Upon visiting any one of the seven JMD Furniture locations in the DC Metro Area, it is immediately apparent that this is a company is built upon a set of strong foundational principles. Dev Joshi, the owner and CEO of JMD Furniture, believed so strongly in these principles that his company takes its name from the Hindi phrase that best evokes the furniture dealer’s core values: “Jai Mata Di”, which translates to English as “Hail to the greatest mother of all.” Dev Joshi founded the company with his family, Narender Joshi, Sunita Joshi, Ritu Joshi and Preeti Joshi, and as his company grows, the active owners (The Joshi’s) participate in daily growth activities within the company. They also continue to spread the family fundamentals throughout the company.
Dev, a highly skilled entrepreneur, founded JMD Furniture more than 10 years ago with his father Narender Joshi, and under their leadership, the company has enjoyed exponential growth — all without sacrificing the sterling reputation for customer service that ultimately enabled the company’s initial rise to prominence.
Now recognized as one of the Northeast’s foremost furniture dealers, Dev’s company continues to emphasize the value of truly exceptional customer service when paired with access to some of the most elegant and affordable furniture around.
What was your best/favorite subject in school?
Honestly, I hated school. I was never good at it, and I was a C and D student until I took charge and started doing my work. Even when I did my work, my grades improved to A’s, B’s, and C’s, but I still couldn’t concentrate enough to understand my role and understand exactly what I was doing in school. Unfortunately, school never taught me to have a purpose to life.
I was sitting in Algebra, and Physics, and I had no idea what I was doing there, until I took a business class. And on the first day of class, our professor spoke about the one percenters.
Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?He showed a picture of Mark Zuckerburg and spoke about the legends: Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Henry Ford. (You get the picture). And at this time, I couldn’t understand why I was being taught anything else but the steps on how to be a one percenter. It seemed like everything was about how to get a job with these guys, and at that time I realized the only way I could get to be a one percenter was to be in business for myself.
What was your first job?
I worked at Taco bell. Taco bell taught me fundamentals of a good professional speaker, but JMD was my first serious professional venture. As an entrepreneur, I recognize how rare it is for that to happen, and I’m certainly fortunate that we have achieved so much success in building a company from scratch.
Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?
Before I even considered an entrepreneurial venture specializing in furniture, I had this general idea for a business. I sold candy bars in school and made a few thousand dollars. We always say “Jai Mata Di” at home, and once my father purchased the business he was at, I quit where I was working, and we started the company together and revolved it around the phrase “Jai Mata Di.”
I just felt there was something unique about applying the principles the phrase promotes to entrepreneurship, and after refining the idea over time, I decided the furniture industry suited my concept in the most ideal way.
How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?
As said previously, Taco Bell prepared me for public speaking and speaking to clients without seeing them face to face. At work we would have to cold call customers,and customers would call us, and I got this unique way of communicating with clients from Taco Bell.
Previously in school, I sold candy bars, and I made a few thousand dollars. This helped me a lot actually.
I never was in sales previously, but the interaction to going to people and asking them if they want to purchase a candy bar is as same as taking a customer inside a store facility and showing them furniture. It was here that I got a good sense of customer service and particularly the quality of customer service a company is ultimately able to provide. It’s one of the reasons I believed so strongly in our foundational principles that emphasize the values illustrated in the phrase “Jai Mata Di.”
Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.
Since the moment we opened our doors for the first time, every day has been better than the previous one. More importantly, Tomorrow will be the best day and I will make sure of it.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
We have always been a service-oriented company, which has allowed us to build meaningful relationships with so many of the customers we’ve interacted with over the years. These relationships are important to us for so many reasons, and they help us stay motivated so that we are able to show our customers just how important they are to us. I strongly believe that my real reason to be alive is to reach my potential every day. I feel that I need motivate myself daily, and I strongly believe it is a hustle.
What kind of business ideas excite you most?
I’ve always tried to do things differently as an entrepreneur, so I love it when I come across a bold idea that most would view as too risky to pursue. Successful entrepreneurship requires a unique level of confidence and a willingness to take a chance on something new and unique. I would love to get into the idea of designing my customer’s houses individually.
It may be interior designing, but I would like to use my digital skills more deeply and would want to create a VR just for this purpose. So if a high profiled customer of mine needs a home designed, a sales representative or myself can visit their house, show them the product, and we can use VR technology to sell them their dream house.
Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to your business?
Definitely, we certainly have, and we’ve had some outstanding results as well as some truly uninspiring results. Even with mixed outcomes, I still emphasize the importance of trying something unorthodox whenever possible. We have passed fliers out on a bus; we have had guys hold signs at lights; we have done some amazing things.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the fact that my success highlights many of the long-term benefits associated with a company’s commitment to its foundational principles.
What wisdom would you have liked to share with yourself when you first started out?
Practicality is a valuable trait, but make sure to strike a balance between being bold and being practical. But you do not need to strike a balance, between work and home. There is nothing that just exists; you need to make time for everything and for the time you have for the task. You need to dominate it.
Some situations call for bold action while others require a more practical approach, but adhering to just one of the two will surely limit your ability to reach your full potential as an entrepreneur.