things Chinese was fostered during the Olbrychs 8 years living in Asia. In 1999 when the family was planning their move to the States Mark made a house warming “gift” to Ruth in the form of a small shipment of Chinese antique furniture. If you ask Ruth she’ll say it was a “dry run” for what Mark was plotting for a new business venture. Antiques by Zaar was established as an online business in 2000 for Ruth to run from their home, in Maine.
In 2012 Ruth moved to the Eastern Shore in Stevensville MD, from where the home office for ZAAR is now located.
....and British Chesterfield Sofas. How did that come into play?
Short answer. It was meant to be :)
But, Yes, British Chesterfield Sofas. Distinctive Chesterfield owner Steve Laidlaw was introduced to Ruth by mutual friend Steve Harding of Touchwood UK during High Point Market 2012.
Steve was looking to broaden his presence in the US Market and Touchwood Steve suggested that Ruth could be the right person for the job. She took it on...and, as you say, the rest is history.
Spring 2013 Distinctive shipped it's first container of pre sold sofas to the US and since then a container/month has wended it's way stateside. I'd say they were a good fit for each other.
Ruth has enjoyed how the Chinese Antiques and British Chesterfields complement each other so well and has similarly enjoyed translating her experience of selling Chinese antiques online to Chesterfield sofas.
What is the common thread for the product that you present to sell?
All product represented here, less at ZAAR Design Center, do not have a brick and mortar retail store. Through this website and through the High Point NC showroom, she is making available to the public a collection of merchandise which otherwise not be made available to them.
Similarly, the companies she represents are relying on ZAAR for their stateside trade sales as well.
On a more personal note Ruth is passionate about promoting entrepreneurial ventures fueled by people passionate about their product. IE, the people behind the product are as important as the product itself.
It is very much of a mutual support to keep businesses alive, meaning those craftspersons producing the product, and those buying to sell. All in the interest of presenting a unique and well priced collection/couched with the highest level of personal care and customer service.
Tell us about the brick and mortar for ZAAR Design Center.
ZAAR Design Center indicates a brick and mortar, which does exist by way of a showroom in High Point NC. However, in keeping with how the anchor business Antiques by Zaar was set up as an online based business, ZAAR Design Center also purports to do the bulk of their business online. New here is to have a "punch n click" site.
Why High Point NC?
In 2008 the Olbrychs determined to move their 12,000 square foot warehouse from Maine to High Point. For one, shipping options were drying up/making it difficult to service customers nationwide as they had become accustomed, and 2ndly, as they had had a presence in High Point since 2004 by way of a showroom (open only during Markets), they thought it would be a win win to have their entire collection on hand to view. The side benefit was that the climate in NC, being much more "even" was much better for the unkiln dried wood that reacted so severely to the harsh winters in the Maine warehouse.
Ruth has maintained a keen interest in supporting year round business in High Point and to that end promotes the mission of the High Point Design Center, of which she was a member for several years. Said organization is comprised of showrooms that deem to do business between Markets, in addition to what happens twice year in High Point.
Over the years she has admittedly bounced around...always trying to get closer to the heart of High Point, without getting into high rent district. Summer 2015 she landed on what she feels is "home sweet home" with a 6,000 square foot space in Union Square, right on English Rd.
Owner: Ruth Olbrych
Address: 1024 Avalon Court, Stevensville, MD 21666
Showroom: 410 W English Rd. High Point, NC
Toll Free: 1 866 868 9227
Cell: 207 838 2675