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Gary Friedman

Gary Friedman, chairman and CEO of Restoration Hardware, is heading the introduction of RH Modern, a major new furniture, lighting and decor line for the company

Illustration by Graham Smith

Minimalist and with a midcentury sensibility, the collection debuted in October with a 540-page sourcebook, website (rhmodern.com) and a dedicated store, RH Modern Gallery, in West Hollywood, Calif.

  • 01 What are you reading? I tend to read bits and pieces of things—my world is visual and that’s how I learn.
  • 02 Favorite city in the U.S.? I have three: L.A., which is becoming one of the creative capitals of the world; San Francisco, which is creative in different ways, through innovation and technology; and New York, because of its international sensibility.
  • 03 Internationally? London, for its combination of art, business, architecture.
  • 04 How often do you travel? About 60 percent of the time.
  • 05 What do you never travel without? My iPhone and my iPad, to stay connected.
  • 06 What’s your best management tip? Be persistent. The greatest success and innovation comes from people who get knocked down 10 times and get up 11.
  • 07 What’s the worst investing mistake you’ve made? To invest in businesses I didn’t understand that someone else told me would be really hot.
  • 08 Favorite movie? Camelot. I was just a kid when I first saw it and I immediately loved the idea of a magical place where good prevails. It’s all about harmony and a sense of collaboration.
  • 09 TV show? I don’t watch TV.
  • 10 Beer, wine or spirits? I don’t drink, except for an occasional Bellini when we have Cipriani bartenders at our openings.
  • 11 What watch do you wear? I have a collection of vintage watches that are at least 50 years old—Breitling, Longines, Omega. I like their design.
  • 12 Favorite food? Heirloom tomatoes and burrata.
  • 13 Favorite clothing designer? Brunello Cucinelli.
  • 14 Favorite outfit? Most days I wear a T-shirt and casual pants.
  • 15 What do you drive? A 2012 Aston Martin Virage convertible.
  • 16 Do you have a favorite piece of furniture? That’s like asking me for a favorite child. Right now it’s our Cloud sofa—it’s the most comfortable we’ve ever made.
  • 17 Biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome? Repositioning the Restoration Hardware brand. When we took over in 2001 we had no market capital and were on the edge of bankruptcy. Fifteen years later we have a market capital of $4 billion.
  • 18 What’s your worst habit? I tend to run late. I’m over optimistic about how much I can achieve and overschedule myself.
  • 19 Favorite philanthropy? Anything to do with children. I give to organizations around the world that enable learning.
  • 20 Best advice you’ve ever received? To be true to myself and fearless.

This article originally appeared in the December/January 2016 issue of Worth.

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