Following the passing of founder Ruth Fischl, new CEO Jacob Fischl Ribiat shares how the family business is growing with second-generation leadership.
Can you share a little background about yourself? When did you join Ruth Fischl Event Rental, your career history, family…?
I joined the company in 2012 and was fortunate to work with Ruth for five years before she passed and I took on the role of CEO. Before Ruth Fischl Event Rental, my career had been in fashion and design and finance.
Currently, I live in Jackson [New Jersey] with my wife Chanie and our four boys. The event industry can be high pressure and we have a fast-moving business so I enjoy spending quality time with my family over the weekends, especially outdoors.
What was Ruth’s vision when she founded the company 25 years ago? How is that being carried out today?
When Ruth started this family business 25 years ago, the focus was on specialty linens. Her vision was always to be the go-to name for unique and custom designs and to make every event personal and special for her clients. Over the years, we shifted our product offerings to meet changing needs, which led to expanding into the furniture space.
Our mission, however, has not changed and we’re still dedicated to offering unique, custom designs and ensuring our clients are creating events that are memorable and personalized.
Being a family business, what has the transition process been like since Ruth’s passing and is there anything special you’re doing to continue honoring what she started?
Although there’s been a void without Ruth, who was an icon in the industry, the fact that we’re a family business has made the process easier. We’ve had a smooth transition bringing in the second generation and it’s enabled us to build up on what she established.
As for honoring Ruth, she was very generous and dedicated to giving back within the industry and to charities so we’re keeping that a priority.
Are there any big changes or shifts that you will be undertaking as RFER moves into second-generation leadership?
As the industry has transformed, we’ve moved away from linens and more towards stock and semi-custom furniture. Currently, we’re working to incorporate more front-end technology and make operational enhancements in order to really build and grow what Ruth started. We’re keeping her vision intact but expanding and evolving for the times.
Are there any projects, plans, or products in the pipeline that you’d like to share?
Yes, we’re continuing to source really unique and custom pieces for clients while refining our customization process. We’re also growing our product line, in particular chairs and lounge furniture, so keep an eye out for that category. From an operational standpoint, we’re integrating additional resources to make events more seamless, increase efficiency in carrying out orders, and enhance the level of service we’d like to provide our customers.